The Meeting kicked off at 7.30pm (not 7.00 as advertised) in a freezing cold marquee with plenty of ice cold drinks, but no hot ones…… Did have some nice curry on sale though!
Anyway, on the top table we had Peter Storrie and Paul Hart and they were accompanied by some ex Pompey Players: Ray Crawford, Freddy Evans, Bill Aubey, Pat Neill, John Milkins, Colin Sullivan and Ray Hiron. There was a 3/4 size replica of the FA Cup (which we get to keep) and the Asia Trophy on display and people were able to have their photo taken with them.
Peter Storrie began by telling us some stories about the FA Cup day. The team apparently had a Karaoke night on the Thursday before the match and Utaka and Kanu did a duet singing a Bob Marley song. Herman then did an Elvis impersonation. Apparently, he was dreadful, but his wife had bought him the suit for Christmas and he really looked the part. The professional entertaining was done by Kenny Lynch and a good time was had by all.
Youth Development. Paul Hart said this was making good progress and the 8 – 16 year olds were coming on well. He said they had two 16 year olds at the moment, who, if they worked hard, would do very well indeed.
Storrie was asked about the difficulty in attracting new players to the club. Given all the stories in the Press about the knock backs we have had, he surprisingly said that we had got most of the players we went after, and said only one or two had got away.
Hart was asked if he planned new players for the summer. He was a little uncomfortable answering this (obviously) but did say that he had one or two ideas, although he was taking things one game at a time at the moment. He also thought that the way the team were playing at the moment, we would be OK. (?????)
Storrie, when asked about the funding for the Stadium re-vamp, said that 70% of the funding would come from a superstore to be built, and the rest would be borrowed by PFC. He said the cost would be £22 mil. The north stand would be completed between November and May and then the pitch would be turned between May and August and then work would start on the East Stand. (I didn’t hear the rest, but he did seem to have a timetable). He said that we would accommodate 25,000 the first season and then 30,000 the following year. I assumed he was talking about this year for a start date, but perhaps I got the wrong end of the stick. He stressed that we had absolutely no money whatsoever and that the whole thing must be self funding. He said the last six months had been a nightmare. He told us that he had spoken to plenty of people with a good football tale to tell, but none of them had shown him the colour of their money. He said Vega has wanted Sacha to sell him the club for £1.00 and even then, was unwilling to take on certain of the debts. He said that he could foresee that all the players would have had to be sold 1 year down the line. He also told us that the club had a 50mil wage bill and that the current gate money could not sustain it.
Someone asked Paul Hart if it was true what they were reading about Gekas. He said yes, it was. The Player had refused to play in a reserve game and so Hart could not assess him. He said that TA had bought Gekas from a video and so no-one had actually seen him play. He has only played 2 hours and 50 mins this season for his last team and all of that was as a sub.
Peter was asked where all the ambition for the club had gone. He said this was down to finances – or lack of it. Sacha had told him last November that he was selling and that there would be no more money forthcoming. Peter said they needed 12mil in January and so had to sell two players to meet the debt and buy new players. He said if we did not have a new Owner by the summer we would not be buying any £10-15mil players for the team.
Paul Hart was asked if we could play more attacking football? He said that the system had been changed to suit the players he had. The players had been uncomfortable with the system they had been playing under TA. When someone pointed out the late goals we were conceding, his answer was that we had been conceding late goals all season.
Re: Training Ground. We have only just had Badger clearance and we are now actually talking to the Contractors. He said work should (hopefully) begin within 6-8 weeks.
When asked about a blue white and red strip, Peter said that the next season’s strip was to be blue white and red, as far as he was aware.
Regarding potential buyers, Peter said there were one or two around but they had not yet come to the table. He said it was a very difficult time financially for everyone. It was at this juncture that he mentioned Vega and his £1.00 deal.
Unfortunately, because the meeting started half an hour late, I had to leave and so cannot tell you any more.
Written by Gandor.
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