POMPEY Supporters Trust have responded following The News’ exclusive interview with prospective owner American billionaire Michael Eisner.
The trust have said in a statement this afternoon that it has ‘issues’ relating to the preservation of the club’s heritage but that it will respect the need for confidentiality regarding the negotiations.
Mr Eisner revealed in the interview that he was aiming to take Pompey back to the heights of the Premier League, that there will be no leveraged debt in his bid and that there will be no fan representation on the board, with a heritage board created instead.
The statement read: ‘Following Michael Eisner’s interview in The News yesterday, outlining his vision for the club, our members have asked us to comment on our current position.
‘In any process such as this, confidentiality and trust are paramount, so the PST Board and the club have fully respected the request from Tornante for confidentiality around their bid for Portsmouth Football Club. Further public comment from anyone on specific details of any offer would therefore be inappropriate at this stage.
‘It is important to reiterate that the PST is a democratic organisation, owned and run by our members. It is not run for profit - but to promote the best interests of the club and the community it serves. Therefore, we must fully understand the terms of any offer before our members can decide whether it is acceptable.
‘This includes issues relating to the preservation of the club’s heritage and culture as well as the economic details of the bid.
‘There is still much to be understood in any ownership debate before it can be properly assessed. Once the full terms of any offer, economic and otherwise, are published and communicated, it is clearly for the PFC shareholders (48% of which are represented by the PST on behalf of its Community Shareholders) to decide whether to accept the bid.
‘In the view of the PST Board, the time may well be right for external investment in PFC. External investment (and potentially new ownership) should be properly considered, on merit according to certain key criteria.
‘Over the last two weeks we have consulted with our membership via a questionnaire. Over 2,200 people responded and we are clear that we have been representing their wishes in our discussions to date.
‘We proposed a timetable to Tornante (yesterday) for Mr Eisner to speak to our shareholders and provide more details of his bid yesterday and are currently waiting for feedback on this.’
Within the statement, a spokesperson for the trust said: ‘After many years of neglect and mismanagement from previous “wealthy owners” Portsmouth Football Club is debt free, doing well on and off the field, and is an attractive proposition for investment.
‘Supporter ownership has stabilised the club, and now the fans who own the club must decide whether the current takeover bid is right for the club.
‘We have invited Mr Eisner to meet our shareholders and outline his plans.
‘Given our recent history, we hope Mr Eisner and his team will understand and respect our need for transparency, detail, and clear legal commitments to protect the club.
‘Ultimately, it is for our fans, the people who saved the club and now own the club, to decide on its future but they can only make that decision on an informed basis.
‘We look forward to considering any detailed offer and welcome the continued dialogue.’