Who should run our club, that is the question

19th March, 2013

It now seems inevitable that the Portsmouth Supporters Trust (PST) will be successful in their bid to take ownership of Portsmouth Football Club.

Is this the best outcome for the club?

Only time will tell, but at this point it is highly likely that the PST will gain control come early May. A vast majority of the fans that I communicate with on a regular basis are of the opinion it is the best outcome. A few are against it, but many others confess to not knowing enough to make an informed decision.

My decision to write this article is due to the latter and particularly to a couple of threads that were prominent on Twitter in the last month. It became evident via a few respected Tweeters that a good number of fans do not have a grasp on what has happened over the last year or so. This is the intended audience; those who may have only read snippets or heard rumours about the situation, but would like a fuller picture in terms of what has been said on the subject.

Therefore, the objective of this article is to condense and provide “one click” links to as much original and relevant information as possible, in one place. When I say relevant articles, this is somewhat arbitrary. During my research I came across hundreds of articles on the subject, ranging from full mainstream media articles and detailed investigative pieces, to simple quotes, short personal articles and forum posts. Therefore, trying to whittle down the most relevant has been difficult.

When it comes to the “what is the best outcome for Pompey” question or debate, many fans have taken an interest, but at an orbital level only. For many the reason is that they have not had all of the information or facts to hand. This situation is compounded if they only have limited access to the internet, do not use Social Media, or more often than not, simply do not have the time to trawl and take it all in. In truth, apart from limited newspaper articles, the majority of the more interesting information has spawned from individuals who have dug deeper and posted their findings on the internet. And one thing is for sure, there is a lot of relevant, deep rooted investigative information contained in many of these articles.

I take no credit whatsoever for what has been published before. I just want those who have not had the chance to read and assess the information that’s out there for themselves.

At this point I should say that I am a Pompey fan and have followed them through thick and thin since 1977, the season we were relegated from Division 3 to the bottom tier (it seems like déjà vu 35 years on!). Like all other Pompey fans in the last twenty years or so, I have revelled in the highs and hit the doldrums in the lows. I have also followed the events that have caused the near demise of our club over the last four-plus years, and particularly the goings on over the last year, which has been an astonishing test of patience for the fans.

If asked by a neutral “What has happened at your club?” I respond “I don’t have detailed knowledge of all the ins and outs, but based on what I do know, gross mismanagement definitely occurred, followed by a series of shenanigans and doomed takeovers.”

When considering my answer in full, I generally make the following points:

    1. Less than five years ago Portsmouth won the FA Cup and finished a very respectable 8th in the Premier League. The previous season the club had a (reportedly) sustainable debt. As a result of winning the FA Cup we qualified for Europe for the first time, culminating in a historic night at Fratton Park in November 2009 against AC Milan.
    2. Within two years of winning the cup we reached the FA Cup Final again, but by then the club had fallen into real financial difficulties.

It was at that point, that things deteriorated fast. Portsmouth became the first Premier League club to enter administration (in 2010) and were consequently deducted nine points which led to relegation from the top flight.

With the exception of Rangers Football Club, the phenomenal descent from being a respected member of the Premier League club to our now lowly League 1 and “penniless” position, has arguably surpassed anything that has happened to a British league club before.  Therefore something in that two year period went horribly wrong. Someone wasn’t watching the cash flow, or possibly just ignoring it?

Yes, there were ownership issues, starting with Gaydamak who run up a large debt after the money ran out. This was then compounded by the debacle of having transparent or unfit owners. However, I believe the period from early 2008 to December 2009 as key in contributing most to our current situation.

Anyway, back to the point of this article. It is not predominantly about the past, but about the more recent turn of events, which are very relevant to the understanding of where we are now in terms of potential club ownership.  The majority of articles listed refer to events and characters that have surfaced since Portsmouth entered Administration in February 2012.

When you browse the list you may wonder why there doesn’t appear to be much information from the prospective buyers. The answer to this lies in the fact that there isn’t much; what there has been, has been rather sporadic. Wherever possible I have included what I have found.

