Paid up Pompey now debt free – club

Paid up Pompey now debt free - club  -

English fourth-tier club Portsmouth, once synonymous with financial mismanagement, insisted Monday they were debt free following a fans’ takeover.

The FA Cup winners as recently as 2008, Portsmouth have since suffered two spells in administration and three relegations in the past five years which have seen the south coast club drop out of the lucrative Premier League and down to League Two.

But with the club on the brink of extinction in 2013, the Pompey Supporters’ Trust was formed and did a deal with Hong Kong-based former owner Balram Chainrai.

Some 2,368 shareholders have between them raised about £2.5m ($4 million, three million euros) through individual pledges of £1,000.

The PST owns just under 51 percent of the club, with a group of 13 ‘presidents’ making up the remaining share.

“Everybody at the club has worked hard in reorganising our operations during the past 18 months and the legacy debts were a significant liability hanging over this ongoing process,” a PST statement issued Monday said.

However, Portsmouth chief executive Mark Catlin insisted there would be no complacency as the club looked to make sure it remained on a sound financial footing.

“Obviously it’s another milestone in the club’s evolution, a great day and the culmination of a lot of hard work by a lot of people over the past 18 months since we came out of administration,” he told the BBC.

“The supporter base is key as they’ve given us financial clout,” he added.

“Operationally it makes a big difference and means we can build for the future, but what we can’t do is take our eye off the ball.”

Portsmouth are currently eighth in League Two, having held Italian giants AC Milan to a 2-2 draw in the UEFA Cup (now Europa League) at Fratton Park in 2008 and been in the Premier League as recently as 2010 when they were also beaten in that year’s FA Cup final by Chelsea.