On October 29th 2009, the Pompey Supporters Trust was formed by a group of five fans at a pub near Gunwharf Quays with the intention of helping to save the club, which at the time was in a state of financial ruin.
Tony Foot, Micah Hall, Barry & Mark Dewing and the late Ken Malley met at The Lady Hamilton, which has a great view of the resting HMS Warrior outside the Historic Dockyard across the street, with plans to set up a trust with the club’s future within their best interests.
At the time the club were overcoming the loss of ownership under Dubai businessman Sulaiman Al Fahim, who jumped ship at Fratton Park after an ill-fated tenure of just six weeks in charge of Pompey.
The Blues did seem to find hope soon after however, when 40 days later on October 5th 2009, Saudi-based businessman Ali al-Faraj purchased a 90% stake in Portsmouth FC and thus became the majority shareholder.
It was clear at the time to the group of five, as well as the many fans at home who were watching the events unfold, that the ongoing unrest and constant change of ownership could only lead to trouble in the future.
How right they were too, following relegations from the Premier League all the way down to League Two, the Supporters Trust acted as the club’s final saviour and last hope.
After tense high court battles occuring during the multiple administrations and threats of liquidation, the PST finally completed their £2.3million takeover of their club and Pompey became fan-owned in April 2013.
Since the trust gained full control and were also handed the keys to the stadium, the relegations came to a halt and stability was gradually found both on and off the pitch – Pompey were promoted as champions of League Two in 2017 in what would be the PST’s final season at the helm.
The club are now controlled by former Disney mogul Michael Eisner and his Tornante Company – who were voted in by trust members, shareholders and fans following sensible pitches and meetings in May 2017.
With the new investment under trustworthy owners with impressive CVs, Portsmouth Football Club appear to be back on the rise – they now top League One and the fans are delighted.
We went along to Fratton Park on Tuesday ahead of the 2-2 draw against Burton Albion, where we spoke to ex-player Ray Crawford, as well as two loyal supporters to gain an understanding of their knowledge of the events that have occured at the club over the past decade.
You can watch that clip in this embedded YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JTJnkRsABj8&t=2s