Pompey owner hasquietly delivered
He's one of the world's most famous businessmen.
But, nearly two years on from their arrival at Pompey, there's still an element of mystery to Michael Eisner and his Tornante Company.
Yet Blues chief executive Mark Catlin believes what has taken place on and off the pitch at Fratton Park in that time speaks volumes.
Since delivering his sales pitch ahead of sealing a deal to buy the club in 2017, Eisner has spoken to The News on a single occasion.
His son Eric and director Andy Redman have done so a limited number of times, while Anders and Breck Eisner have stayed in the background.
That has left Catlin as the trusted conduit to supporters through Tornante's stewardship.
He feels the progress is evident in their period of ownership. That may not be enough for all supporters, but Catlin believes the owners have made good on the promises which led to community shareholders agreeing to sell.
Catlin said: ‘They are not board members, chairman or directors who are ego-driven at all. They are very comfortable in their own skin and comfortable to employ an executive management team, as in all of their businesses, and support their team but from behind the scenes.
‘They were very keen from the outset to state that, unlike owners of virtually every other club, they weren't going to come in and rip things to pieces.‘They bought the club because they liked what they saw in regards of the executive management team and our fan base.‘The last thing they wanted to do was rip up what was already a successful formula and a business which was growing on all fronts.‘If you look at the financial figures it shows they've done everything they said they would.‘Whether that's at the pace some fans think we should be progressing is really subjective. In regards of what was promised and what we're doing they've been spot on.’
The rate of Pompey’s progress has been a topic of conversation among fans since the season finished, after narrowly missing out on promotion.
Catlin feels some realism may be needed among some about the good work being carried out and the steps being made.
He added: ‘You don't jump every season into the Premier League. We're taking a view that if we have a few bad years we have the support mechanisms which don't put us into jeopardy.‘Football can run away with you very quickly financially. We don't want to be in that position again. ‘The second you raise your budget there’s no way back from it. If you go from X to Y million you can't go back to X million. It's a struggle.‘It's a struggle because players are on commitments of three-year deals. If you throw into the pot bringing in players you can create a disparity in the changing room. You have to be careful to create a solid foundation‘Our aim next season is to improve on and off the pitch, but if we don't we're not in any trouble. It’s a case of building the sustainability.‘That is almost unique today in football - but it's the ticket they were voted in on by a huge margin.’