Supporters’ trust ‘is best long-term hope for Pompey’

Pompey fans face continued uncertainty
Pompey fans face continued uncertainty

POLITICIANS fear Portpin’s possible return to Pompey will harm the club’s long-term future.

Portsmouth City Council leader Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson says he even fears yet another return to administration if Balram Chainrai returns as owner.

He expressed his disappointment after The News revealed some Pompey Supporters’ Trust members believe administrators PKF will prefer Portpin’s bid ahead of theirs.

Cllr Vernon-Jackson said the club’s long-term future would be in safe hands with the trust.

He said: ‘It is my view that the Pompey Supporters’ Trust is the best long-term hope for the club rather than moving from owner to owner, and I remain of that view.

‘I haven’t seen any other option that’s as good as them.

‘It would be a blow to the trust if Portpin is given preferred bidder status.

‘It would be an opportunity missed and I think it may come back to this situation in a year or so.

‘Administration again is the fear.’

He added: ‘We have spent hours working with the trust and will continue to support them in what they are doing.’

The trust viewed the authority as a key part of its bid, and managed to convince councillors to agree to provide a £1.45m bridging loan to help run the club if the group took over.

Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock said: ‘This is bad news for Pompey and the loyal fans.

‘The trust have worked their backsides off and I’m disappointed for them. I hope the rest of the fans are appreciative of their efforts.

‘We need to appreciate that this is a group of people who are prepared to put so much time and effort, and risking their own money, to making a go of saving Pompey.

‘Without them it would be a one-sided matter.

‘There’s always the likelihood that our friend from the Far East will get fed up and try to off-load it, and there’s enough speculation around to say that’s part of the plan anyway.

‘Is this in the best interest of the club? This guy has had his chance and the sooner he realises that and goes away the better.’

Meanwhile Mr Chainrai has criticised the trust’s bid, claiming it has ‘no substance’.

Trust spokesman Colin Farmery said: ‘As far as I am aware the last time the trust spoke to PKF there were no issues with our bid in terms of its financial viability and the Football League was also happy with it, so I am not sure what Mr Chainrai is referring to.’