Eisner: I’d be mighty stupid to separate Pompey’s home

The entrance to Fratton Park
The entrance to Fratton Park
Phil Brown. Picture: Sharon Lucey

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Michael Eisner insists he would be ‘mighty stupid’ to separate the asset of Fratton Park from Pompey.

And he has pledged the process which prompted a High Court showdown with Portpin four years ago is not on his agenda.

Michael Eisner, left, chatting to The News' chief sports writer, Neil Allen

Michael Eisner, left, chatting to The News' chief sports writer, Neil Allen

The Pompey Supporters’ Trust have raised several concerns over the Tornante investment group’s takeover proposals.

Arguably the biggest fear centres on potentially splitting the ground from the company which operates the club.

According to bid documentation released on Friday, the Trust have failed to obtain ‘assurances over any intentions’ of such an unthinkable outcome.

Eisner this afternoon met local press at Lainston House in Winchester ahead of tomorrow night’s meeting with Trust shareholders.

It would be mighty stupid to do it, I’d hope my children wouldn’t be that dumb

Michael Eisner

And the 75-year-old assured The News he would not be seeking to separate Fratton Park from the club he wishes to purchase.

He said: ‘There is no intention of separating the two and how this even came up I was surprised – then I learnt it came up because of previous owners.

‘I have never operated a company those owners did, I am amazed it can happen, it’s not Portsmouth’s fault that they allowed people like that.

‘Why would anybody who has any brains at all separate the stadium from the club? You will never sell it. It just makes no sense. So the question surprised me.

‘But I understand once you have been damaged by somebody the damage can be put against you.

‘I think the fans are right to worry about it, but I don’t think they should worry about me, I have a CV which proves it.

‘If this doesn’t work and in a few years they have to find somebody then that is a very good question – I would put that at the top of my list.

‘I am not going to separate the ground, but I am not going to agree that it will never be separated because I don’t know the future.

‘It would be mighty stupid to do it, I’d hope my children wouldn’t be that dumb.’

Despite his denial, Eisner admitted he requires ‘financial flexibility’ should he take control of Pompey.

And in the unforeseen future, that could well affect Fratton Park.

He added: ‘I was asked “Would you ever put debt onto a stadium and separate it from a club?”.

‘I said I don’t know. A lot of clubs all over the world do that, there are complicated financing in which you put on leverage to get stadiums built, there are all sorts of combinations of doing that.

‘I certainly cannot agree over the next 50 years there will be no sophisticated financing to keep the club going. I need financial flexibility.

‘But I can say I am not prepared to do it now, I am not prepared to move from Fratton Park, I am not prepared to do complicated finances, I don’t see any reason to put any debt on it.

‘I have the finances, I am just not prepared to lock it up for the future for my children and grandchildren.’