All articles referenced have either been reported in the mainstream media (national newspapers and broadcasters) or are internet blog articles/posts. These blogs not only outline relevant facts and information, but in many cases the author’s personal views too. I am not expressing my own personal views on the situation or the information and articles referenced. I have tried to be honest in keeping it neutral, and while I obviously do have a personal view, in the context of this article I am not agreeing, disagreeing, condoning (or otherwise) with any of the information, sources, people or organisations referenced.  Also, I cannot verify the information as being accurate, inaccurate, true, false, or otherwise. I have purposely excluded any information that is perhaps emotional and does not have a direct impact on the issue of ownership, i.e. our performance on the field or personnel not involved in decision making.

All information is in the public domain (and still was at the point of writing). It is up to you, as the reader, to review relevant articles and make your own conclusions on the events portrayed. If you do sit on the fence, it may not make up your mind as to whether PST or external ownership is the best outcome for our club, but you will at least have one click access to a lot of relevant information.

To achieve my objective I built up a list of events in chronological order, using the original headline (and sub-headline where appropriate) together with a direct link to the original article. I have laid out the reporting of events in three parts:

The Pre-bid era  Highlighting the immediate of the period leading to our second spell of administration on February 17th 2012 and the look for a new owner.

Bids R us  Who was bidding to buy the club and for what?  Lists the key events between February 2012 and October 18th 2012 (when the PST were announced as the preferred bidders).

No more bids now…  Portrays the events of the period between 18th October 2012 and the [near] present.

The Pre-bid era (February 2011 to 17th February 2012)

February 7th 2011  “Pompey probe to focus on former owners”
Pompey’s administrators say their investigation into the club’s demise will concentrate on the three previous owners – and could lead to possible action against them.
Article by Emma Judd, The News
Source: http://www.portsmouth.co.uk/life/pompey-probe-to-focus-on-former-owners-1-2388773

March 13th 2011  “It’s all just a little bit of history repeating…”
Article by SJ Maskell
Source: http://sjmaskell.blogspot.co.uk/

April 18th 2011  “Same Old, Same Old: Lessons from History as (CSI) takeover Edges Nearer”
Article by SJ Maskell
Source: http://www.fansonline.net/portsmouth/article.php?id=1762

June 1st 2011  “Convers Sports Initiatives complete Portsmouth takeover”
We have taken this club during the worst times and brought it to safe grounds from near extinction” – Balram Chainrai, Levi Kushnir and Deepak Chainrai, outgoing Portsmouth owners.
Article by BBC Sport
Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/13614706.stm

November 23rd 2011  “Portsmouth co-owner Vladimir Antonov is subject of arrest warrant”
Article by Matt Scott, The Guardian
Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2011/nov/23/portsmouth-vladimir-antonov-arrest-warrant

November 29th 2011  “Portsmouth owner Vladimir Antonov steps down”
Article by BBC Sport
Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/15944523

January 16th 2012 “Cala may pay £20m for Portsmouth FC”
Article by The Scotsman
Source: http://www.scotsman.com/the-scotsman/business/cala-may-pay-20m-for-portsmouth-fc-1-2058714

January 23rd 2012 “Four Star Daydream: the Pompey Owner Saga Part 6”
Article by SJ Maskell
SJ Maskell on takeover attempt by Joseph Cala
Source: http://www.twohundredpercent.net/?p=17138

February 17th 2012  “Portsmouth Football Club announce they have gone into Administration – a Statement From Peter Storrie”
Article on the Portsmouth FC web site
Source: http://www.portsmouthfc.co.uk/LatestNews/news/A-Statement-From-Peter-Storrie-674.aspx

Bids R Us (February 17th 2012 to 18th October 2012)

A period of turmoil, multiple bidders and debate as to who should, can, or will take ownership of PFC.

