'˜I only want to do this if the majority of fans back me...'
MICHAEL Eisner has unveiled his Pompey vision to the supporters who saved the football club.
Now those shareholders must decide whether he should be installed as the Blues’ new owner.
Around 1,200 fans turned up at the Portsmouth Guildhall to hear the Tornante investment group’s takeover proposals.
Eisner spent 90 minutes attempting to convince those present to accept his £5.67m bid for the club.
Meanwhile, Pompey Supporters’ Trust chairman Ashley Brown called on fans to make an ‘informed decision’ in his attempts to persuade voters to extend their four-year running of the club.
Yet it was the opportunity to meet Eisner which was the chief draw at an often passionate meeting, with boos and slow clapping on occasions for some of the audience asking questions.
Flanking Eisner on a four-man panel were sons Breck Eisner and Eric Eisner, with Tornante’s president Andy Redman completing the line-up who took questions from the floor.
They were handed a standing ovation at the end of their allotted time before attention turned to the Pompey Supporters’ Trust address on their alternative plans.
And Eisner made a strong argument for Trust shareholders to put their faith in his Pompey plans.
Eisner said: ‘I want to make it clear to you that whether or not I do make this investment, Pompey belongs to you. Just like Disney belongs to the public.
‘Portsmouth is home to a bright future thanks to what you have done. Without the PST it would not exist today. You took to the field and opened your wallets.
‘I could be the right man to head the ball into the right direction. I would take stewardship of this club very seriously and hope to earn your trust.
‘The thing I wouldn’t do is Americanise Pompey, that would be plain dumb. If we got into the Premier League we want to keep everything that makes this club and this city special.
‘Armed with our moral compass, we play to win whether it is the Golden Globes, Academy Awards, World Series or the Premier League title, winning feels good and sure is fun.
‘We are not going to change the offer, we are not going to come back if you reject it.
‘The offer is for the generosity and transparency going forward.
‘It is a daunting exercise for us and I understand it is difficult for you to give up control.
‘I only want to do this – and I mean this – if the majority of people in this city don’t want us.
‘I don’t want to go into this situation with contention – and if that is the thought I will be unhappy because it’s the wrong thing to do.’
The second half of the Guildhall event saw Brown put forward the Trust’s case.
They revealed proposals for ‘The Foundation of Hearts’ to raise additional funds through supporters to aid crucial safety work to Fratton Park.
Those plans detailed the potential for £1.5m per year to be raised by 8,000 signing up for £15 per month via direct debit.
And Brown stressed the importance of supporters not falling out during deliberations over Pompey’s future.
He said: ‘You have a difficult decision to make, you are going to decide the future of your football club.
‘That is a very powerful thing and what fan ownership is all about. How many have ever been in a position like this before?
‘What you now have is another big decision because of what you did four years – and you should be proud of that.
‘I hate the fact I see fans arguing and fighting with each other. It’s a heated debate sometimes and online is a real hotbed. It’s not fair, we all got together to see our club survive, we should be able to discuss and debate. We are all Pompey fans.
‘We are being realistic, honest and open with you, we can continue to run the club and it is feasible so please have that in your thoughts.
‘There is no right or wrong, everyone has a valid opinion and there is no excuse for people that vilify and target others in discussions, Talk it over with your friends, family, have a sensible discussion and listen to what people say and try to come to an informed decision.
‘Whatever happens, we have all got to unify and get back behind the team for League one next season.’