Cala says he’ll pull out of Pompey takeover if not done this week

BID Joseph Cala, and inset, one of his proposed underwater hotels
BID Joseph Cala, and inset, one of his proposed underwater hotels

POMPEY’S prospective new owner says he expects to complete the deal this week – but has threatened to pull out if negotiations continue for longer.

Joseph Cala, the American Sicilian businessman claiming to be the front runner to take over the club, said he is set to fly in to London tomorrow or Thursday to seal the takeover.

IDEA Joseph Cala proposed underwater hotel

IDEA Joseph Cala proposed underwater hotel

Mr Cala, who The News revealed last week to be interested in taking the reins at Fratton Park, said: ‘If the deal is not done by Friday I am out because the window of trading players is almost over. It would be hard to continue with the programme without the ability to bring in players.’

The 50-year-old revealed his plans to float Pompey as a public company in the USA last week. Mr Cala said if he does sign the deal this week, he is aware of investors who will be willing to put money into the club.

He said: ‘Everyone needs to stop thinking about money because that’s why clubs are going broke. I am going to spend money wisely.

‘I am not saying I am not going to spend money but I am saying it’s the gasoline. You have to build the Ferrari and then have the best driver.’

The club is up for sale because previous owners CSI went into administration last year.

Mr Cala, who had an 11-day stint as owner of Italian side Salernitana last year, defended his business past after some fans questioned his former ventures.

His Undersea Resort firm specialises in creating under water hotels but none has yet been built.

He said: ‘It is the fastest-growing industry in tourism but my thoughts were not realistic because the cost of building on the ocean is extremely high – 20 times more than on land.

‘The price of steel is very high. If it was $700 a tonne over a year ago, it is almost $2,000 a tonne now.’

The Pompey Supporters’ Trust said it will ask questions over Mr Cala’s interest.

Chairman Ashley Brown said: ‘The trust board and other supporters continue to work behind the scenes to protect the long-term future of Portsmouth Football Club.

‘We believe that one element of that work is to investigate all potential owners as thoroughly as possible.

‘We are very concerned that Mr Cala is so publicly associated with out club, and will continue to investigate the matter further and, where necessary, ensure our concerns are heard by the right parties.’