Brown adamant over Trust power

Trust chairman Ashley Brown addresses the One Year On event at Fratton Park Picture: Allan Hutchings
Trust chairman Ashley Brown addresses the One Year On event at Fratton Park Picture: Allan Hutchings

THE Pompey Supporters’ Trust have insisted they will continue playing a ‘significant part’ in running the Blues, despite an anticipated small fall in their share percentage.

At present, the Trust owns 52 per cent of the club, with the 12 presidents having the final 48 per cent between them.

However, the imminent relocation to a new training home at Roko is being funded by external investment coming from presidents, in addition to Trust money.

Those sums will be turned into equity, ensuring the high-net-worth percentage will increase, with the Trust’s figure dipping below 50 per cent as a result.

But the club’s Shareholders’ Agreement states as long as the Trust possesses at least 26 per cent they can block share sales to individuals or groups.

The scenario was discussed at Wednesday night’s ‘Trust – One Year On’ event at Fratton Park, attended by 350 supporters.

And, answering a question from the floor, Trust chairman Ashley Brown was adamant the Trust remain a strong presence in the club.

He said: ‘The first thing to reiterate is everybody who owns part of this football club is a Portsmouth fan.

‘Some of them have just invested more money than others, but we are one group.

‘If we are to issue further shares it will be for capital-based projects and we saw earlier in the season the need to carry out some safety requirements at Fratton Park.

‘Things were left for many, many years unattended and we wanted to make sure they were done so we can increase our attendance again and, most important, ensure you are safe.

‘Some of our presidents were kind enough to give additional funds to cover that.

‘You will see when we announce our new training ground there will be similar opportunities for everyone in this room to invest further, but also backing from our presidents to ensure that there will be a state-of-the-art training ground back in Portsmouth.

‘That is why the ownership model may change going forward. But rest assured, the Trust will always play a very significant part in running this football club.’

Fans can, of course, increase the Trust’s percentage by obtaining shares.

Regardless, according to the Shareholders’ Agreement, if presidents or the Trust wish to sell their stakes to another party they would require 75-per-cent stakeholder approval.

In addition, that figure is also needed to allow assets of the company to be mortgaged or the changing of the mandate to the bank.

Speaking at the meeting, Blues chairman Iain McInnes added: ‘We will make sure the Trust always has 26 per cent as a bare minimum of whatever is left of the share capital of the football club because it takes 75 per cent to carry a vote against the minority shareholding.

‘So 26 per cent is the number to be concerned about.

‘Every single person who has helped with non-profit investment in this football club is a Pompey fan so we are fan owned.

‘We are all proud of what we have all achieved together and there has not been one conversation about the percentages.

‘It’s about the continuation of the football club, it’s as simple as that.’