COMMENT: A first encounter with prospective Pompey owner

Conor Chaplin. Pic: Joe Pepler

Baker and team selection to fore as Pompey fans have say

10
Have your say

A little over four years earlier, a city celebrated after its residents seized control of their football club.

Now the prospective owner was delivering his ambitions from the setting of a midtown Manhattan hotel.

Times could be changing at Fratton Park as once more potential overseas investment is under consideration.

Negotiations continue for a deal which would see the club taken out of hands of Pompey fans and delivered to Michael Eisner.

In the meantime, the American billionaire stepped forward to reveal his ambitions for that prized asset the fans fought so hard to resuscitate.

Eisner opted to deliver his first interview on his continued interest through an exclusive with The News.

The 75-year-old didn’t care to communicate to supporters through national newspaper or international channels. He had no interest in impressing a world-wide audience.

Hopefully gone are the days when an owner announces his new Pompey ground intentions through a London hotel press conference hosted by Jim Rosenthal.

Conducting the interview through Skype yesterday afternoon, Eisner was confident, knowledgeable and forthcoming on every issue thrown his way.

His background ensures he is well-acquainted with such scrutiny and breezed through the conversation with an impressive openness.

Having spent five minutes answering the opening question, Eisner remained talkative throughout, the topics unrestricted and never cut short.

It was an interview which spanned an hour – and ended once questions were exhausted rather than his desire to depart.

Crucially, he insisted there would be no leveraged debt, while, encouragingly for some, is targeting the Premier League.

However, the overriding issue for many rests with his proposal for no fan representation on the club board. Instead he will create a heritage board.

There was also a commitment to remain at Fratton Park and carry out vital safety work. Yet stopped short of ratifying intentions to build new stands.

A fascinating first encounter – but Eisner’s big interview will be that he carries out with Pompey’s shareholders.