Catlin: Pompey’s priority is Fratton Park work

Mark Catlin. Picture: Joe Pepler
Mark Catlin. Picture: Joe Pepler
Seats are in high demand at Fratton Park. Picture: Joe Pepler

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MARK CATLIN has admitted summer restoration work at Fratton Park has become Pompey’s priority.

Heavy structural repairs are required during forthcoming years to the 118-year-old ground.

While I won’t go into the figures, it’s obvious to everyone work needs to take place over the coming weeks, months and years. It’s nothing new, it has been the same over the last four seasons. Fratton Park is an old stadium

Mark Catlin

It is understood that entails extensive work to the foundations and structure of the Blues’ home, including steelwork, concrete and beams.

In yesterday’s News, Trust board member Mike Saunders highlighted the extent of the problems facing Fratton.

And Catlin has reiterated stadium improvements will remain a focus for the club.

The Blues’ chief executive said: ‘Making Fratton Park safe and secure is in all cases the priority.

‘It has, and always will, come before everything; forget playing budgets, forget salaries, forget rates and bills, forget minimum wages, forget pensions – stadium safety and security is priority number one by a mile.

‘Football results don’t count for anything if there was ever an incident at Fratton Park. We would never compromise, stadium safety and security comes before everything

‘While I won’t go into the figures, it’s obvious to everyone work needs to take place over the coming weeks, months and years.

‘It’s nothing new, it has been the same over the last four seasons. Fratton Park is an old stadium.

‘Safety should concern everyone associated with each and every football club, this is our home and, as a board, we accept that responsibility.

‘You can put remedies in place should work need to be undertaken, it doesn’t always have to be serious, but what is important is to understand that this is the priority.

‘I would deem CCTV, floodlights, sprinkler systems, etc, as soft infrastructure.

‘The big-ticket items are what I would deem as hard infrastructure projects which, as with all ageing stadiums, will obviously need doing at some point, not all now, but obviously at some point in the future.

‘It is all in hand and something we are fully focused on.’

Work is anticipated to run into the millions over a period which could last up to five summers.

Under community ownership, more than £2m has already been spent on ground improvements since April 2013.

Although Catlin would not be drawn on revealing cost figures for the required further work.

He added: ‘The stadium scenario we now find ourselves in is effectively the same one we inherited.

‘A year to a year-and-a-half ago we openly said we had commissioned a report into the stadium and its future.

‘That report is a moving, evolving process. As in all reports, things can change over time.

‘The budget and pricing side of it can only really be finally nailed down when you actually get into the nitty-gritty.’