Tornante To Take Over

By Jim Bonner
Last updated : 22 May 2017

The shareholders of Portsmouth Football Club have agreed to sell Pompey to Michael Eisner and his Tornante group.

The official statement that the sale had been approved is no real surprise with 81.4% of those who had the choice voting in favour of the takeover when 75% was required to push the deal through.

The legal terms between the two parties will now be discussed and it is expected that the sale will be completed by the end of July or early August.

Whilst undoubtedly there will be some who have a heavy heart following the decision to sell and relinquish fan ownership and the status of being the largest fan-owned club in the world which comes with it, those who put their hands in their pockets, no matter how they voted, should feel a sense of pride in what they have achieved.

After all, if these people hadn't made the sacrifices they had to save our football club from the likes of Portpin and the threat of liquidation, then there would have been no League Two title to celebrate and some of us would be following a phoenix club in non-league or may have given up on football altogether.

For fan ownership to end with a trophy and a promotion to signify that Pompey are on their way back is something to be truly proud of but whilst there would have been a chance that the club could go further without significant outside investment, the fact is that the current state of football would make reaching the upper echelons of the league pyramid that much more difficult without the money to sustain it.

Whilst small clubs such as Yeovil and Burton have reached the second tier on a relative shoestring, the sheer financial climate of the Championship and many of its clubs receiving parachute payments from the ultra-rich Premier League means a football club with little income in comparison to its competition simply won't be able to compete with them in the long term.

Add to that the Fratton Park problem and the fact the current owners would have to find over a extra £4 million just to repair the old stadium and had no cohesive plan to do so simply highlights the need for investment from elsewhere.

Michael Eisner will provide that investment and virtually everything he has said in interviews and conversations with fans makes perfect sense. He knows the size of the task of taking this club further and developing it so it can compete in the top two divisions both on and off the pitch.

Let's hope he and his team can deliver. We've had enough new dawns in the last thirty years to last two lifetimes but only time will tell just how Tornante will be viewed when they eventually sell up in however many years that may be.

Welcome to Portsmouth Football Club, Mr. Eisner. If you treat the club and its fans well then this venture may well be your most rewarding yet.

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