What Portsmouth chairman Michael Eisner said when asked to self-assess his Blues ownership to date

Chairman Michael Eisner has provided a self-assessment of his time in charge of Pompey.

Friday, 22nd October 2021, 11:02 am

The Blues owner offered up his take on how the past four years have went as part of his participation in the recent Tony Goodall Fans’ Conference.

It’s fair to say that the Tornante group’s ownership has experienced ups and downs since their speech to fans in the Guildhall in 2017.

Despite ongoing investment in the infrastructure of Fratton Park, the landmark purchase of Roko, and the delivery of important commercial deals, progress on the pitch hasn’t met supporters’ expectations as Pompey currently navigate their fifth season at League One level.

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Eisner recognised that the desire to see the Blues in the Championship hadn’t been fulfilled yet.

But with huge progress being made off the pitch, he believed his ownership model was ‘working well’.

When asked ‘What’s your self-assessment of your ownership to date?’, the American told the Tony Goodall Fans’ Conference: ‘I think it’s been good.

‘The evolution of our ownership is working well.

Pompey chairman Michael Eisner addressed the Tony Goodall Fans' Conference last week

‘I’m not happy with what Covid caused to happen to the club, in terms of finances and losses, but that’s an act of God and not something we can affect.

‘We’ve learned a lot – we’ve learned that Fratton Park needed more work than we anticipated.

‘The due diligence we undertook showed up some things, but we then uncovered an enormous amount of additional work.

‘Fratton Park is like a house built two centuries ago. There are so many things which have had to be done.

‘It’s very difficult to retrofit, and expensive to say the least.

‘Displacing fans is not a great thing. However, there’s light at the end of tunnel which will shine very bright.

‘We’ve got a strong plan to get us back up to 20,000+ capacity.

‘I’m happy with the development of the Milton End and happy with the Roko acquisition as the club has never previously owned a training ground.

‘We want to co-ordinate the integration of the first team and the academy.

‘I’m sure if you go back through our presentation four years ago, everything we said we’d do we’re doing.

‘We’ve been in contention for promotion from League One in all four years here.

‘We’ve not been promoted, that’s true.

‘But we’ve spent a fortune on infrastructure. We’ve got the University of Portsmouth, a quality sponsor, and a quality technical partner, Nike – all big improvements.’

When asked if there had been mistakes made in the four years since his takeover, Eisner revealed that the refurbishment work on Fratton Park could perhaps have started during the period when fans were unable to attend matches because of Covid.

Although, he admitted that the club were ‘bleeding cash’ at the time and had no idea when fans would return.

Eisner also said that the due dilligence which was carried out on the infrastructure of Pomey’s home could also have been better.

Yet he concluded by highlighting the investment gains made in ensuring the club has everything in place to build further in the future.

‘Maybe if we could have found a way to work on the stadium during Covid, but we were bleeding cash and uncertain when fans would be allowed to return to stadiums so that delayed it a while,’ said Eisner.

‘Mistakes? Maybe our due diligence on Fratton Park.

‘Nobody fully knew the full extent of work that was needed.

‘The views about safety in the UK have, rightly so, become much stricter.

‘So, while it’s been an expensive financial commitment, it was the right thing to do.

‘We bought the Roko training ground in the middle of the pandemic.

‘Most people get scared when things are bad but we saw an opportunity.

‘Now we have to figure out what to do with it over the longer term in relation to memberships, our pitches, and the integration of the academy.

‘The opportunity arose and we feel it’s a sound investment for the long term of the club.

‘We have also bought quite a lot of real estate around Fratton Park.’