McInnes backs new man at Pompey helm to succeed

Michael Eisner. Picture: Neil Marshall
Michael Eisner. Picture: Neil Marshall

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IAIN McINNES handed the Pompey baton to Michael Eisner – and backed the new owner to succeed.

Shareholders today approved the £5.67m bid from the Tornante investment group to take over the League One club.

In total, 81.4 per cent of the club’s equity holding agreed to the sale, exceeding the required amount of 75 per cent.

There was a 93.6 per cent turnout among Pompey Supporters’ Trust shareholders, while the club’s 16 presidents also registered their vote.

Tornante will now strive to complete within a timeframewhich could span 6-8 weeks.

For outgoing chairman McInnes, it signifies the end of community ownership after four years.

And he has been impressed by Eisner and his team.

He said: ‘I’ve met Michael a few times one-to-one and have that gut feeling he will do well. He’s a likeable guy who is pretty down to earth.

‘If he has a great deal of involvement, we will definitely see this passionate go-getting presence.

‘We will have to wait and see now, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, as they say.

‘We must see how Tornante as a management company and the executive at this end marry together and whether those plans are influenced along the way, either positively or negatively.

‘Taking over any business comes with its problems, taking over a football club comes with 18,000 fans who have bated breath about what happens.

‘But Michael’s a good guy with a great track record.

‘He has exposed himself as much as he possibly could have done to interrogation from people who have voiced their opinion and any questions they had. I guess that doesn’t happen at too many clubs before we arrived.

‘I’ve probably spoken to Michael more than anyone else. I’ve met Andy Redman (Tornante president), who looks like a go-getter, while the Eisner family seem decent people.

‘I’m optimistic – you have to be optimistic because this is a great club.’

It was on April 10, 2013, when the supporters saved the Blues from liquidation.

Now fan ownership is reverting to another caretaker of the club.

McInnes added: ‘Our motivations were simple – to save the football club.

‘That saving has now moved into a new era of it being purchased by a world-famous entrepreneur.

‘When we came in, 18 to 20 per cent of people still wanted Chainrai to come back – and we are the good guys!

‘Michael is a different class, but we are not setting the bar too high!

‘I met Balram Chainrai face to face, I spoke to Levi Kushnir on the phone.

‘But this is not apples for apples. This is a bona fide businessman with a successful track record and no reason at all to want that tainted.’