In a curious parting move, Sulaiman al-Fahim, the first of Portsmouth’s four owners this season and lasted a full forty days before selling 90% of his share to Ali Al-Faraj, has offered to donate his remaining ten percent of the club to fans via the Portsmouth Supporters’ Trust.
al-Fahim said that “This is a community club and should be owned by the fans and supporters. They should be involved and have full transparency in their club. The supporters should have a say in it. And the club should be managed with financial transparency.”
This might have been more helpful as a statement by al-Fahim when he owned the entire club, and was actually in a position to do introduce that transparency and the supporters’ say in things that might, just might, have helped steer the club in the right direction. It’s hard to see how it could have things any worse, at the least.
The offer now from al-Fahim has been met with bewilderment from the club, whose spokesman said they “are surprised as only last week he was saying he wanted to buy the club again”.
Meanwhile, the Trust is sensibly treading cautiously in response to the offer, releasing a statement saying:
The Pompey Supporters’ Trust working committee met with Suleiman Al Fahim at the end of January to discuss the possibility of Mr Fahim donating his 10% share in Portsmouth Football Club to the Trust. The working committee agreed that the offer had been made in good faith, but due to the circumstances of the Club we required financial and legal advice before we’d be in a position to comment further.
No formal offer has yet been made to the trust, but appreciating the need for urgency in the current dire situation, the Trust and it’s advisors will deal with any formal offer immediately after it’s been received.
A recomendation based on financial and legal advice will be put to the Pompey Trust’s members, who ultimately approve any decisions of this scale.
Would receiving 10% of a club in dire trouble and deep debt be good for the Trust at this point?
Meanwhile, Portsmouth’s Chief Executive Peter Storrie, whose middle name may as well be “embattled” at this stage, has defended the club’s parlous position today, and almost inadvertently revealed why Pompey have attracted a stream of new owners and further suitors despite the perilous position of the club: the potential for retail land development the club has: “the potential for 100,000 square foot of supermarket. You can imagine what that would be worth.”
- Writing in the Guardian, Martin Kelner suggests that contrary to much common understanding in England, many NFL fans feel the same way about their clubs as English fans do, looking at the documentary about the move of the Baltimore Colts to Indianapolis in 1984 by owner Bob Irsay: “The people of Baltimore, into whose own autobiographies the story of the Colts is inextricably weaved, owned the club, not Irsay, in much the same way as Manchester United belongs to Manchester not to the Glazers, Leeds United to Leeds rather than Ken Bates, and Portsmouth FC to Portsmouth, rather than (fill in name of this week’s owners here).” Kelner comments on the team’s band, who played on without their team until the Cleveland Browns moved to Baltimore in 1996 and began supporting the new/old team. . .a rather unfortunate happy ending to the story for Browns fans themselves, a fact not explored by Kelner.
- FIFA takes a look at the AFC Champions League, as the nine-month tournament gets underway.
- The headline to Tim Vickery’s piece this week, “Is the Copa Libertadores better than the Champions League?”, is a little mis-leading as Vickery sensibly doesn’t go down that path. But he does point out that if UEFA’s elite competition is the Beatles, that doesn’t make South America’s version Herman’s Hermits, pointing to the unpredictability and the remarkable young talent on show as a reason we should all pay more attention to the tournament.
- Blue Square Premier side Chester City could yet be “saved” by the rather bizarre prospect of a Danish takeover, a possibility that may not have fans who believe it’s simply time to start over jumping in the air with joy.
The Sweeper appears daily. For more rambling and links throughout the day every day, follow your editor Tom Dunmore @pitchinvasion on Twitter.