Potential buyer still interested in Portsmouth

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The Independent Football

New Zealand businessman Victor Cattermole claims his Endeavor Plan consortium are still interested in buying Portsmouth.

The south coast club went into administration last week after they were unable to agree a deal with any of four interested parties, with the Premier League due to imminently ratify the resulting nine-point deduction.

But Cattermole told Sky Sports News: "We are still interested in buying Portsmouth.

"We still have to carry out due diligence and see what is owed, what is expected to be paid for it and what the value's going to be once the whole issue of relegation and the nine-point issue is sorted out."

The reason given for the lack of a sale last week was that none of the parties in talks had provided the club's chief executive Peter Storrie and current owner Balram Chainrai with proof that funds were in place.

That ruled out the prospect of a deal being completed before a winding-up hearing scheduled for today, but Cattermole said: "We provided evidence of an offer for a bank facility of 200million euros last Tuesday to Peter Storrie.

"That was obviously not disclosed to any of the media.

"We also wrote to them advising that we were strongly opposed to administration but they had a path they were and it didn't matter what we said, that wasn't going to change.

"We wouldn't have bought it - administration was unfortunately inevitable because we couldn't have carried out due diligence and negotiated prior to the liquidation hearing.

"Sadly administration was the only option and the revenue department, as late as Friday morning, were adamant that there was nothing that could be negotiated with anyone that would stop them taking their action.

"So unfortunately, because of that, administration was really the only option to save the club."

The points deduction would make relegation, already the likeliest outcome for Pompey this season, a virtual certainty and would have a knock-on effect on the value of the club.

Cattermole admits demotion would affect the club's revenue, but pointed to the resurrection of the failed Honda Formula One team - which he was also considering a bid for - as evidence of what can be achieved.

The team was taken over by Ross Brawn and saw Jenson Button steer them to both the drivers' and constructors' titles last season.

Cattermole continued: "Obviously if the club gets relegated then a lot of the income in the next seasons is compromised. The club has to be cheaper because it's been devalued.

"We'll just look at it as a business that's effectively a going concern and we'll make a decision on value based on what we see and what we can negotiate.

"We looked at buying the Honda Formula One team and people said the same about that, 'why would you want to buy a team that's basically insolvent?'.

"But when you look at what Ross did with that team it looks like quite an astute business decision.

"Portsmouth has the same potential. I think it has a very loyal fanbase that has the potential to be expanded, and when you analyse the business income and you really read through what the debt situation is, it's probably not that bad compared with a lot of other clubs."

Cattermole's reported criminal record could affect his chances of passing the Premier League's fit and proper persons test.

And, though he is planning legal action over certain allegation in the press in his homeland, he did acknowledge that the New Zealand Securities Commission have been moved to investigate some of his investment schemes.

"(Regarding) the media information that was put out in New Zealand, my solicitors here are putting together a defamation case against a particular newspaper so I deny emphatically some of their allegations," he said.

"Some of them, though, with respect to my run-in with the Securities Commission in New Zealand, are quite true. I've always been very open and honest and prepared to take the knocks, if I've done something wrong I'll front up and I'm quite happy to talk about it

"But certain things that have been put in the media about me are just lies from the gutter press."

Cattermole is hopeful a deal can be completed in the near future and revealed: "My solicitor in London has been in discussions with Andrew (Andronikou), the administrator as recently as (this morning).

"Once Andrew's got his head around all the administration issues and can put a (pack) together of what is really the situation I'll be heading up to London and we'll be sitting round the table to see if we can put a deal together

"I think (the chance of a deal) is quite good because I really don't think the situation is as bad as people would think. Once we've worked through the £50million of previous owners' liabilities and we see whether they are sustainable or not, because I have my own opinion on that, then we're probably dealing with quite an affordable business."