‘I think the club came very close to liquidation, on a number of occasions.’
For Iain McInnes, the reality of Pompey’s situation can never be over dramatised.
Yesterday, in the Montgomery Lounge at Fratton Park, the Blues’ new set-up was unveiled.
Permanent manager Guy Whittingham was flanked by the majority of the club’s newly-appointed seven-man board.
Heading the board is McInnes, the new Pompey chairman who grew up in Paulsgrove and earned his money in the electronics business.
He is one of four individuals who, between them, put in money to plug losses for five months since October, making them liable for £1.2m and preventing administrator Trevor Birch being forced to liquidate the club.
It kept Pompey afloat long enough to help step up their own bid to seize ownership as Portpin’s efforts began to flail.
Today there are 11 presidents (high net-worth individuals) – including that quartet – who have put in £1.6m between them.
That currently accounts for 45.7 per cent of the ownership, with the Pompey Supporters’ Trust’s £1.9m tallying 54.3 per cent.
The 11 presidents have signed shareholders’ agreements with each other and the club that no dividends will be paid.
The Trust have also penned the same agreement which means nobody can take money out of the club.
And for McInnes, putting money in from the end of last year saved Pompey from death.
He said: ‘There were lots of different times when the club could have gone.
‘In fairness, it was probably the right thing to have done at those points in time.
‘There was a time where the (secured) creditors in general and their money started to become eroded. There were several points that had been reached and if it wasn’t for a top-up, with us putting money in, the liquidator would have had no choice.
‘We would have lost £1.2m between us, the four of us, if it had been liquidated.
‘(Administrator) Trevor Birch couldn’t carry on and once we let him down a little bit with the court case in December, he said “I can’t run this club on and give you a chance of buying it unless I am funded because I can’t run at a loss”.
‘So we had to fund those losses for three or four months.
‘The closest was the first day after the failed first court case.
‘Trevor didn’t want to liquidate because he was still wanting to sell the club as a going concern, so us guys had to put money in to make sure it could survive until such time we could do the deal.
‘We thought we were saving it, we thought it was going out of business and that is why we came in.’
Following acquisition of the club, those who kept it running in its time of need, including McInnes, have received shares in recognition of their investment.
All money donated by fans to the Trust since the end of last year had previously been kept in an Escrow account, unable to be touched until the Escrow condition had been fulfilled.
That condition was met following completion of ownership on Friday night.
Now those full pledges have been used to buy club shares in the name of the Trust, with money continuing to pour in.
Yesterday, lawyers Verisona reported receiving 46 new pledges alone from 9am until 5pm.
There still remain 600 people who have yet to honour their original pledges.
Still, it was a day which earlier saw the board unveiled, with Verisona director Mike Dyer and Trust trio Ashley Brown, Mick Williams and Mark Trapani among them. Chris Moth and John Kirk, who couldn’t be present, make up the line-up which will head the club.
And McInnes was quick to stress nobody will be making money out of the Blues any more.
He added: ‘I would be very happy for someone from The News to go into Mike Dyer’s office and read through the shareholders’ agreement and at least be able to confirm the fact it is the case we can’t take money out. It’s wrong. This club can’t afford to make profit out of it.’