So it has been a busy summer! Last night I completed the sale of 90 percent of my shares in Portsmouth FC to a consortium led by the Saudi-based Al Faraj brothers. Pompey fans will be probably be right ask why, and why so soon after I took over the club.
Firstly let me take this opportunity to thanks everyone at the club – both the fans and the boardroom – for their continued support over the past few months. I know it has been a roller coaster ride, and I am particularly grateful to Peter Storrie for his never ending dedication to the club.
When I first became interested in taking over the club earlier this year, I had intended to finance the purchase and on-going investment myself.
As the due diligence and takeover process unfolded, it became clear the level of debt – and the urgency of repayments – was higher than anyone had imagined. It has always been my intention to fully finance the purchase by mid-October.
However, it became clear last week that there was a danger this would be too late, given the pressing financial commitments in the past few days. It was for this reason that I decided to relinquish the majority of the shares to an outside investor who was prepared to immediately bring new funding to the club.
I should make clear that I have not made any financial gain from this. In fact, I insisted that any purchase price for my shareholding should instead be in the form of immediate and new investment to the club. To say I sold my 90% shares for one pound would actually be an exaggeration. It was for zero.
I believe that I have acted in the best interests of the club. I also believe that had I not sought to take over the club, and made the 5m pounds of investments I already have, Portsmouth FC would now be in administration.
Ironically, from what was a very difficult and precarious position just hours ago, the club now has a solid and bright future.
The investments I have already made will remain in the club and so will my 10% shareholding. I am proud to have this stake in what I believe is a great club.
A second irony is that the 50m pounds of financing I had arranged is also now available. Should the club at some stage in the future require more investment, I will be a willing shareholder and participant.
Yes, the club has lost 7 out of 8 games, but like our financial fortunes, I hope and believe our luck on the pitch will also now change for the better. I shall be at the match against Spurs on October 17 to cheer on the team – as a fan, an investor and a shareholder. Play up Pompey!For all the latest sports news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
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