As expected, Portpin have put in a bid to take Pompey over, with proposals to be put forward for a new CVA.
Some questions to ponder and some very quick thoughts blogged from the discomfort of a train:
1) How big will a further points deduction be if the original CVA is not paid up in full on its original terms?
2) Will Lampitt and Redgate come back in? That would be a problem with some of the remaining staff at Fratton Park, who felt betrayed by their handling of the CSI fiasco, the failure to pay charity money again, and other issues.
3) Will Chainrai now engage properly with fans and their representative groups? Remember, he thought a lot of us were aliens last time.
4) Are we genuinely better off having Chainrai in charge, or are we still heading for eventual liquidation once he has exhausted whatever income the club has in his search to make money out of it?
5) Would we be better off boycotting Chainrai, trying to kill this version of PFC now and starting again cleanly, honestly and honourably?
6) Will any of the charities who have been ripped off, or the small creditors in the last administration Chainrai promised to pay in full, ever get their money?
I am inclined to think the cleanest and most honourable thing to do now would be to kill off this incarnation of Portsmouth FC and start again with the Trust, rather than have our name dragged through more mud by a Portpin ownership. But that is a minority view among the support. It is probably for the best if we keep fighting after Chainrai’s takeover to make people see how toxic he has been and probably will be for the city’s football club. I am not in favour of starting a splinter club, it would have no legitimacy in the eyes of most people. I’m not yet sure boycotting Fratton Park and losing the opportunity to push my point of view in the real world, and not the internet, is wise either. Everyone on the internet overestimates its influence.
There is nothing the Supporters’ Trust can do to prevent Portpin’s takeover, which has some sort of pre-ordained quality to it. Chainrai has the weight on the creditors committee, he has PKF’s support.
Chainrai won’t hesitate to create splits in the fanbase, or to pretend they exist when they do not. Clearly he isn’t as clever as he thinks he is, or he would never have ended up owning the club in the first place as a result of his legal row with the Gaydamaks. For a man who has protested throughout that he doesn’t want to run a football club, he has been hopeless in his efforts to get himself off the scene.
The real thing to take on board today is that Chainrai’s takeover is not a salvation, it merely puts back the point at which he leaves Portsmouth, and it puts back the point at which we find ourselves again facing extinction. In the long term the Trust is the most likely safeguard against that extinction.
The correct strategy for the Trust is to play a long game, push as hard as possible for Chainrai to work with the fans (and not attack them as he has in the past), and to keep in mind the aim of eventual ownership by the fans. The Trust has in no sense failed, I have seen the debate about share price and timing but in the circumstances the Trust board has done a great job achieving what it has.
It’s important that people continue to join the Trust, to support it financially, to shape its policy where they disagree with it, and to remember that the real enemy is not a fan who holds opposing viewpoints. The battle for the survival of Pompey is still going on and will do for a long time yet.