Expert Group launched at Fratton Park
Sports Minister Helen Grant has praised Portsmouth Football Club after she was at Fratton Park to launch an Expert Group to explore ways of reducing barriers to supporter ownership and engagement.
During the visit, in which she met club staff and management, she heard how the club has transformed its finances and engagement with supporters since a successful community buy-out in April 2013.
The bid was led by the Pompey Supporters’ Trust and its chairman Ashley Brown, who is also a club director, has been invited to join the Expert Group to share the club’s experiences.
Helen said: “It was fantastic to come to Pompey and hear more about the history of this great club and the fans’ incredible dedication and hard work in saving it.
“Supporters are the lifeblood of the club they follow and I was delighted to launch our Supporter Ownership and Engagement expert group at Portsmouth.
“I know that Ashley Brown will make a valuable contribution to the group’s important work. During my visit it was also great to see the work of Pompey in the Community and the positive impact it has on children from the city.”
“It is an endorsement of all the good work the staff, board, presidents, PST and, above all else, fans have put in over the past 18 months to turn things around.
Pompey chief executive Mark Catlin said: “We were very proud when we were told the minister wanted to launch this Expert Group at Fratton Park.
“It may work well at Pompey, but other clubs have different models that also work well for them.
“We feel we have a good story to tell about its benefits, but clearly there is no one-size-fits-all solution
“As an inclusive club we welcome the fact that fan ownership and engagement seems to be high on the political agenda.
“We hope any conclusions the Expert Group come up with can have broad consent across the football authorities, owners, and supporters’ group stakeholders.” Helen visited the Pompey Study Centre to see its work as well as meeting Catlin, chairman Iain McInnes, manager Andy Awford and a group of supporters.