Im no financial expert, I have read as much as I can to understand the situation at Pompey. I’d love anyone who knows more or can correct any of the below i’d love to hear from you.
So Chainrai has burst back on to the scene, as a potential saviour of the club. The reaction from some seems to be vitriolic. Well lets examine how he got involved in the club. When no-one else would loan Pompey any cash Chainrai would. This was of course not altruistic, he is a businessman with no emotional ties to Pompey. He is involved in the club to make profit. I dont know much about liquidation law, but surely he is less likely to get his investment back if the club folds? But he doesnt care as long as he gets his cash back. I dont begrudge him that. He is a businessman, and he made a loan that was obviously risky at the time (why else would the banks not loan us cash) it went wrong so now he is attempting to get back his investment – I dont see him as much of a villain as others (although have a look at my favourite Pompey writer SJ Maskell’s excellent article to see why you might)
If, and its a big if, Chainrai’s involvement can save the club from going into liquidation, what happens next? He does not want the club, he just wants his money. So presumably he does one of two things he sells the clubs assets and winds it up or he sells it on.
Picture the scenario he steadies the ship but Pompey are relegated he then finds from somewhere someone to buy the club. Lets say for arguments sake he is the stereotypical buyer of a championship club, say a Latvian millionaire, business investments in the states, 17th richest man in Latvia wealth estimated to be £200m, he has had a couple of business fail, and there was that investment in Austria that he was accused of avoiding the taxman, but he denies any wrong-doing. He then puts £5m into the club, talks of increased discussions with the fans and Pompey start league 1 4th favourites for promotion, as the managers of other clubs talk of our premier league experience as Hayden Mullins, TBH and Ashdown stay at the club. Gaydamark owns the land around Fratton Park, Chainrai is owned £17m and local businesses and charities are ripped off being repaid 3p in a £. The Pompey trust promise to do as much as possible to get a seat on the board and early conversations are positive. But as the year goes on Pompey fans being to forget the debt surrounding the club and settle into supporting their team once more, this chap doesnt seem so bad.
This is where and why I increasingly think Plan B is the way forward. This period of ownership has tainted our club and has demoralised the fans. Other fans look on us as a representation of all that is wrong with football currently and I am a bit sick that my club is the manifestation of this negativity, what is most likely to happen is Pompey get towards some sort of ugly status quo.
If I am being brutally honest, and I know this will not go down well with many fans, it is never going to be as good as it was in 2008, we are never going to have a team better than the Diarra, Johnson, Muntari, James, Playing Milan and winning the FA cup. We will keep going and we will love watching our team. Football is an unsustainable luxury, both for owners, the banks who loan them money and the supporters who are struggling in the economic climate. Within 5 years it wouldnt surprise me if a number of teams went under, the new Portsmouth football club (who incidentally I would just call Pompey) could be the trend setter, we could lead the way and join AFC Wimbledon and FC United as a club run by the fans and respected by other supporters, rather than watching a club flirting between Championship and league one, reminiscing about the late 2000s and always being associated with financial mismanagement.
It would be an exciting new adventure. Football is littered with clubs who have replaced previous clubs, who have morphed and changed names of clubs but have absorbed their histories, Woolwich Arsenal, Newton Heath and Pompey’s predecessors the Royal Artillery Football Club just a number of examples. Having said all that, I would never want a Plan B team setup in an attempt to compete with a Chainrai owner Portsmouth FC. I say other than a rich Portsmouth fan buying the club, agreeing to a small percentage of fan ownership and much clearer accountability, I will never trust owners again and that will surely only damage my relationship with the club and the team. If you read Maskell’s article and the interconnectedness of all of the dubious owners, management and administrators, it will only depress you more. I will always be a Pompey fan and I struggle to see a time when I wont watch the team, but in answer to administrator Birch’s question Pompey or bust? I love our history and dont want to throw it away, but I am increasingly leaning towards bust.