Will we accept an owner?
It has been such a traumatic year or so for us, it is amazing that it has been a whole year since 'it' all started, but hopefully we are finally starting to actually get onto a track that is leading us to somewhere?
Although the next steps, all of which a quite literally out of our hands, can ultimately be made harder, or easier, for ourselves by ourselves in many ways...
The CVA proposal, which many might see 20p in the £ as being 'poor', whilst in reality for the creditors it is compared to what they 'should' have got had they been paid in full as they should have, is actually a solid proposal and has a good chance of being accepted in a few weeks time - this is a 'good' repayment amount and structure. Then we can of course come out of administration, hopefully, by the end on this month, not that I want to raise hopes too much mind!
Even when, well I should say if, the CVA is approved what we must do, as I and others keep stressing, is prepare for what will still be a monster journey ahead of us to get back onto an even playing field - yet time, effort and most importantly of all 'sensible' business management of this club CAN see us find this breakeven point, and then we take it from there...
It will be a start though.
The next step, hopefully in 3-weeks or so will be to get that new owner - this is when it really starts to become 'tricky!'
Admin Andy has always said that Balram Chainrai was his 'Plan B' bit to many, myself included, he was always viewed as being the 'Plan A' and maybe as he, or they, wanted as well. Whilst I cannot, hand on heart, say that I have not thought that this was not something that Chainrai wanted and with an ulterior motive - I have voiced the opinion that I thought it was - I am now not so sure that this has been Admin Andy's 'plan' all along to be fair. What I think has been his, his administrative partners and of course UHY's plan is obviously for us to come out of this situation with a positive result, as lets face it this is a huge case for these administrators to take on and this is a real 'career maker' for the admin team personally, and would be a real feather in the cap of UHY, both financially and what it will do in terms of a positive impact on their business in the future, so it is 'probably' more likely that they have actually been putting increasing pressure on Chainrai to act as that 'fall back' to step in as the new owner if needed.
Lets face it, as far as ownership of Portsmouth Football Club now goes we only realistically have 2 options.
1 - Rob Lloyd and his merry men, including his 'mysterious' backer - some 'wild rumours', although with Pompey what is wild these days, had actually said that a Gaydamak was this back. This group does not seem to have that much basis for credibility and has previously, and my serious worry is, could again, see an involvement from Storrieteller, PLEASE someone boot him out, and fast!
2 - The other option is, of course, Chainrai as there 'probably' is not anyone else that is seriously interested, right?
Well documented links between Chainrai and Gaydamak Snr, and business and personal links at that with many previous Fratton Towers inhabitants, that have brought us to our knees, are frightening - then again are these previous links from way back, or are they more recent, even ongoing? If, as has also been the suggestion, Chainrai was merely looking to 'get to the Gaydamak's' if we were merely caught in the crossfire does he really have a beef with us? The fact that he has also well documented, and by his very own words, that he has NO interest in the ownership of PFC, or any other football club, will also be remembered and is of concern. How, or even why, would he go from having no interest to suddenly wanting ownership? Would he have a motive other than genuinely wanted this club to live on so he can then sell up and move on?
Clearly Chainrai, like any other owner, would want a return on his investment - that is modern day football for you, these owners are businessmen that are looking for a profit, not that there is much of this to really be made in football these days. Does he purely want his money back that he has 'invested', or does he want this money back and more, much, much more? These are further concerns...
To be fair he has gained some credibility back recently by agreeing to foot the bill to all local unsecured businesses creditors to the value of £2,500, it is also believed that, assuming he does have to step in and regain control, that he will put the shortfall needed for the cost of the CVA, which is why players a predominantly being sold off, and trying to be sold fast. Then again is this being done as a loan, or is he actually doing this?
As previously touched upon any owner will want a return on their investment, and few actually do put money into clubs - what we do need from an owner is someone that WILL have a sound business plan in mind and ensure that we live within our means, use these parachute payments over the years to pay-off our creditors and use the other income generate from gate receipts wisely. 'If' we can bring the wage bill down to a respectable level, and can bring some 12,500-15,000 through the turnstiles on a regular basis for the next 4-5-years, at realistic prices of around £20, on average, if the incomings can start matching, ideally better the outgoings, we 'could' just about break even on this time scale and find ourselves on that level playing field again, and seriously look to turn things around and be a 'company', as that what football clubs are, that can operate successfully, on and off-the-field.
To help us be more self-sufficient this new owner, whoever it is, needs to put focus on the youth development area. If any speculating to accumulate is being done, and this is common place in business, it would be better to put this into the funding of youth development to guard against the criminally high interest rates that can be charged on monies owed and most of all the ludicrously high money that is paid to agents in fees - this has been an area that has caused us such financial concern.
Also, this new owner needs to show 'they mean business', and by this I mean they have to get the community involved in the club again. They need to make us - the fans - and the community, so often damaged by the clubs actions of the past, part of it again. Sending players out to do work in the community, and for them to want to do it not seem like it is a 'chore', will help as will no more 'stupid' and 'needless' publicity errors, such as the non-payment of monies to charities, this is just unacceptable.
All in all it looks as though Chainrai will become the owner again but then again this would only be the case if he passes fit and proper tests, for what they are worth - but with them tighter, at all levels now apparently, he would not pass if he is not up to it, right?
More importantly though SURELY with the new CEO, David Lampitt, in place, a man of honour and honesty, remember he is a former 'head of integrity' at the FA, this 'should' help alleviate concerns that whatever owner comes in is just coming in to screw us over again?
A man of his background would not allow this - you are then just really going into further 'conspiracy theories' if he is 'part of this' as well!
It is almost time to try and start putting some trust in people again, I know this is hard for us but we cannot constantly keep banging our heads against the wall and automatically be looking for faults or shady backgrounds with everyone all the time. The appointment of Lampitt has restored some belief for me that we are taking some forward moves, and with him overlooking things I am a little more at ease with whatever happens next and think that we have to start trying to restore some faith...
PLAY UP POMPEY!