Portsmouth Supporters Trust confident of salvation

Portsmouth Supporters Trust feel the club can be saved from oblivion. Photo: PA

The Pompey Supporters Trust remain confident they will complete their rescue of Portsmouth despite the latest twist in the ongoing saga of the stricken club.

Following a brief High Court hearing this morning, Portsmouth's administrators PKF revealed there was "some ambiguity" over the Football League's stance that it will only consider the PST's takeover bid, following a recent rival offer from football financier Keith Harris.

That uncertainty stemmed from correspondence between the League and former Portsmouth owner Balram Chainrai's company Portpin, who control the club's Fratton Park ground.

But League officials later insisted their position had not changed.

"The board of the Football League is not considering alternative applications for the transfer of Portsmouth's share in the Football League," said a spokesman.

"Instead, it remains focused on a successful transfer of share to the preferred bidder, the Pompey Supporters Trust."

The PST's bid to buy Portsmouth, who have been in administration for just over a year, hinges on PKF gaining permission from the court to sell them Fratton Park.

Portsmouth will be thrown out of the league if they are still in administration by the start of next season, and this morning the High Court deemed the case must be heard by April 19 at the latest with a date expected to be confirmed in the next few days.

Ashley Brown, chairman of the PST, said: "We are pleased our bid is proceeding. As presented in court today our bid is fully funded and ready to go and we hope a date can be found in the near future to resolve this matter so the Trust can start the job of rebuilding the club.

"The Football League has also cleared up any confusion by making it clear for a third time that it will only consider a bid from the PST.

"Our bid has widespread support, including from Portsmouth City Council, our property partner Stuart Robinson, local and national politicians, Supporters Direct and, most importantly, thousands of loyal Pompey fans who have backed the club financially when it needed it most.

"They have done this by either buying shares, attending matches or, most importantly in the case of our high net-worth investors, by underwriting the club's losses in the autumn. Without them the club may have already disappeared."

Portsmouth, who won the FA Cup in 2008, are currently 10 points from safety at the bottom of League One and will be deducted a further 10 points if and when they exit administration.

The Football League have also said they will only consider the bid from the PST, having dismissed the latest rival offer from financier Keith Harris earlier this week.

But the case, which has already been adjourned four times, appears to have hit yet another sticking point over the League's stance.

The statement added: "The court was also made aware that correspondence has been exchanged between the Football League and Portpin which seems to lead to some ambiguity with the League's previous public statements that no other bid would be considered at this late stage.

"We will be seeking clarification from the League as a matter of urgency."

Despite the latest twist, the PST remain confident they will be in charge of Portsmouth well before the deadline.

Spokesman Colin Farmery told Press Association Sport: "That is a bit unexpected but this is Pompey after all, there is always something coming out of left field.

"But from our discussions the Football League are quite clear they will only consider the bid from the PST.

"It's hard to comment on as I have not seen the correspondence but the indications from the Football League, as recently as Monday, are that they are clear on that point.

"At the end of the day we are pleased the court case is proceeding.

"It needs to be heard by April 19 to meet the Football League's deadline and we are confident it will be sooner than that as this needs resolving as soon as possible.

"The Football League say we cannot go into another season in administration and the judge realises time is of the essence. We hope we will be in control much sooner that that.

"The PST's bid is the best one for the creditors and for the club, and means Fratton Park will be back under the ownership of Portsmouth Football Club."

Portsmouth are currently bottom of League One and will be deducted 10 points if and when they exit administration.

League officials suggested later that their position had not changed.

"The board of the Football League is not considering alternative applications for the transfer of Portsmouth's share in the Football League," said a spokesman.

"Instead, it remains focused on a successful transfer of share to the preferred bidder, the Pompey Supporters Trust."

Earlier this month, league officials said they had been told by administrators that the "preferred bidder" was the Pompey Supporters Trust.

They said any late change of "preferred bidder" would create uncertainty and was not in the wider interests of the league.

Officials said, therefore, if the trust bid failed and Portsmouth did not "exit administration" by the end of the season then the club would lose its membership of the league.