Greetings, fellow football club owners and other readers, writes Steve Bone.
Once you own a share in a football club, you have to make the most of it and remind non-shareholders about it as often as possible, I find.
Someone asked me the other evening what rights and benefits there were to being a shareholder in the Pompey Supporters’ Trust. I had to confess I didn’t have a clue.
At the moment I own only a 10th of a £1,000 stake, though I hope to add to that when my bank manager says I can.
So I’m not a full shareholder. But even if I were, I’m not sure I’d know exactly what it involved.
In fairness to the PST, they’ve not been able to say too much about their hopes, dreams and plans all the time their bid has been a mere bid.
But after their purchase is complete (plus the 14 days to change their minds and take it back!), I’d expect all sorts of questions to be asked and answered about the mechanics of how their ownership will work.
And if you think some have been naive in pledging £1,000, or perhaps more, without knowing this sort of detail, all I can say is those pledges were – in most or all cases – made to save our club for now and the long-term, rather than for any personal desire for power or control.
I’d guess the vast majority of Pompey fans who have put their money where their mouth is don’t really see the PST as a body they want to play an active part in.
For many, it’ll be a case of ‘I’ve paid my £1,000 for a share, I don’t want it back, I can’t afford to put much more in, but I’ll keep on buying a season ticket each year and supporting the Blues however I can’.
Others will want more involvement and that’s good, because the handful of individuals who have got the PST where they are today can’t go on carrying the burden by themselves from now ’til goodness-knows-when.
A recurring theme of this saga has been the people on the outside saying ‘Fans can’t own a Football League club’.
It’s only 10 months since Trevor Birch, asked about the PST interest at a creditors’ meeting, suggested it would come into play only if the club had to be liquidated and start again.
That was his genuine belief at the time and I imagine he was delighted to be shown last week to have underestimated that initial interest.
But still the critics can be heard. ‘It’ll never last,’ they say. ‘You can’t run a football club at a decent level on fans’ money alone.’ ‘It’ll end in tears.’
Well, we’ll see, shall we? What the PST have bought is a business that has had 12,000 people willing to shell out £20 a fortnight or £300-plus a year during the toughest of times.
The number willing to pay their hard-earned money to watch Pompey is only going to increase now past regimes have disappeared – as this Saturday’s attendance figure will confirm.
That’s not a bad little income.
They said it couldn’t be done. So far, we’ve proved them wrong. And I’ve a feeling the continuing effort to silence the doubters is going to be rather fun. League Two – are you ready for us?
@stevebone1 on Twitter