Pompey fans will ensure right decision for club

Pompey fans will decide who owns the club. Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey fans will decide who owns the club. Picture: Joe Pepler
Stuart O'Keefe. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey midfielder will relish facing former club

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Hello. My name is Ben Sturt, I am 18 years old and this is my Sports Mail column...

After much focus regarding on the pitch matters at Pompey recently, the interest in the club from former Disney chairman Michael Eisner has sparked a fascinating debate.

The talk has been all about how far the current ownership model will take our club.

One thing is for sure, and that is the next step needs to be taken with extreme caution, but also with a sense of realism.

And that reality is Pompey need investment.

Whether Michael Eisner is the right man to take our great club forward is a question that will be answered by the fans, which is the key aspect of this potential deal.

It is also different to previous takeover situations that have led Pompey down a dark path, with fans having no say at all.

Put quite simply, we, the fans of this club, and more specifically the Pompey Supporters Trust members, will be the guardians of Pompey’s next move.

The debate that is to come between the thousands of Pompey fans is one we deserve, and have earned.

Maybe, above all, the greatest blessing of fan ownership will be the fact it is down to us to decide who the baton is passed onto.

Before scrutinising the interest of Eisner, it is important to not only express our gratitude to those running our club up to this point, but also to underline how successful the past few years at Pompey have been.

Firstly, the club was saved from extinction, then Pompey were declared debt free, and significant investment has gone into Pompey’s training ground as well as the Academy.

As well as this, there are visible improvements around Fratton Park, and the Blues are competing at the top end of League Two.

Attendances average over 16,000, the highest the gates have been since relegation from the Premier League.

Pompey have gone from the joke of the Football League to the shining example of fan ownership.

Our model gives hope to fans of clubs who are struggling with matters off the field - the most recent example being Leyton Orient.

We should be proud of the steady ship Pompey now is.

However, I believe the time is right to take on significant investment to move the club forward.

In my opinion, Pompey fans deserve to see their club higher up the Football League, while the club needs a bigger ground and it will take a lot of money to fix up Fratton Park.

I suppose that sets out my stall pretty clearly – Mr Eisner, we are interested.

However, the pain of the past will weigh heavily on my mind as we find out more about this takeover.

It would be naive to give away the security of fan ownership just for a half right deal.

But there lies the beauty in this, the decision is down to the fans and the people running the club, who I trust to make the right call for Pompey’s long-term future.

The deal will be right because we will make sure it is.

Let’s not get carried away, let’s assess the facts, and then decide how we can best meet the aspirations of the club.

In the meantime, it is crucial to get behind Paul Cook and the team as we seek promotion.

We have every right to be positive about these developments.

We are on our way, and it’s all because of us, the fans.