Returning Pompey Trust chairman dismisses conflict concerns

Ashley Brown. Picture: Joe Pepler
Ashley Brown. Picture: Joe Pepler

Ashley Brown has dismissed suggestions of a conflict of interest after returning as the chairman of the Pompey Supporters’ Trust.

The 46-year-old previously lost the role to Ken Malley in December 2014 following a vote among the Trust’s board.

If a conflict exists for a chairman then a conflict exists for any board director of the Trust to sit on the club’s board

Ashley Brown

At the time concerns were raised within the Trust that his position as a member of Pompey’s seven-man board conflicted with also being chairman.

The removal disappointed Brown, who remained a member of both boards.

Now, following the death of Malley in June, Brown was on Monday evening voted unanimously by a new-look Trust board to resume chairman duties.

And he is still adamant there should no issue with performing both roles.

He said: ‘It wasn’t an easy decision for me to become chairman again and I certainly wouldn’t have got in the way of an enthusiastic and ideal candidate.

‘But the board made it very clear they were keen for me to step back into the role.

‘It may be only a year, it may be longer, time will tell but I was honoured to accept.

‘Previously there were issues and concerns of some individuals about a conflict of interest – but not of all board members.

‘I raised it specific of myself at Monday’s board meeting and asked if those issues still existed because if so I am not the right person to be chairman.

‘I also told them I believe I can deliver a huge amount of benefit and a huge amount of good as a director of the football club.

‘Subsequently everybody made it clear those concerns don’t exist.

‘They understand they have the power to remove their chairman at any one time should they believe a conflict exists but also I personally think it is far more simple than that.

‘If a conflict exists for a chairman then a conflict exists for any board director of the Trust to sit on the club’s board.

‘Therefore you reach a dilemma which would be impossible to address because we should be extremely proud of the fact we have the ability to put three of our own members on to the board of the football club.

‘Personally, I believe it’s a good thing the chairman of the Trust sits on the board of the football club because it is a key link across the organisation.

‘It doesn’t mean it should always be that way but to suggest there is a conflict just for the chairman I don’t think is the case at all.’

In addition to Brown’s appointment, Pam Wilkins has been named as vice-chairwoman, replacing Tom Dearie, and Brown is delighted with her recognition.

He added: ‘Pam has been around since the Trust’s formation, she is one of its unsung heroes.

‘It is a fantastic reward for all of her efforts to be recognised as vice-chairwoman but more than that Pam can play a significant part in that role.

‘She has experience as part of her duties with the southern region of the Football Supporters’ Federation, while she is a fan of 50-plus years and understands the club, the city and the passion.

‘Ken (Malley) would be very proud to hear Pam was given this role.’