Outlined: The arguments for and against Eisner's Pompey takeover

The deadline for the Michael Eisner takeover vote is today.

American billionaire Michael Eisner Picture: Neil Marshall
American billionaire Michael Eisner Picture: Neil Marshall

So The News has asked two respected members of the for and against camps to put forward their final arguments for those Pompey Supporters’ Trust shareholders still to decide.

Here’s what they have to say...

Eric Coleborn - For the takeover

You have to look at the arguments for and against and come to a decision.

I’ve always felt that someone would come in at some stage.

But what caught me by surprise was the quality of the person coming in.

It’s very difficult to think of anyone who could possibly be any better than Mr Eisner. That’s in terms of his past record, which is what I look at when judging anyone.

You do your due diligence on these people, and I felt straightaway this was someone we should take seriously.

I’ve been able to meet and speak to Mr Eisner and he’s a top businessman – in the entertainment business.

I like the way he’s built his companies up, the building blocks he puts in place and the fact he pays attention to detail.

I’ve spoken to his son Eric, who comes across very well on a one-to-one basis and is keen to get going. Tornante chief executive Andy Redman is very, very impressive, too.

These people mean business. These guys are really serious about pushing the club forward.

We could carry on, of course we could, but it all goes back to expectation.

If we were like some of the smaller fan-owned clubs it’s great for them to get into League One and hold their own. That’s fantastic.

But for a club of our size the expectancy is a lot higher – as shown by the survey which was carried out.

Fans believe we should be in the Championship or Premier League.

That isn’t really doable under fan ownership.

If we got lucky and went straight through League One you’d hit the Championship – and the wages are horrendous.

Then there’s the money these clubs are losing. It’s frightening. A couple of years ago we had a presidents’ presentation on where we could go and how the club could progress. The fortunes being lost by clubs in the Championship was ridiculous.

In the 2014-15 season we looked at, Blackpool were the only side to make a profit because of their parachute payments – and they got relegated.

There were three clubs who lost over £20m that season. How could a sustainable fan-owned club take those kinds of risks?

We could carry on and make a fist of it in League One and hold our own.

But we’d have to go back to the shareholders for another share issue, and I wasn’t comfortable with doing that knowing we’d probably have to do so again in another couple of years.

The club would have drained the money just keeping the ground together and standing still.

The bottom line for me was could I go back to 2,500 shareholders – who are without doubt the best supporters in the world – and do that?

I don’t think I could and the alternative is the best person imaginable at a time the club’s on the up.

I totally respect the people who believe we should stay fan-owned, but I feel this is what’s best for our football club.

Steve Bone - Against the takeover

If we have to sell Pompey, then Michael Eisner seems like a decent chap to sell it to.

He’s making most – if not all – of the right noises and he clearly has a great track record in business.

Yes, we need a few million quid to sort out Fratton Park’s creaking joints and worse. I get that – I really do.

But if the predictions of a landslide vote in favour of this Pompey takeover prove correct, then I shall be extremely disappointed at the route we’re about to take from this crossroads at which we suddenly seem to have arrived.

It’s a democratic process and I’m delighted we’re in a position where the fans – well, at least section of fans – are able to decide the future of the club.

If it were not for all those that fought so hard to secure our 2013 rescue, that would not be the case.

But I’ve not deviated from the view I formed as soon as I discovered that Mr Eisner’s bid was revealed – and that view is: We do NOT need to sell OUR club lock, stock and barrel – at least not this soon into OUR fan-owned adventure.

I’m not anti-investment, not at all. We need it, of course we do.

But could we not, for the good of football as well as our own ability to control the club’s destiny, have given the fan-owned dream a little longer to thrive, as it has up to now?

Some will say you have to look at Pompey here and now, not the bigger picture. But if no-one ever looks at the bigger picture, the bigger picture will never change.

It depresses me that so many apparently see the need for us to have an owner now who (they think) can plough silly money in when we get to the Championship.

Just because others do it, do we have to? Why not test the water? See how we get on in League One with a gently-increasing budget; see how a plea for another round of fundraising to sort out Fratton Park’s problems is received.

If we’d been knocking around the lower reaches of League Two for another four years, I’d have a lot of sympathy with the view we need to take a different path.

But the scenes we saw a shade under a fortnight ago at Fratton and Southsea Common didn’t look like they reflected a club languishing – they showed one that was firmly on the up. We’re the biggest fan-owned club around.

We could be pioneers and help change English football for the better. But it doesn’t look like we’re brave enough.

A previous airing of this viewpoint brought a mixed response. Alan Biley, no less, said it was great to hear – someone keen on the Eisner bid said it was petty.

Doubtless most if not all with a say in the process will have formed a view by now.

I’m not expecting to influence many, if any, with my own thoughts.

But I just hope if we have to consign that iconic ‘OURS’ picture to a past era, we don’t come to regret it.