February 26th 2012 “The Glue Holding Fragile Pompey Together Has To Be The Fans”
Article by SJ Maskell
Source: http://www.fansnetwork.co.uk/football/portsmouth/fb_news.php?storyid=17232

November 29th 2011  “Pompey: The New Boss Could Be the Old Boss”
Article by SJ Maskell
Source: http://www.twohundredpercent.net/?p=16613

March 4th 2012  “Chainrai to return? This ‘failure’ simply cannot be allowed to happen”
Article by Micah Hall
Micah Hall on why Chanrai should not be given the opportunity to own the club again.
Source: http://www.fansnetwork.co.uk/football/portsmouth/fb_news.php?storyid=17243

March 14th 2012  “Bereft of life it rests in peace. If only Chainrai’s money did”
Article by Micah Hall
Micah Hall on why Chanrai should not be pursuing his “lost” £17m
Source: http://www.fansnetwork.co.uk/football/portsmouth/fb_news.php?storyid=17242

March 31st 2012  “I’ve got nothing to hide”, says Chainrai… “Anybody who is ready to give me the money I put into the club and lent to the club in good faith, I’m ready to take it and walk,”
John Carney, South China Morning Post
Source: http://www.scmp.com/article/707887/ive-got-nothing-hide-says-chainraiive-got-nothing-hide-says-chainrai

April 23rd 2012  “Interested in buying a football club? Here’s your chance”
Article by Micah Hall
Micah Hall on why he feels a supporters’ owned club is the best option
Source: http://www.fansnetwork.co.uk/football/portsmouth/fb_news.php?storyid=17239

May 12th 2012  “The business of saving Pompey has no magic wand”
Article by Micah Hall
Micah Hall on what prospective should not be looking for when buying a club
Source: http://www.fansonline.net/pompey-fans/article.php?id=429

June 4th 2012  “To be in debt or not to be in debt. That is the question”
Article by Micah Hall
Source: http://www.fansnetwork.co.uk/football/portsmouth/fb_news.php?storyid=17234

June 9th 2012  “Portsmouth awaits Chainrai. In hope rather than anticipation”
Article by Brendon Bone
Brendon Bone’s views as Portpin look to be in pole position to takeover and the CVA they issued
Source: http://www.fansnetwork.co.uk/football/portsmouth/fb_news.php?storyid=17259

Jun 16th 2012  “Should Pompey be liquidated? Time for Pompey to go down the Rangers route”
Article by Brendon Bone
Brendon Bone debates whether liquidation is a viable option
Source: http://www.fansnetwork.co.uk/football/portsmouth/fb_news.php?storyid=17297

June 25th 2012  “Portsmouth’s creditors have voted in favour of Balram Chainrai’s Company Voluntary Arrangement proposal at Monday’s meeting at Fratton Park”
Article on BBC Sport
Balram Chainrai’s proposal accepted by Portsmouth creditors
Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/18578555

August 15th 2012  “Chainrai could own Portsmouth for a third time”
Article by Unus Alladin, South China Morning Post
Some interesting quotes from Balram Chanrai

August 30th 2012  “You’ve got to laugh as Portpin go on the offensive…”
Article by Micah Hall
Micah Hall on what should not be expected [by Portpin] from risky investments.
Source: http://www.fansnetwork.co.uk/football/portsmouth/fb_news.php?storyid=18018

September 6th 2012  “It is Trust or Bust now. And here’s why”
Article by SJ Maskell
Source: http://www.fansnetwork.co.uk/football/portsmouth/fb_news.php?storyid=18083

September 11th 2012  “Portsmouth’s former owner Sulaiman Al Fahim launches new bid for Fratton Park club”
Article by Matt Scott, The Telegraph
Source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/portsmouth/9535178/Portsmouths-former-owner-Sulaiman-Al-Fahim-launches-new-bid-for-Fratton-Park-club.html

October 2nd 2012  The 100 questions Portpin need to answer… Part 1”
Article by By Micah Hall
With links to further related parts.
Source: http://www.fansnetwork.co.uk/football/portsmouth/fb_news.php?storyid=18292&title=hall_right_now:_the_100_questions_portpin_need_to_answer…_part_1

