MPs will call on government body to boost trust bid for Pompey

PORTSMOUTH MPs are to make a new approach to Sport England over funding to save Pompey.

Penny Mordaunt, Mike Hancock and Caroline Dinenage will send a letter to the government body seeking either a loan or a grant to boost the Pompey Supporters’ Trust’s takeover bid.

The decision was made at a meeting held by The News last night, just days after the trust launched its community share scheme.

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The initiative invites fans to register their interest in a future share offer to buy the club by pledging an initial deposit of £100 before acquiring a share for £1,000.

MP for Portsmouth South Mr Hancock said MPs had previously sought financial help from Sport England to ease the club’s plight but are willing to return to support the trust’s bid.

He said at the meeting: ‘We are asking for a bridging loan or a grant. I’m not sure Sport England is in a position to give a grant for a business but a community trust might be something it considers.’

Ms Mordaunt, MP for Portsmouth North, said she will contact the cabinet office to gauge support using a ‘big society’ approach.

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Portsmouth City Council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson said: ‘If this is going to be the way which football has to evolve then it has to start somewhere and Sport England should be looking at using this as a good example but it will be down to ministerial direction.’

The letter will ask Sport England to meet the MPs on April 16.

The supporters’ trust was represented by Mick Williams, Mark Trapani and Dan Fearnley.

With politicians, they discussed idea of bidding for a slice of the £12m Growing Places fund through the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership to help their cause.

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It’s used to fund the creation of new jobs and homes in the region, and is awarded on a loans basis, which is held accountable for by a public sector organisation.

Mr Williams added administrator Trevor Birch believes the club’s money runs out between the middle and the end of May.

He said interest in the takeover scheme had been encouraging, and stressed fans would only lose out on £2.50 – due to a 2.5 per cent handling fee – if the scheme fails.

Trust spokesman Scott Mclachlan earlier confirmed hundreds of people had pledged their support for the scheme so far.

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Portsmouth MPs Mike Hancock, Penny Mordaunt and Caroline Dinenage will co-sign a letter to Jeremy Hunt MP, Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, asking if he could get involved in securing a grant or a loan from Sport England to boost the supporters’ trust bid.

They will suggest holding a meeting between the MPs and Mr Hunt on April 16.

Ms Dinenange said: ‘We need to try and bring the secretary of state into it to do absolutely everything we can to look to attract any funding or loan.’