Eisner: The £10m won’t go far - but I’m at Pompey for long haul

Former Disney CEO Michael Eisner
Former Disney CEO Michael Eisner
Pompey striker Oli Hawkins has been operating as a makeshift centre-back. Picture: Joe Pepler

Hawkins stirs Pompey memories of England man

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MICHAEL EISNER believes the £10m he plans to sink into Pompey will soon be swallowed up.

But the American billionaire promised Blues fans he’s ‘in it for the long haul’ as his bid to assume control continues.

Eisner will tonight speak to shareholders ahead of their vote over his proposed £5.67m takeover.

The former Walt Disney chief executive is also planning to inject £10m in equity into the club.

A lack of timescale for when that would take place was highlighted in the information sent to Pompey Supporters’ Trust (PST) members.

The PST also stated they were requesting assurances over the levels of future investment.

Eisner moved to quell any fears there as he made it clear he feels he will soon need to dip into his pocket again following his initial commitment.

The executive statement to shareholders highlighted £5m was needed over five years to maintain Fratton Park’s safety.

An anticipated loss is expected in League One next season, while Eisner is valuing Academy improvements highly.

With his plans, the American feels that initial investment won’t go far – and is needed now.

He said: ‘We know from outside the acquisition which doesn’t count, there will be at least £5m needed to be spent on safety.

‘Hopefully it will not be more than (that figure), but that’s safety alone.

‘We’re in League One next year. Even under Mark Catlin’s scenario, that’s a loss every year. Forget what the loss will be in the Championship.

‘We have to improve the Academy. We have to have more home-grown players.

‘With all of these things, I’m afraid that £10m will be gone too quick. I hope not, but I’m afraid that will be so.’

The prospect of sinking further capital into Pompey is not something Eisner is fearing, as he outlined a desire to carry the club forward if the takeover is given the green light.

The 75-year-old is currently in the area with his New York-based son, Eric, who has watched four games at Fratton Park this season.

Eisner underlined his takeover bid is not something carried out on a whim.

He added: ‘I’m not walking away after that (initial investment). I’m not throwing in £10m and the £5.5m or so and then saying I’ve had a nice visit to the south coast.

‘I’m not going to say I’ve learnt a lot and met nice people, but so be it.

‘No, I’m not going to do that – I’m in it for the long haul.’

– JORDAN CROSS