Apart from the light relief of another FAC run that culminated in a never to be forgotten victory over Spurs in the semi-final and close to victory performance against mega rich Chelsea, 2010 had been all but doom and gloom.
Off it, the PST had struggled - united within, but subjected to pressure from fans particularly among the many diverse supporters groups each with its own view and opinion.
Of the many suspect suitors of the Club (mostly from the Middle East) as prospective owner(s) Al Fahim was probably the most memorable as far as PST was concerned. His arrival on the scene was sudden & spectacular.
He promised the moon, stars & salvation.
A meeting set up with the PST SG on the evening of a mid-week game soon dispelled any belief he was the real deal. Arriving in a what we suspected was a hired white Limousine complete with chauffeur and attendant retinue of impressively dressed Lawyers/Financial Advisors/Factotums he resembled Barry White minus the piano. His presentation of his vision was flamboyant, the reality less so. What gave it all away as far as I and a number of key PST personnel were concerned was his throwaway line at the end when he remarked that the PST could easily match by the end of June his own initial £5 million investment.
Here was a man who obviously hadn’t seen the picture and lived in a fantasy world. It later turned out that he was expecting the PST to invest in his own Trust creation with no guarantees of joint ownership or benefit. He didn’t last.
His £5m was soon swallowed. The Club soon officially became the personnel toy of Chanrai who then used a stooge by the name of Al Faraj, never seen or heard from but later rumoured to be either a minor clerk accountant or driver in the employ of Portpin
In late June under the guidance of Tony Foot, as the Acting Secretary, the PST held its First Election. A total of 14 candidates eventually stood for the previously agreed 10 positions 2 being left vacant for possible co-option under the rules. That number remains the highest to date such was the enthusiasm to get on the board and do something to help PST save the Club.
The complete list of all candidates is recorded for posterity along with the Minutes for the PST AGM of The successful candidates were Jo Collins, Barry Dewing, Mark Dugan, Ken Malley, Matt Partridge, Richard Sexton and Pam Wilkins all from the existing SG with new additions being Ashley Brown, Scott McLachlan and Brendon Bone.
The inaugural AGM (see Minutes for full details) then followed in September, on the 16th to be precise, at which those successful were introduced to a packed Rifle Club. With PST now officially up and running it remained only for the EB to sort out its Officers and delegate the various positions within.
This was dealt with at the PST 1st EB Meeting on the 15 October 2010. Up till now the Good Companion had accommodated the PST but was unable to offer a more private setting so a new venue, the Shearers Arms, was used which in time became among the board notorious in the winter months for its freezing cold meeting room. The minutes of that meeting give details of those elected, the various positions created and who held office. Tony Foot who had already done so much to make it all possible was duly appointed the PST Secretary.
As winter got a hold, the days shortened but it was not just the light that got darker quicker. Very soon the Club’s fortunes off and on the pitch dimmed further. Struggling to hold a place in the Championship with ongoing CVA issues, renewed battles with HMRC and creditors galore ovations from suspect prospective owners plus an inability to satisfy existing wage commitments gave PST Board plenty to focus on from the side-lines. At the same time trying to instil in the many and sometimes fractious supporters groups the need for common ground and more importantly unite in a common cause proved taxing. This was partly achieved by the creation of regular Supporters Clubs Group meetings held at Fratton Park.
A new owner seemed as far off as ever with the £25 million price tag attached plus administration debt was way beyond PST reach. The post-election period of 2010 and well into 2011 was largely taken up with PST looking at all sorts of ways of fund raising initiatives/membership drives and generally getting the house more in order form all aspects and angles. Talks with the newly installed Club CEO took place in the hope of engaging more with the Chanrai Ownership and also with the Administrator, but in truth with little success in term of PST being taken either seriously without it being able to make a substantial offer.
A New Year, New Dawn and promise of New Hope for all Pompey fans was about as good as it got.