|COLIN FARMERY: It's time to show faith in the company you keep...|
Fri 22nd Jun 2012 08:15 by Colin Farmery
It was a sign of the desperation and frustration of Pompey's fans when Brian Howe, the closest thing the club has to a rock star fan, tweeted this week 'Can someone tell me what exactly Balram Chainrai has done wrong?'
A good dozen or so replies later, with a litany of errors of procedure or judgment Mr Chainrai has made in the just under three years or so he has been linked with Portsmouth FC, possibly caused the former Bad Company singer to reflect that hitching his star momentarily to the Portpin bid for the club might not have been the wisest of moves.
While there is disappointment among some fans - me included - that a more rigorous investigation of the Chainrai's purported debt hasn't taken place, the reality is the time and expense, not to mention risk, of a legal challenge could well be more expensive than simply doing a deal with him.
However, Brian's tweet was a symptom of the growing frustration and fear of all fans that for the third season out of four pre-season is going to be wrecked.
On Monday Portpin's CVA proposal will be put to unsecured creditors offering the princely sum of two pence in the pound. With the much-vaunted Pompey Supporters' Trust bid yet to materialise, the tempatation even among the faithful to latch onto a lifeline - any lifeline - is real.
The Trust has come in for flak from friend and foe alike after an article in The News this week suggested its bid for the club was 'unlikely' to be made by Monday.
Not for the first time the headline writers at Hilsea have loaded pressure onto the Trust it really doesn't need at a delicate stage of negotiations.
Since April the Trust has made huge strides towards its objective of whole or partial ownership of Portsmouth FC. The pre-share issue has been a success by any measure, with several thousand fans pledged, either singly or in syndicates, to take a real stake in PFC should the Trust take control of the club.
A number of local business people have rallied behind the proposed Associate Director scheme and a handful of high-net worth Pompey fans are ready to invest six-figure sums in the club.
Has the Trust got 'enough' money to make a bid? Almost certainly, yes. Could it make a 'better' offer than Portpin's derisory, condition-laden CVA? Quite possibly.
So why isn't it getting on with it then? An understandable question perhaps.
The simple answer, however, is that when it makes its move the Trust wants to ensure it maximises both its position and opportunity.
After all it's my - and possibly your - money we're talking about here.
While Portpin's position may have the hallmarks of a 'make me an offer' stamped all over it, the Trust would be foolish to rush in. As the clock ticks, players on lucrative contracts are still watching and waiting. If Chainrai is holding for his money, I'm damned if I don't hold out for mine. And who can blame them? Certainly not me.
And the clock is ticking towards liquidation. Unfortunately for Pompey, without a Scottish Premier League-style slap-Rangers-on-the-wrist compromise as a safety net.
Nevertheless, the Trust can and should be prepared to take this situation to the wire. It is clear that this time Chainrai will be the most reluctant of reluctant Pompey owners. Besides, if it is to be liquidation, it is the Trust who will be picking up the pieces anyway.
The PST bid team is a tight-knit group, working with a respected insolvency practice in Begbies Traynor. That sounds a more professional approach to me than many a tyre-kicker who has been given more than the the time of day at the mere mention of buying PFC. The more so for the fact little or nothing of substance has leaked from them in over two months.
Much as we all want to know what's going on - me included - that's the way it should stay. If and when the prize is won those involved will have fully earned their moment in the sun. If they don't they should have the grateful thanks of all fans for having tried to do the right thing.
Now, more than ever, for those, like me, who believe fans should have a tangible stake in the club they support, we need to show faith and solidarity.
How many times have the back pages declared a deal dead, only for the transfer target to pop up in a press conference a couple of days later?
Enough times to know, now is not the time to give up hope...
Click here to support the bid.
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