League One Portsmouth To Become Biggest Supporter-Owned Club In England
League One side Portsmouth is "set to become the biggest supporter-owned club in England" after administrators Tuesday secured its home ground from former Owner Balram Chainrai, according to Ashling O'Connor of the LONDON TIMES. The Hong Kong-based businessman "agreed a settlement before a High Court judge could rule whether or not Portpin, his investment vehicle, should be forced to sell Fratton Park to the Portsmouth Supporters’ Trust." The out-of-court settlement includes the sale of the stadium for £3M ($4.6M), "which was the PST’s valuation, plus a six-figure sum to cover Portpin’s legal costs." There were "scenes of high emotion in Court 30 after multiple adjournments throughout the day while lawyers raced to complete the eleventh-hour agreement" before Justice Peter Smith began calling witnesses. The breakthrough finally came at just before 3:30pm, "ending months of legal wrangling." In response, the lights went out as Toby de Mellow, 23, a law student, fell back against the switch. He said, "It’s overwhelming. It’s finally at an end." As the judge departed to cheers, club Chair Ian McInnes "doled out generous bear hugs." He saved the biggest for Trevor Birch, the teary-eyed co-administrator, "promising him a week’s free holiday on his yacht in the Caribbean" (LONDON TIMES, 4/10).