New offer for Pompey
PKF, the administrators of Portsmouth FC, have confirmed that they have received a new offer for the club. If the offer succeeds, it will mean the end of the attempt by Pompey Supporters' Trust (PST) to secure control of the club. Portsmouth would have been the first former Premier League club to be run by a fans' trust.
The offer has been made by Keith Harris, a former chairman of the Football League, together with Pascal Najadi, deputy chairman of the investment bank AIAK Group, and Alan Hitchins, who is described as a professional investor. AIAK is a banking finance house based in Kuala Lumpur. Keith Harris has indicated that he would like to meet with PST to discuss a stakeholding and participation in the club for them.
Mr Harris is chairman of the holding company of City broker Seymour Pierce which has encountered financial challenges recently and looks likely to be acquired by New York brokerage Cantor Fitzgerald. High-profile football deals netted lucrative fees that helped Seymour Pierce to partially offset declining business on turbulent markets and earned Mr Harris, a former HSBC banker, the City moniker of 'Mr Football'. He was involved in the Red Knights consortium that attempted to take over Manchester United in 2010.
Trevor Birch, PKF partner and joint administrator of the club, said, 'We believe this offer is worthy of consideration and could be completed without a court case. As officers of the Court, the administrators are charged with securing the best return for all creditors and therefore have to consider the offer. This has been a complex administration and we are doing all we can to resolve the situation as quickly as possible.'
It is understood that the prospective owners would lease Fratton Park from Balram Chainrai's Portpin vehicle in the short run, but would seek to purchase it before too long.
Keith Harris has in effect agreed a deal with Chainrai which means that the administrators cannot go to the court and argue that PST are the only bidders, It has been suggested that there are links between Harris and Chainrai, but Harris has denied that there is any formal connection.
It is evident that the new bid would offer a bigger return to creditors. It would require Football League approval, but it is difficult to see grounds for withholding that. However, PST argue that their bid would be best for Portsmouth's future and would break all links with previous regimes.