Michael Eisner makes bullish Portsmouth Academy admission after pledge during 2017 takeover process

Michael Eisner remains confident he can fulfil his prophecy of churning out homegrown stars of the future under his Pompey ownership.

Thursday, 22nd July 2021, 4:30 pm

When meeting around 1,500 fans at Portsmouth Guildhall to outline his plans ahead of his 2017 takeover, the Blues’ academy was one of his key visions.

Using the example of children's television programme The All-New Mickey Mouse Club during his time as Disney CEO – which featured Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera and Ryan Gosling who've all go on to global stardom – Eisner outlined he wanted to develop fledgling footballers at Fratton Park who would go on to achieve great things.

However, sections of supporters have been left disappointed by the lack of progress in youth ranks during Eisner's four years at the club.

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Micael Eisner during the meeting with the Pompey Supporters' Trust at Portsmouth Guildhall ahead of his 2017 takeover. Picture: Neil Marshall (170302-10)

The academy remains at Category Three status, while there was a player overhaul earlier this year. The likes of Harry Kavanagh, Charlie Bell and Harvey Rew were released, while Alfie Stanley turned down a new contract due to concerns about the current pathway into the first team.

And with homegrown players Alex Bass and Haji Mnoga currently in Danny Cowley's squad – as well as seeing the likes of Jack Whatmough and Ben Close feature prominently during his ownership – Eisner believes his Guildhall promise will come true.

Speaking to the club's website, the American said: ‘I think we will fulfil the prophecy.

‘I can tell you, having the academy, funding the academy and having the academy be important for Portsmouth will pay off.

‘I can't tell you when that will happen or how that will happen, but I've seen it happen around football in the UK.

‘I have seen it happen at Portsmouth itself. There are players from Portsmouth who've done very well at our football club and elsewhere.

‘I can't see it not being helpful. Telling you why and how, other than believing in Andrew (Cullen, chief executive) and Mark (Catlin, former chief executive) that they picked the right person (Greg Miller), is all I can really say about that.’