DIY Pompey declare training home open

Scott Giles  Photography by Habibur Rahman

Genius who studied in Havant is off to Oxford University with five A and A*s under his belt

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The Fratton faithful turned to a spot of DIY to finally present Pompey with the training ground a procession of owners had failed to complete.

Now Andy Awford and his staff have picked up the tools and donned their overalls to get in on the act.

The new changing rooms at Pompey's Copnor Road headquarters. Picture: Ian Hargreaves

The new changing rooms at Pompey's Copnor Road headquarters. Picture: Ian Hargreaves

And together Pompey have been able to deliver a grand opening for its Copnor Road training base.

The club yesterday officially moved into its new Hilsea home, the £1.1m project driven by fan and club president Ian Silvester, the Pompey Supporters’ Trust and the Tifosy scheme.

Since leaving the Wellington Sports Ground in January 2013, the Blues have taken residence at Eastney Barracks and the University of Portsmouth.

But now they have a place they can call their own.

Although it took finishing touches to be applied by the most unlikely of volunteers to ensure its unveiling.

Awford said: ‘Wednesday was a day off for everybody so we took that opportunity to get the staff in, load the cars up and there was also a removal van.

‘It was brilliant, at one point you had Paul Hardyman with a pencil behind his ear and an electric drill in his hand doing the floor. Seriously!

‘The physios were laying the rubber matting in the gymnasium, while you had Scott Bevan (goalkeeping coach) and one of the other physios up on this platform fixing these weights up.

‘If you didn’t know who they were you would have thought they had been hired as a DIY team off Anneka Rice’s programme to build something in a day.

‘I ordered pizza from the pizza house, we had 10 of them delivered here for lunch.

‘Everyone got here at 8am, nobody went home until 6pm.

‘We just cracked on and sorted as much as we could to make sure when the players turned up yesterday morning it was usable.

‘It’s still not finished, which is why we haven’t let the press in yet.

‘We will have an open day when everything is ready and show it off properly.

‘At the moment there are still cardboard boxes in rooms, the IT needs sorting out and that sort of stuff.

‘But it is momentous for the football club. For me this will be here forever and obviously we won’t, the players won’t, although the fans will be. This is it now, this is your training ground.

‘It’s not Manchester United, as you can see. We are sat in a cafeteria and the press officer is cleaning the tables but it is ours and this is a start.

‘We have got to look after it and respect it – and we will.’

The Academy have been trialling the training facilities since October 16 ahead of the anticipated arrival of the seniors.

Now all Pompey’s teams are located at the same venue.

Awford added: ‘It’s a great working environment for us, it really is, rather than being up and around and not quite sure when we can train.

‘We trained here last week, using the groundsman’s entrance.

‘But we hadn’t been in the buildings and hadn’t been in the changing rooms, so yesterday was the first permanent day we had here and from that point of view it has given everybody a lift.’