The Jewish former chief executive of Disney has bought Portsmouth football club.
Michael Eisner’s proposed purchase of the newly promoted Division 1 club was approved by the supporter’s trust three months ago, with Sky reporting that the billionaire will pay £5.67 million for the club.
Portsmouth – nicknamed Pompey - have had a difficult few years since winning the FA cup in 2008. They went into administration and were relegated from the Premier League in 2010, the beginning of a long slide which saw them drop to the fourth tier of English football.
Mr Eisner released a statement today, saying he and his family were "thrilled to take on this incredible responsibility as stewards of a football club with such a rich heritage.
"We have come to know the Pompey community in recent months, and we are extremely impressed by their passion, dedication and love for their club.
“The football club wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for the against-the-odds commitment of Pompey supporters who came together and saved this club. This is and will always be your team.”
In an interview with the BBC in May, Mr Eisner discussed why he wanted to buy Portsmouth.
“We looked at Europe”, he said. “The best football in Europe seems to be in the UK. We looked at the various different possibilities, and I liked the idea of building up. Portsmouth is a historic team - 120 years old, FA champions, Premier League, a fan base that’s unbelievable – I don’t see anything like that in the US. The passion, the emotion for the team and the club is part of one’s family here.
“I came to a game in the fall – it was amazing. Even Pompey getting third, in the fourth division of English football and being promoted, it was like the end of World War Two [in terms of the celebrations], it was miraculous.
“So I think I’ve selected the club with the most heart, the club that could use me, maybe”.
Ashley Brown, the chairman of the Portsmouth Supporters Trust, said in a statement: “This is true fan ownership and democracy at work. Our fans decided who the next owner of our club would be – and it will be Michael Eisner and [his company] Tornante.
“The Trust board would like to wish Michael the very best of luck. We believe he understands the importance of the custodianship of Pompey and will be an owner all fans will be proud of. We look forward to working with him, his family and Tornante for many years to come.”