POMPEY AND COVENTRY FANS PUT THEIR TRUST IN COMMUNITY OWNERSHIP
Solidarity between football supporters in adversity will be underlined at the weekend when representatives of the Pompey Supporters’ Trust and their counterparts from Coventry’s Sky Blue Trust get together at Fratton Park.
The meeting between the two groups has been arranged before their respective sides meet in a League 1 clash and high on the agenda will be discussions about how supporters can effectively step in when things go wrong at their clubs.
By the time the game kicks off, Coventry supporters will know the outcome of Friday’s High Court hearing about the application to put their club into administration.
Pompey fans have been grappling with chronic mismanagement at the own club for a number of years, leading to a second administration in two years in February 2012, but the Trust is now on the brink of an historic takeover of the club.
Chairman of the PST Ashley Brown said: ‘We can sympathise with the situation at Coventry and this meeting between the two trusts will be a good opportunity for us to explain our experiences.
‘We have had an ongoing dialogue with the Sky Blue Trust since last November and with the deteriorating situation at Coventry, it is fantastic to hear that in the last week alone they have increased their membership from 800 to 1200.
‘That’s a phenomenal achievement and the Sky Blue Trust has really established itself as a key stakeholder and the only one whose first priority is the interests of the fans.’
PST has raised more than £2m in a community share issue and partnered with some individual Pompey fan investors raising a further £1m enabling it to be able to buy the club. The Trust has also teamed up with Portsmouth City Council and a property partner to borrow money in the short-term to buy Fratton Park as part of the deal.
Gary Stubbs of the Sky Blue Trust said: ‘Members of Sky Blue Trust are delighted to be meeting up again with their colleagues from the Pompey Trust prior to their respective teams’ match on Saturday.
‘The Sky Blue Trust wish to publicly congratulate their Portsmouth friends on their amazing achievements to date as they stand on the threshold of forming the largest supporter-owned football club in Britain.
‘Supporter ownership and participation are at the heart of what the Sky Blue Trust is aiming to achieve at Coventry and the trailblazing efforts at Portsmouth are an example to fans across the country as to what can be achieved.
‘The key aim of the Sky Blue Trust is to ensure Coventry fans participate in the ownership and running of their club. Supporters should be at the heart of every club and we wish Pompey Trust every success in completing their journey very shortly.’
Helping broker the meeting has been Supporters Direct – the body which promotes fan engagement in sports clubs – and its spokesman Kevin Rye added: ‘The fact we are seeing clubs the size of Portsmouth and Coventry seriously considering community ownership options underlines the momentum our movement is gaining.
‘At Supporters’ Direct we want to promote a model of community ownership, led by supporters’ trusts, underpinning sustainable economic models for professional sports clubs as we feel it is the only sensible way forward.’
Source: Coventry MAD