Date: 2nd November 2011 at 7:57pm
Written by:

Has it really been 5-months since PFC took over at Fratton?

Well, indeed it has and thanks to The Pompey Pages and a very rare check on Facebook – I do not often get on but with my birthday coming up I thought I would see what ‘treats’ awaited – a statement from CSI has been found…

This statement looks at what has happened at PFC since CSI took over, and what the future plans are:

November 1 marks five months since Convers Sports Initiatives (CSI) acquired Portsmouth Football Club (PFC). It is an appropriate point to look back at what has been achieved so far and what PFC and CSI hope to achieve together over the coming months and years.

After the takeover, the immediate priority was to strengthen the playing squad and this included the permanent signings of Luke Varney, Greg Halford, Erik Huseklepp, Jason Pearce, David Norris, Stephen Henderson and Benjani, who are all now key first team players. Only Leicester City had a higher net spend than PFC in the summer transfer window outside the Premier League. The average age of the playing squad has dramatically reduced since our arrival and working alongside David Lampitt and, in due course, the new manager, we will seek to ensure that team matters continue to progress. We are also investing in the future, and the club has made great strides in improving the Academy, in particular increasing the coaching resources available to our young players.

The facilities at PFC have been neglected for some time and we recognise the need to make some improvements. These changes started with the training ground, where we invested in enhancing the quality and size of our training pitch facilities.

You may also have noticed many enhancements around Fratton Park, which include moving the big screen, tidying up the surrounding areas of the pitch and improving corporate match day areas. Fans will be pleased to know that the Fratton End clock has been taken down for repair. We will soon install a new digital clock and scoreboard. Funds have been set aside for the improvement of many of the toilets and this work has now begun. Some of the changes have not been quite so visible but are equally important, with important improvement work to guttering as well as an overhaul of the heating and plumbing services to the team dressing rooms.

We have also re-floored the Victory Suite and added a partition to allow greater flexibility for usage on match and non-match days. This allowed a new Kidzone to be launched at the Doncaster game, which was a great way to engage with some of our fans of the future. We will continue to look for ways in which we can make the most of our space and create opportunities to enhance the club`s commercial activity.

Off the pitch, we have seen very strong retention of our commercial partners and a number of new partnerships being created. This reflects the continuing strength of the PFC brand. We have also seen 10 additional sponsorship partners for PFC introduced from the CSI group. We are delighted with the appointment of the new Commercial Director, Nick Byrom, who we know will continue to improve all the commercial and matchday operations at the club.

We inherited a ticket pricing structure for the 2011/2012 season from the previous ownership but, working together with the staff at PFC, have introduced a number of ticket initiatives, including ‘Four for £44’ and the ‘Super Six’ promotion, which have both proved immensely popular.

We also inherited a number of other legacy issues that the management team have continued to work on over the last five months. This has meant that certain long running disputes, such as those with Tal Ben Haim and Tottenham Hotspur (regarding the Begovic matter) have now been successfully resolved ensuring the club’s position is protected. Of course we recognised that there would always be certain difficult matters to deal with when taking over a company recently out of financial distress, but we are pleased that the legacy issues are being dealt with effectively.

A charity game against FC Rostov was held at Fratton Park to raise money for the families of the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl ice hockey team who tragically lost their lives in an air crash. The event raised £15,000 for charity and we would like to thank everyone who attended or donated.

There are number of key priorities for both CSI and PFC over the next few months, not least to start climbing the league. We hope that the appointment of a new manager will provide the base from which we can get our season back on track, and we should thank Guy Whittingham and Stuart Gray for holding the fort during the selection process.

Away from the pitch we will be investing further in the commercial side of the business. We are soon to launch a new-look website and a matchday programme app that we hope will prove popular with fans.

We are only five months into our ownership of Portsmouth Football Club and are certainly looking to the future with optimism. We will soon have our five-year strategy in place, which involves improvements across all areas of the club’s business and infrastructure, from our footballing facilities to our approach to customer service. We’re not going to make any grand statements about the ground, but we recognise the fact that the development of a more modern stadium has to be part of a successful future for the club. In the first instance this means engaging with Mr Gaydamak in relation to the land surrounding Fratton Park and that process is already under way.

There is much to do, and a lot of hard work ahead, but every decision we make will be carefully considered, with the future success and stability of this great club being our number one priority.

Finally, CSI and PFC would like to thank the fans for their continued and unwavering support.

Five months at PFC – here.

So, all that is needed now is to know who will be the manager to lead us into this future!

Whoever it is, and whatever happens I think that pompeym@ has made a good point, posting this in the forum earlier today: ‘ironically I think I would accept him more if he (Sean O’Driscoll) is proved to be the 2nd, 3rd or 4th choice to be honest.

Why I hear you ask, well simply because it means CSI did aim higher and proves they do have ambition but as well as that common sense, they didn’t say sod it we’ll think about the costs later like a lot of owners would.

And when it all comes down to it I think thats all most of us want from the owners isn’t it? Stability, common sense and ambition.’


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