HALL RIGHT NOW: Chainrai is tick-less
By Mike Hall
Monday 26 Apr 2010 10:00:00
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At the meeting with Andrew Andronikou on April 8th, fans were treated to a lengthy exposition from the administrator on what sort of owner would be the one to take Pompey forward. He set out a number of criteria for the sort of man who would “tick all the boxes”. He then went on to insist that, although he remained a plan B, Chainrai ticked them.

Lets take a look at them and see how he does.

1. Proof of funds, (and willingness to invest them).
He said two groups had provided the proof of funds and that they had merged to form the Lloyd group. Therefore, Chainrai is not among them. Perhaps Andronikou thinks the £15m Chainrai pledged to cover administration costs is sufficient for this purpose? That would be very surprising indeed – because previously Mike Kiely had insisted that this money had been made available on the basis that if it were used it would be paid back first, before any other money to any other creditor.
Perhaps Andronikou meant that as Chainrai had £14m in the club already he didn't need to provide proof of funds? Chainrai wants this money back, he has made that abundantly clear. He doesn't want to provide funds to buy the club, he wants the club to provide funds to him.

Verdict: Proof of funds – no tick

2. Funds to take the club forward. Andronikou said he wouldn't just sell to the first scruffy geezer who walked in and offered to pay Chainrai. He wanted to see evidence of funds to take the club forward. Well, see above for the answer to that. Chainrai is on the record as having absolutely no intention of getting in deeper with Pompey.

Verdict: Funds to take the club forward – no tick. He has them, but doesn't want to put them into Pompey.


3. The long term interests of the club at heart.
Well, actions speak louder than words. Was selling Asmir Begovic to Stoke and thereby incurring £1m payment to Spurs for nothing at all in the long term interests of Portsmouth Football Club? Clearly not. So why was it done? In order to pay Chainrai overdue repayments. Did he know all this and understand the ramifications? Like everyone else, he knew we were teetering on the edge of bankruptcy and premier league oblivion. (He stepped in a little over a week later for this precise reason). He knew it was hardly in the long term interests of the club to do a deal that even Marc Jacob, his companies own lawyer, refused to sign off as being woefully poor value to the club. Jacob said so publicly. If Begovic were still here and playing he might now be worth three times what we sold him for, with no fee to Spurs.

The club was in a state of absolute crisis in Janaury, staggering from blow after blow. At this moment, Chainrai, who by his own admission was taking a great interest in club affairs right then, responded by taking £4m out. He was perfectly entitled to do this. It was his money and he was owed it. However, what would he do if Pompey were in crisis next January and needed £4m?


Secondly, how can a man who has stated he never wanted to own a football club and just wants his money back possibly have a plan for and interest in the long term?
“Portpin want their money back but won't bring the club down to get it.”, ay the minutes. Well, that is no promise of long term investment.

Verdict: Long term interests of the club – no tick

 


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4. Fit and Proper Persons Test. Mr Chainrai insists he will pass it. Andronikou insists he will pass it. However, 4 months in he hasn't taken it apparently.

Verdict:
Fit and Proper Persons Test – jury out till he takes it.


5. Acceptability to the fans. At the meeting supporters laboured the point that Mr Chainrai is considered unacceptable by many supporters. Pompey-Fans.Com ran a poll which asked fans if they would buy a season ticket if Chainrai were in charge. 80% said no. Over 200 people responded to the poll. If Mori can gauge the voting intentions of the entire nation from 1,000 respondents, 200 Pompey fans is a fair old percentage. Granted, it is not as scientific but it was also backed by similar polls on other websites. Even if there were pockets where the opposition is not so great or entrenched he would still face formidable hurdles. He said he might consider remaining as the clubs owner if the fans want him. Well, apparently they don't. Does this matter? In fact, there could be no more critical question. If Mr Chainrai is to be a reluctant owner while he ekes his money back from a five year CVA, then the business plan has to stack up. That business plan budgets for £6m in ticket revenue over a season. So if there is a boycott in place, and countless message-board threads have called for precisely this, and it blows a 50% hole in this assumption, what will Chainrai do? Cover it? If he did that every year then he would end the fifth year with the club owing him £15m – hardly the idea.
Perhaps he intends to carry out his stated intention to quickly sell the club. But in the teeth of a season ticket boycott, with no money for players and manifest instability, who is he going to sell to?
Many message board posts have stated that if Chainrai remains in charge they will go and kick off AFC Portsmouth, which would mean a two club City. AFC Portsmouth was never intended to start while Portsmouth FC lived, but you can't un-ring the bell. It is a free country and Pompey fans are notoriously independent minded. The fans at FC United of Manchester and AFC Wimbledon have shown that given enough provocation this is a realistic option. That prospect is a horror show, the certainty of a bitterly divided fan base.

Verdict: Acceptable to the fans – no tick.

Mr Andronikou needs to wake up and smell the coffee. If Mr Chainrai is his plan B, then Plan A better be good. His current Plan B spells not the death of Portsmouth Football Club, but a living death. A club staggering on from disaster to disaster surrounded by supporters fighting over the clubs history. We are not biddable children. We aren't going to come round to the idea. Andronikou said “I don't want to sound like Chainrais PR Man but.....” Well Andrew – that is exactly how you sound. You need to get your thinking cap on.

 

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