Portsmouth now debt-free following Supporters Trust takeover

Catlin hails debt-free Portsmouth

Portsmouth have announced they have now cleared all debts following the club's exit from administration in April 2013.

The Pompey Supporters' Trust has been in charge since striking a deal with former owner Balram Chainrai.

A club statement said they could now look "forwards not backwards, while still recognising that the rebuilding process will continue to be a difficult task in the years ahead".

Portsmouth have been in administration twice in the past five years.

The club came close to liquidation in 2013 before the Trust came together to take over.

Some 2,368 shareholders have between them raised about £2.5m through individual pledges of £1,000.

The PST owns just under 51% of the club, with a group of 13 presidents making up the remaining share.

Those presidents include Portsmouth chairman Iain McInnes and property developer Stuart Robinson.

Portsmouth chief executive Mark Catlin
"Obviously it's another milestone in the club's evolution and a great day and the culmination of a lot of hard work by a lot of people over the past 18 months since we came out administration."

Robinson himself owns land surrounding Fratton Park and plans have been approved for a supermarket behind the ground, a project that will finally mean the site is redeveloped and transformed.

Portsmouth's presidents have also injected £500,000 to help with ground improvements, which will take potential attendance to around 20,000.

"Everybody at the club has worked hard in reorganising our operations during the past 18 months and the legacy debts were a significant liability hanging over this ongoing process," the statement said.

A new training ground is due to open before the end of the year and the club statement added that it was part of a process of "putting in place foundations to enable the sustainable growth of all aspects of the club".

Portsmouth are eighth in League Two as they look to begin the process of climbing back up through the divisions, having been in the Premier League as recently as 2010.

And chief executive Mark Catlin paid tribute to the hard work of the staff, as well as the support from the fans, and warned there could be no repeat of the financial mismanagement of recent years.

"Obviously it's another milestone in the club's evolution, a great day and the culmination of a lot of hard work by a lot of people over the past 18 months since we came out administration," he told BBC South Today.

"It's the fans, staff and backroom staff who have got us here. The supporter base is key as they've given us financial clout,

"Operationally it makes a big difference and means we can build for the future, but what we can't do is take our eye off the ball."