Date:Monday April 16 2012
Ahead of the Donny game at the weekend there was an interesting fans Q&A held, and it gave up some interesting answers.
Donny opened up their club bar for many travelling Pompey fans, primarily the Northern Blues, and several members of The Trust Board (Ken Malley, Pam Wilkins and Jo Collins, along Northern Blues boss Barry Thompson) gave out answers to various questions.
As I travelled with Ken from the west county I had little choice but to go, but similarly I wanted to attend as it made perfect sense to have a listen and find our a little more and I have to say that it was good to get some answers 'first hand' from people involved in this, they were honest and as open as possible.
They did not attempt to fool anyone into thinking this would be 'easy' or that, in all honesty, it can happen without a doubt but what was clear was that this is a well thought out, planned and researched move.
Quite what happens 'if' the club is managed to be taken over by a fans led buy-out becomes more complex when it comes to player contracts - there is, of course, no assurances that any player will leave, whatever happens to us, and managing to fund these contracts is not entirely clear. So, I have to say that worries about managing these and that came into my head, but again (like I say) most scenarios have been well thought out, planned and looked into it would seem. Players 'might' opt to terminate their employment, unlikely I know, but 'if' they did want this then this is possible.
So long as we are not 'liquidated' the final instalments of parachute money come along - some £14m of it or so - so this would help make a difference.
Coming out of admin with, or without, a CVA is possible.
Quite what happens on this score I do not know, but the impression I get is that 'if' we can come out without a CVA, despite a points penalty next season, then the thoughts 'debt free' could almost quite literally apply? This was not said in this meeting though I must stress...
Redevelopment of Fratton Park is not a priority but various means and ways of working with people to help claim the land around the ground, and enable us to utilise this to PFC's benefits are also being looked into.
Even 'if' the fans cannot take control of the club with this buyout plan then, if nothing else, making sure the land around Fratton can be purchased is a serious possibility - and that in itself could make a huge difference to our future.
For those of you 'under the impression' that The Trust were looking to 'run Portsmouth Football Club' let me clarify 100% that this is not the case! They, The Trust, always have intended to get 'professional people' in to do the day-to-day running of things.
Yep, you can argue 'how can we trust them' and 'how do we know they will do a good job' - this is something we have to have faith in will be handled correctly and the right people employed to do such a job. We do not know that those employed will do it right, but then again why go into it thinking they cannot?!
If you can afford to put in your £1,000 then do it - do it as a 'consortium' if you want but lets get these grand shares snapped up.
Around £1m had been pledged so far and from the show of hands in the room on Saturday plenty want to but had not, but would now.
The Trust has often been knocked, to be honest I cannot say that I have not knocked it at times (and not because I was disappointed not to be elected back along, in all honesty I could not have put the time in, but my manifesto at the time was very much driven by wanting us to somehow take control of this club. We will never have a better chance than this), but no one can fault them for their efforts, huge efforts at that, in this area.
'Perhaps' this will not come off but lets have no more 'waiting around' for others to make their move.
You can pull out at anytime, so if you are unhappy having put down your £100 then you can opt out and all you lose is the £2.50 admin fee - again this is not a fee that The Trust are charging, so they are not 'profiting' from us, a professional business is being dealt with for the money so they charge an admin fee as they are a business!
This said I have to be honest that I have some concerns that £1,000 being put in could merely be for a 'short-term' fix. Fears that we could end up where we are again now in a year, or less, have been in my head. I want this club to live on, and want to help it, but would want my grand to be for a 'long-term' future and not just a short-term fix.
Again though you have to have faith in the professional people advising the Trust that this is a viable option, and I would like to think it is if it can happen - if it turns out that it is not then I would have to withdraw my funding, but with just £2.50 lost I literally lose a pint, so not a great deal eh!
Whatever though lets not kid ourselves it will be mighty tough, the next year or so in particular will be 'rocky' to say the least, but we cannot sit back and let this club die, and I have to say that I continue to find it hard to believe anyone will 'save us', but they could work with us in tandem so do not think that your £1,000 share will not make any difference, as it will.
So, the more we raise off our own backs then the better the chance of a 'controlling stake' in PFC there is for Pompey fans perhaps.
To have a controlling stake would be such an advantage to us, the fans, but even without this although we could not influence such things as transfers The Trust would be on the board and could keep us updated with what is happening - if troubled waters are being flirted with we can find out before we hit that iceberg and not after when we are sinking...
If you genuinely can afford the £1,000 - or more - then put down your initial £100 now (as a group or individual).
I know that even £100 alone is not 'pocket change' to many but with just £2.50 'at risk' you really have little to lose, but we have so much to gain with a club living on and being run in a way that it should to give us a stable and sustainable future.
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Date:Monday April 16 2012
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