Community comes to Academy’s aid

Pompey's training base at Furze Lane
Pompey's training base at Furze Lane
Conor Chaplin and Brett Pitman. Picture: Shaun Boggust

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Paul Hardyman thanked the local community for coming to Pompey’s aid in the face of testing weather.

But the Academy coach believes seeing the club’s youngsters forced away from their training ground underlines the need for proper facilities.

The two grass pitches at the Blues’ base at the University of Portsmouth have fallen foul of constant use and heavy rainfall in recent weeks.

The under-18s have not played since beating Dagenham & Redbridge on December 14,

Hardyman explained the likes of PlayFootball in Hilsea, Warblington School and Mountbatten Centre have played crucial roles in helping the club out.

He said: ‘It’s hard at the moment. We’re all over the place.

‘We’re at Warblington School, who have kindly let us use their facilities because they have a new Astroturf pitch over there.

‘We’ve been to PlayFootball and the Mountbatten Centre, with the first team using the university 4G pitch.

‘We’re desperate to have a training ground we can actually use.

‘Don’t get me wrong, a lot of clubs are struggling. Chelsea’s games against our younger teams are in doubt, so everyone is struggling.

‘But when it’s your day-to-day stuff, that is the hard bit.

‘You go in every morning and work out where you can go that day!

‘The local community have been fantastic. They have really pushed the boat out.

‘Warblington moved PE lessons for us last week and this week the Mountbatten Centre have managed us around their bookings. Likewise, PlayFootball.

‘Without their help the kids would have got hardly any ballwork in.’

Although thankful to the university’s support in helping Pompey with a training ground, Hardyman believes recent events show the need for the club to have their own base.

He sad: ‘We’re grateful we still have a football club.

‘But, moving forward, these are things we need to get right.

‘A lot was spent in the Premier League years and there is nothing left from that now.

‘It’s so desperately important that we get a training ground and a proper base for ourselves to train from.

‘The university have been really good to us, but it’s tough with just the two pitches.

‘The pitches will have their wear and tear when they are trained on and have games played on them.

‘You can imagine they are getting worn. That’s why you need a facility with six to eight pitches.

‘I know there is work going on behind the scenes on that front. Let’s hope it comes to fruition.’