Some light at the end of the tunnel? Finally...
Thursday's creditors meeting was always going to be the first steps on the road to salvation, or further leaps to oblivion... 'fingers crossed', from the sounds of things, it proved the first steps to salvation for Portsmouth Football Club.
The revelation at the start of the day was that debt had risen to £138.6m was not good - yet a decrease, or rise, was something that Admin Andy said was likely to happen. Although an increase of some £17m or so in a matter of hours was alarming, this was explained though. More on this later...
In 'principle' the creditors have agreed to a 20p in the £ repayment structure, which will be paid over 5-years, apparently voting 'unanimously' in favour of this by all accounts.
Balram Chainrai seems to have come out of this with some credit to be fair.
Whilst I cannot entirely say my reservations on him are now gone - although, as I say he deserves some credit - as I am wary of letting my guard down entirely as I think we need to see more of what happens in relation to what was said first. We also need to see if 'initial' thoughts on what his plans could be for the club if no one else comes in are carried out, and in the best interests of PFC of course. Agreeing to underwrite the payment IN FULL to small businesses and charities owed £2,500 or less must see this credit given where it is due.
Admin Andy says that the debt is still being reviewed but believes where we now stand is a closer representation of where we really are, and moving forward is more likely to now happen.
He said that no 'formal offers' had been made but expects them now, and ALL offers will be considered. He denied that Chainrai is in the 'driving seat' to become our new owner, he remains the plan B scenario - it is said that he will come in, or put someone in place if no other parties follow up initial interest, which it is hoped they now, or soon, will.
Interest in taking over the club is 'said' to have grown in recent weeks but waiting for the outcome of the CVA being granted or not, and what the terms of this will be, are what most are waiting for - with the CVA moving closer to being officially agreed potential owners will have an exact idea of what they are taking on, and at this point it 'looks' like the debt will be something like £60m, to secured and non-secured creditors. With this payable over 5-years and the parachute payments coming in over 4-years, totalling £48m, and other revenue streams the club can bring in, the income from these areas could subsidise a fair amount of this repayment, IF this is managed correctly, as are we as a club!
So, why did the debt leap up to £138m plus?
HMRC put forward a further claim, having 'reviewed' their records. They believe a further £17m, or so, is owed to them payable on salaries and image rights - the debt to them could have gone up from £17m-£35m!
This is being looked into though.
Some form of agreement has been made with the liquidation of Portsmouth City Football Club Ltd coming about down the line, with the creation of a new parent company - this WILL NOT impact on the club - and our debt transfer over to that, we have done this before. The previously created PCFC Ltd, seemingly the start of the slippery slope, would then be investigated following the liquidation and that 'should' uncover some nasty secrets that people 'probably' did not want coming out and this will be in HMRC's benefit, and of course PFC's! Hence, I guess why HMRC have been so willing, by all accounts, to accept the £20p in the £ offer as an inquest would uncover these dirty 'little' secrets? 'Probably' giving them more power on various things they could not have controlled before as a result of what they would find out?
The chances of our leader, Uncle Avram, staying on next season have 'probably' increased following this meeting as well.
Seeing that CVA agreement officially signed of down the line, and us coming out of administration 'should' make this a definite, all being well. Our future will be brighter still if we can keep this man at the helm and give him the chance to build his own team, which WOULD still be made up of freebies, cheapies, loanees next season, lets not fool ourselves into thinking otherwise. Stabilising this club, rebuilding and getting that all important infrastructure right is a MUST, no two ways about it.
If Uncle Avram stays though players that 'would' have gone, might well now be willing, and able, to stay on as well...
So, all in all, it does seem that Thursday was a positive day for PFC with the first steps taken towards that light at the end of the tunnel, which has seemed so dim for so long. We can now start, hopefully, walking down that path, which will still be a long and winding one, to a long-term future - and seeing the club have a long-term future, without shady elements involved is all that any of us want!
We could 'almost' be getting that new start, without having to start from scratch - with the right owner, and things done the right way, we can rebuild this great club...
PLAY UP POMPEY!