THE man who could become Pompey’s new owner thought he was set for a career with Inter Milan before injury cut short his playing hopes.
Born in Sicily in 1960, Joseph Cala said he was on course for Serie A before breaking his leg at 16.
He told The News he decided to turn away from the game and left the island for the USA in 1976.
He said: ‘I was a good player but I wanted to get away from the field and I didn’t want my leg to hurt any more.’
It was in the USA that he became involved in the hotel industry before turning his hand to floating private companies on the stock exchange.
In 1996 he became involved in the Undersea Resort project to build underwater casino ships.
It aims to construct underwater hotels using specialist technology to submerge vessels up to 30ft below sea level.
Mr Cala said the vessels could be up to ‘three times bigger than Fratton Park’ once built, but claimed they are ‘too costly’ to construct.
He said: ‘The underwater hotel is the fastest-growing industry in tourism.’
He also founded the Cala Corporation, which he said is now a ‘dormant’ public company, in 1985.
Mr Cala said: ‘Right now I am a retired man who wants to get into football.
‘My expertise in is public company stocks.
‘If I want to build a stadium it will be a walk in the park to raise more money to build one.
‘I am very good in the investment world.
‘At the end of the day, the club belongs to the fans. I want to be the priest of a beautiful cathedral.
‘The club shouldn’t be a commodity – the game is about passion and perfection and there’s nothing as passionate as football.’
Mr Cala, who said he is worth an estimated 100m euros, said he has worked in Mexico and Japan but would not fully disclose how he made his wealth.