October 7th 2012  “Revealed – The true story behind Ali Al Faraj – Part 1”
By Micah Hall
Source: http://www.fansnetwork.co.uk/football/portsmouth/fb_news.php?storyid=18346

October 10th 2012  “Revealed – The inside story of the ‘Ali Al Faraj’ regime – Part 2”
By Micah Hall
Source: http://www.fansnetwork.co.uk/football/portsmouth/fb_news.php?storyid=18360

October 11th 2012 “Don’t let Balram Chainrai and Levi Kushnir squeeze life out of my Pompey”
Article by Richard Palmer, The Express
Source: http://www.express.co.uk/sport/football/351373/Don-t-let-Balram-Chainrai-and-Levi-Kushnir-squeeze-life-out-of-my-Pompey

October 12th 2012  Time to blow Pompey’s empty vessels out of the water…”
Article by SJ Maskell
Source: http://www.fansnetwork.co.uk/football/portsmouth/fb_news.php?storyid=18372

October 15th 2012  “Double trouble – Proof Portpin put Pompey into administration twice”
Article by Micah Hall
Source: http://www.fansnetwork.co.uk/football/portsmouth/fb_news.php?storyid=18383

Who was bidding… and for what? (18th October 2012 to present)

This section provides an insight into the research behind bidders that were already in the background or surfaced since PKF announced the Portsmouth Supporters Trust (PST) as the preferred bidders on October 18th 2012. It is particularly this period alone which has raised the most questions and debate over who is best to run our club.

October 24th 2012  “Trust will prevent the problems of the past…”
Article by Tom Young
Source: http://www.fansnetwork.co.uk/football/portsmouth/fb_news.php?storyid=18449

November 9th 2012  “Portsmouth FC facing a ‘very real risk’ of liquidation”
Article from The Telegraph Sports pages
Source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/portsmouth/9666902/Portsmouth-FC-facing-a-very-real-risk-of-liquidation.html

January 17th 2013  “Is fan-ownership the answer to football failures?”
Article by by Matt Slater, BBC Sport
Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/21058754

January 20th 2013  “Soccer dream over for Hong Kong businessmen Carson Yeung and Balram Chainrai”  Chanrai: “This was not my regular business, so it was all new to me. I’d be more vigilant and careful before investing my money into anything like this again. When things start to go bad they go downhill fast.”
Article by John Carey, South China Morning Post
Source: http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/article/1131822/soccer-dream-over-hong-kong-businessmen-carson-yeung-and-balram

February 3rd 2013  “The truth and nothing but the truth. I swear…”
Chanrai linked to the Al Faraj consortium
Article by Micah Hall
Source: http://www.fansnetwork.co.uk/football/portsmouth/fb_news.php?storyid=31310

February 3rd 2013  Pompey: The Hiroshima Files”
Article by SJ Maskell
Some interesting observations and investigations into missing season ticket funds.
Source: http://www.twohundredpercent.net/?p=21791
Also see the original source of the news at: http://portus-eg.blogspot.co.uk/

February 6th 2013  “Football financer Keith Harris launches Portsmouth takeover bid”
Article from BBC Sport
Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/21362290

February 7th 2013  “Portsmouth receive offer from former chairman of the Football League”
Article from The Telegraph
Source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/portsmouth/9855455/Portsmouth-receive-offer-from-former-chairman-of-the-Football-League.html

February 7th 2013  “The Pompey comedy is turning from tragedy to farce”
Article by Micah Hall
Micah Hall and his views regarding Keith Hariss’s consortium bid
Source: http://www.fansnetwork.co.uk/football/portsmouth/fb_news.php?storyid=31345

February 7th 2013  “It’s Trust or Bust as Football League rule out Harris”
Article by Dan Brett
Source: http://www.fansnetwork.co.uk/football/portsmouth/fb_news.php?storyid=31346

February 7th 2013  “Portsmouth told they will lose membership if Supporters Trust’s bid to buy club fails”
Article on Sky Sports News
Source: http://www1.skysports.com/news/11095/8478298/

