|HALL RIGHT NOW: The day Portsmouth was once again proud of Pompey...|
Fri 10th Aug 2012 09:26 by Micah Hall
Another landmark day in the tumultuous saga that is Pompey. The fabulous work of the leaders of the Pompey Supporters Trust and the patience and farsightedness of the elected leaders of Portsmouth City Council has resulted in a real, serious, credible community bid. Trevor Birch and Portpin have some thinking to do.
I have an interest to declare here: I am a friend of many of the Trust board and Liberal Democrat group on PCC. It was always a certainty that these guys would come through for us in the end, particularly with people like Ashley Brown, Gerald Vernon-Jackson and Mike Hancock in the room.
However, this isn't just about those guys. The leaders of both Labour and Tory groups were right behind the Trust and every councillor with them. Each and every fan who has backed the bid joined together with their elected representatives to save Pompey.
Portsmouth stood up for its team today.
Of course, there is no certainty at all that the Trust will win the race to take control of Pompey, but at least there IS an alternative.
The question now for Portpin is this: what is the point in you taking over? There is currently about £3m on the table for them to walk away, (£2.75m in secured debt and 300k unsecured). Portpin's plan is, according to quotes from Levi Kushnir, to get back out of Pompey in 3 years. What on earth is going to make Pompey worth more than £3m profit in the next three years?
Season 2012/13 is highly unlikely to result in promotion, given the fact we have nothing like a 23 man squad of settled quality and start on minus 10 points.
In any case, bear in mind no-one was prepared to pay the asking price in the championship during Portpin's previous period of ownership. Promotion is not only most likely two years away at best, but would probably require some squad surgery to achieve. That requires investment, and every penny you spend means the eventual sale price has to go up to make a bigger profit.
In October 2009 Portpin decided to put their money into a football club that was unable to pay its wages and was preparing a statement of affairs for administration. They backed a man they had never met by lending him money to put into a business that was never solvent and went bankrupt twice more. They sold the club to CSI, who didn't last six months and whose guarantees were from a bank not allowed to trade here because of a "pattern of deception".
Putting their money into Pompey was always a high risk strategy, and the risk won. There is no money in Pompey to repay Portpin, it's all gone. There is no buyer willing to compensate them for the money they have lost, and why would there be? No-one owes them any compensation for making poor decisions about where to put their money. People buy businesses for what they are worth, not for the amount of money that the current owner has lost. Portpin are entitled to want it, but no-one is obliged to give it to them.
If Portpin don't take the money on offer from the Trust, then it's odds on that in three years time they will wish they had.
Pompey are two decades behind most of the Championship and Premier League. To put ourselves back into contention we need to stabilise and then build an infrastructure that can support a top flight team. It is going to take a lot longer than three years and there doesn't seem to be a single businessman prepared to take on the risk and work of this gargantuan task. Only the fans still plan to be here in a couple of decades, and only the fans aren't going to be looking for a profit.
We desperately need Portpin to take the bird in the hand offered by the Trust. We must start the job of rebuilding this club the right way.
Whatever happens, it's a proud day for Pompey Supporters Trust and for Portsmouth City Council, and it's a proud day to be a Pompey fan. At the very least, we tried.
The views of Micah Hall are his own and don't necessarily reflect the editorial view of pompey-fans.com
The Pompey Supporters' Trust is still seeking pledges from Pompey fans to back their bid. Information can be found here
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