Toast Season 3 # 26 - This is the week this is.
Since last Sunday`s Toast quite a lot has happened at Chez Fratton. There have been three games which should have earned possibly four points but the return of zero has probably knocked another huge nail in the Pompey coffin. Notice I have made no reference to yesterday!! The loss of eight goals in the week is like the loss of a point really at our goal difference went from one of the best in the bottom half to one of the worst.
We have a new owner in Balram Chainrai but quite how welcome he is remains to be seen. The early impressions are that he is simply reclaiming his debts from AAF and will seek new investors and eventually move on.
Finally on Friday the Premier League took the unprecedented action of meeting a delegation of Pompey fans to discuss the situation. The clear message is the aim of the Premier League is to ensure the clubs survival.
Well if that was an eventful week it is nothing to the week ahead. On Tuesday we have a last chance saloon game at home to Sunderland - it is definitely win or go bust. We have the winding up order in the High Court on Wednesday bought by HMRC and supported by others. Then on Thursday the Pompey Trust comes into effect and we will look at that more later.
Will there be a Pompey this time next week? Will there be any more Sunday Toast? These are questions that I cannot answer but all will unfold as the week progresses. It is certainly a stressful time for us all involved with Pompey whether is be as employees or fans.
The Pompey Trust
The Pompey Trust will come into being this Thursday after many months of planning. They have a website which is well worth a look here. It has all the minutes of previous meeting and lots more information.
Fans still have mixed views on the Trust and hopefully with some information I have received from Matt Partridge who has been looking after communications I can dispel any doubts that this has to be the way forward. Matt has also designed the Trust website. I hope this question and answer session will be helpful.
Q - You refer to meetings and dialogue that you have been having, but in fairness this needs to be communicated better than it has been. Do bear in mind that based on a study carried out a few years ago 69% of Pompey Fans live beyond 20 miles of Fratton Park. Not everybody has or wants access to computers and even those that do might not be aware of the relevant fans web-sites to follow events.
A - I'm fully aware of a large number of fans living outside of 20 miles of Portsmouth (my family are from London). I have a database of 10,000 Pompey Fans on Facebook and we`ve got people all over the world. There are 235,000 people within 20 miles of Portsmouth on Facebook so I see that as a great target market. Those outside of 20 miles I hope to use the website (which will soon be on NewsNow)
People without computers or those unaware of the site, we hope to communicate with through newspaper publicity. We are hoping to launch the trust on 11th February a day after Portsmouth will be in limelight for their winding up order. I also hope to communicate with all the supporters groups and see how we can help each other, maybe that`s sharing databases or promoting each other`s events?
Q - Perhaps your cause would be strengthened if you told us all more of what is indeed happening in the background.
A - We had the share offer from Al Fahim which the steering group are looking into and as soon as we actually know what the offer is and why he`s offering it there`s no point speculating. Other than that everything in the background is very boring! Getting website up and running, design of logo, getting rules in place and setting the bank account up.
Q - The subject of Sulaiman Al Fahim`s holding we can debate but I think you might find my observations to be correct. My further view is that by offering his holding to the PST it will allow him to relinquish all involvement with PCFC and walk away with an element of grace. I cannot truly see him paying a fiver and becoming an active member of the PST.
A - He didn`t seem to suggest he would hand it over and walk away. He didn`t rule out buying future shares in the club. It`s obviously some good publicity for him and this is definitely one of the main reasons he is doing it. I think he'll pay his fiver (if he can afford it).
Q - At the moment, until you have a membership, I am not sure that you actually have a mandate to represent the fans.
A - Surely any supporters trust, group or club who has the best interest of the fans at heart can claim to represent the fans? Membership has been delayed due to problems with the bank account but I`m told this will be sorted by the end of the week. Everything else is in place to start collecting members.
Q - Thus far I have seen no tangible evidence of PCFC recognising the existence or good offices of the PST.
A - No one has had contact with the owners of the club, not even the people working for them! To say PCFC don`t recognise the existence of PST is a commented I strongly disagree with. I`ve personally spoke to Lucius, Peter Storrie and Mark Jacob about the trust, I can`t speak for the other steering group members but I`m sure there are a few more.
Q - I too believe that the long term viability of the club is sound and with the right type of investment, and not the layering of further debt, the redevelopment of the stadium, a new training centre etc we could and should be moving forward.
A - Exactly! Think it`s what I think every fan wants to see.
Q - I am concerned that we keep bringing people to the table, who promise to change our world, but then end up not having the cash reserves to do so. Surely due diligence works both ways?
A - Again I completely agree, if the trust can get shares within the club and we can get a say on the next owners that will take over PFC then surely this would be a good thing? Whoever the elected board member is can turn round to the Trust members and say, "This guy wants to buy the club, this is what his plans are, this is how much he plans to invest, this is his background... should we support his investment?"
Q - I am sure that if you and the PST establish a dialogue with the other supporters groups, and I mean outwith the PVA, relay to us all your involvement and the continuing dialogue you purport to be having you will indeed receive the support you seek. However if you continue, like the present incumbents in Frogmore Road, keep us in the dark and refuse dialogue with those supporters groups it is unlikely that anything will be achieved.
A - Couldn't agree more, please understand that so much work has gone into the setting up the trust that this thus far hasn`t been possible. Although you may feel that supporters groups should have been contacted earlier, we`d have had nothing to show you! For this to be successful we do need all the support of all the supporters groups.
The launch is at the Railway Rifle Club Wednesday 11th February
How many players?
With Ricardo Rocha making his debut yesterday it means Pompey have used around thirty different players this season. I was asked what is the highest number of players we used in a season and the answer is 41 back in 1999/2000.
The lowest is just eighteen in 1948/49 (when we were champions), 1967/68 (when he had a good run at promotion) and 1970/71.
Monday Night Football
On Monday night I watched Bury v Rochdale in an effort to get used to the lower leagues again and I will admit is was not very good!! A whopping 6,528 turned up for this fierce local derby. Was it worth it? Not really only for the last 20 minutes when Bury nicked with a goal and league leaders Dale hit back with all they could muster which to be honest wasn't much. The game was ruined by a bumpy pitch which began to freeze over as the game progressed.
Mind you it was better than watching the Premier League offering between Sunderland and Stoke though!
Hope to see you next Sunday!!