Supporters Trust named as preferred bidders at Pompey
In what has rightly been described as a pivotal moment for Portsmouth FC and football generally, Portsmouth Supporters Trust (PST) have been named as preferred bidders to take the club out of administration.
Balram Chainrai's Portpin Group has, however, not given up hope of securing control of the club. They have noted that preferred bidder status has no standing in law and have said they will continue to work with the Football League to complete their acquisition of the club. The Football League may, however, welcome a properly run attempt by a Supporters' Trust to manage a club as a useful experiment.
Portpin had encountered difficulties in passing the Football League's owner and directors test. One of the stipulations of the test is that an owner or director cannot have been involved with a club that has twice gone into administration.
Chainrai was in control of Pompey when they went into administration in 2010, and may have had some involvement as a shadow director when they were placed into administration for a second time in February 2012.
Portpin has always denied this is the case but administrators PKF have now turned to the PST as it looks to bring the club out of administration.
The Supporters' Trust recognises that there is much work yet to do before the deal can be finalised. In particular it will have to satisfy the Football League of its suitability and will need to go through the 'owners and directors' test itself. It will offer a new model of mutual ownership for a major club.
The Trust should able to mobilise the required expertise in areas such as law and accountancy. Iain McInnes, a local businessman, is one of those involved. Given, however, that it is challenging to run a football club on a break even basis and succeed on the pitch, the financial challenges remain considerable. Indeed, this is underlined by PKF's own study of the state of football released earlier today.