February 11th 2013  “The men who would run Pompey and why they shouldn’t… #1”
Article by Micah Hall
Micah Hall on the Keith Harris and consortium bid
Source: http://www.fansnetwork.co.uk/football/portsmouth/fb_news.php?storyid=31391

February 12th 2013 “The men who would run Pompey and why they shouldn’t… #2”
Article by Micah Hall
source: http://www.fansnetwork.co.uk/football/portsmouth/fb_news.php?storyid=31394

February 2013  “The men who would run Pompey and why they shouldn’t… #3”
Article by Micha Hall – REMOVED FROM FANSONLINE.NET – see “Last word: Freedom of speech” towards the end of this article.

February 16th 2013 “The Harris bid which stirred a hornet’s nest – not in his own words, though”
Article by Neil Allen, Midhurst & Petworth Observer
Keith Harris has chosen not to speak to The News over his plans for Pompey
Source: http://www.midhurstandpetworth.co.uk/community/columnists/the-harris-bid-which-stirred-a-hornet-s-nest-not-in-his-own-words-though-1-4796378

February 18th 2013  “Portsmouth fans dismiss Keith Harris’s offer of 15% stake in club”
Article from the Press Association, covered in The Guardian
Fans consensus on the Keith Harris consortium’s revised bid.
Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2013/feb/18/portsmouth-fans-keith-harris-offer

February 18th 2013  “…if there is a slip [in the bid] then I don’t want this club to go bust…”
The Keith Harris Video interview on Sky Sports
Source: http://www1.skysports.com/watch/video/sports/football/teams/portsmouth/8508012/harris-revises-portsmouth-bid

February 22nd 2013  “Portsmouth: Portpin ‘wants clarity’ from Football League on offers”
Article from BBC Sport
Chanrai on why he believes the Football League have acted unlawfully
Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/21554438

Last Word: Freedom of speech

Whatever your views on what you have read, what your opinion is, or how you perceive the coverage and articles I have listed, football fans have the right to express their opinions. Although no one is above the law, if the reported information is verifiable and accurate, it should be published without the fear of anyone taking legal action just because they do not like what has been reported.

February 26th 2013  “Pompey website taken to court over fan’s blog”
Reported by The News.
Source: http://www.portsmouth.co.uk/sport/pompey/pompey-website-taken-to-court-over-fan-s-blog-1-4828971

March 7th 2013  “Bloggers Getting SLAPPed To Save Clubs”
Article by Football365
Source: http://www.football365.com/f365-features/8545909/Bloggers-Getting-SLAPPed-To-Save-Clubs

Micah Hall was been issued with legal action following an article that has been subsequently withdrawn from fansonline.net.  Whilst I cannot verify it as accurate or otherwise, I do hold the view that if verifiable, no matter what my stance is on the “right” ownership of our club, it is a stab in the back for freedom of speech and football fans who wish to express their opinion, especially one of our own.

Phil Miles – Author Profile

I am a freelance writer and author with a passion about football and Portsmouth Football Club. I cannot pretend I am one of the elite fans who go to most matches, home and away, but I have watched and supported Pompey on more than 600 occasions since 1977, visiting more than 50 grounds along the way.

I published my first book, Passion United, in September 2012. If you are a Pompey fan, you may well have seen me inside and outside of the ground selling it through November and December. Passion United is a book for fans, written by a fan.  It takes an often tongue in cheek look at the various aspects of the game that drives our football passion and evokes our football related emotions, after all…

“It’s the passion of the fans that makes the game what it is”

Passion United is available in paperback for £5.95 via my web site: www.footypoet.com, or from the Pompey’s 12th Man web site: http://www.pompeys12thman.co.uk

Please note, that for every sale of the book through my own web site or via Pompey’s 12th man web site, £3.95 of the sale will be donated towards community shares.

You can also buy it from Waterstones stores locally and on Amazon at £7.99. A Kindle version is also available on Amazon.

You may also enjoy the following YouTube video that depicted Pompey’s situation at the time.

  Portsmouth Football Club 1898-2012 (Pompey forever)



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