Harris makes new Pompey offer

BY foxsports • February 18, 2013

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert is preparing his team for a dozen crucial games in the Premier League run in.

Villa climbed out of the bottom three following a home win over West Ham eight days ago and the squad has started preparations for this weekend's clash at Arsenal after a rare break last week.

Lambert knows Villa could be in a much healthier position had they not allowed points to slip away against Manchester United, West Brom and Everton, but the Scot insists he is not dwelling on past results.

"We lost two-goal leads against Manchester United, West Brom and Everton. It's tough when that happens because those points could have made a major difference," Lambert said.

"But it's happened and you just have to keep going. There's no point in looking back and thinking 'we should have got points here and there'.

"From now on in it's 12 cup finals and that's the way we have to view it. We have to be ready for it and win more times than not."

And Lambert has sensed the determination amongst his young squad to win the battle to remain in the top flight.

"The feeling to try to win is there. When you get knocked and knocked at every opportunity - you have to take the game by the scruff of the neck and influence it," Lambert added.

"The last few games we have thought 'we'll have some of this'. You can't go out and play football like it's a hobby.

"It's your job to win. The confidence is high at the moment."

Lambert is hoping winger Charles N'Zogbia (knee) and striker Gabriel Agbonlahor (illness) will be available to face the Gunners after the elongated spell without a game.

Harris' offer, made public on Monday, comes after Portsmouth's administrators PKF confirmed earlier this month they were considering a bid he was fronting.

The Football League responded then by announcing the club would be expelled from the Football League if the Pompey Supporters' Trust - PKF's preferred bidder - was not successful.

However, the Harris-led bid have announced 15 per cent of the shares in the club will be allocated free to a group made up of supporters who have donated funds to PST, season-ticket holders and hospitality clients.

It is also proposed that a fans' representative will be elected to the board following any takeover.

Season-ticket holders, meanwhile, will receive a 10 per cent discount on season tickets for the next three seasons starting with season 2013/14.

A statement on behalf of the Harris-fronted bid read: "The offer is not subject to any due diligence, as it has all been fully completed.

"Funds to complete the purchase are ready to be transferred to a UK solicitors' bank account and therefore ready for immediate release, subject only to the consent of The Football League.

"Negotiations to purchase the Club from the administrators and a payment plan to satisfy the PFA have now been completed and the agreements are ready for signature.

"Our bid has the full support of the creditors' committee including HMRC and the PFA as it gives a much greater return to creditors than the PST proposal. It also complies fully with the terms of the CVA.

"The option to acquire the stadium from the current owners is in an agreed form and will be completed immediately following the takeover. We recognise that this is pivotal to placing the club on a secure future footing in the wider community.

"The only outstanding issue remains the consent of The Football League, and all paperwork in that regard including the business plan, and stadium lease and purchase, are available for immediate consideration by the Board of The Football League."

In order to assuage "a number of ill-informed comments" Harris also insisted his bid involved only him and two co-investors, Pascal Najadi and Alan Hitchins, and was independent of any other interested party.

He said: "From the outset of our bid being announced on 7 February, we have sought to involve all supporters in our plans, and this includes any supporters involved with the PST proposal.

"We therefore felt we should take this opportunity to explain that our offer involves giving the fans a real stake in the future of the club, and we would be delighted to explain the full detail of our plans with any of the club's supporter groups - whether based in the UK or overseas.

"We believe this provides the best combined opportunity for the fans, for HMRC, for other creditors, and will, most importantly, put the club on a secure financial footing after a number of turbulent years - and enable us all, together, to build for the future."

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