Packed Fratton set to greet Pompey owners

Blues chief executive David Lampitt
Blues chief executive David Lampitt
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The Fratton roar will be in full voice for the grand entrance of Roman Dubov and Vladimir Antonov.

Pompey are speeding towards 17,000 ticket sales for tomorrow’s friendly with Chelsea.

Only the visit of Inter Milan in 2005 has attracted a bigger attendance for a Fratton Park friendly over the past 15 years.

Similarly attractive fixtures against the likes of Rangers, Spurs, Celtic, Feyenoord, Porto and Panathinaikos pale in comparison in terms of crowds. Unquestionably, tomorrow’s bumper attendance is indicative of the Blues’ tremendous support.

For David Lampitt, it also reflects the air of positivity which is slowly returning to the club following Convers Sports Initiatives’ June 1 takeover.

The Blues chief executive revealed that, on average, 1,000 tickets have been sold every day this week in the build up to the visit of Andre Villas-Boas’ side.

And when Dubov and Antonov take to the directors’ box tomorrow, they are certain to be greeted with a special Pompey welcome from a packed Fratton Park.

Lampitt said: ‘On Monday, we had sold 12,000 tickets. Since then we are going at 1,000 sales every day.

‘If we carry on at that rate we might just get up to 17,000-plus, which would be absolutely brilliant.

‘It was always going to be a good draw for supporters having a massive club like Chelsea coming. We are grateful to Chelsea for putting us into their pre-season schedule.

‘But I think when we announced it there was probably a little more uncertainty over things at the club so we weren’t quite sure how many tickets would be sold.

‘Since then, the fans have been able to see a bit more positivity about the club.

‘The response to season ticket sales has been great as well and there are still lots of things we want to sort out and improve at the club. Now we are looking at around 17,000 fans at a friendly, which is indicative of the support this club has.

‘We definitely don’t take that for granted.

‘We have also got the Real Betis match coming up and are trying to make those ticket prices just as competitive to ensure we get a good turnout.

‘I think it is fantastic and I hope some of these people coming tomorrow will return to Fratton Park again.’

Of course, it is highly unlikely Pompey will be able to match their Inter Milan attendance high.

A staggering 19,240 turned out on July 31, 2005 to witness the visit of the Italian giants.

The match finished goalless – an impressive result, for Alain Perrin’s side who would later endure such a dreadful season.

The team that day included the likes of Sander Westerveld, Ivica Mornar, John Viafara, Laurent Robert and Azar Karadas, while Giannis Skopelitis appeared as a 75th-minute substitute. Since 1996, the only other Fratton friendly attendance above 12,500 has come against Spurs.

On July 25, 2001, Graham Rix’s men lost 5-2 to the north London club in front of a 15,144 crowd.

New signing Peter Crouch scored twice, following on from his debut strike against Newport in the opening friendly four days earlier.

Now Pompey are going to surpass that Spurs crowd tomorrow.

And after a busy week in the transfer market, Lampitt believes the feel-good factor is gradually coming back.

He added: ‘There is definitely an air of positivity around and I think that has come from the changes in ownership.

‘It has come from seeing some of the things being done over the summer, whether on the pitch or off it.

‘Hopefully, this Chelsea game is a reflection of people seeing more positivity about the football club.

‘We have always acknowledged that would be a long and difficult process.

‘I would certainly like to think we can hang onto that spirit and carry it through the season.’

n Tickets bought in advance for tomorrow’s match cost £15 for adults, £10 for seniors and young persons, and £1 for children aged 16 and under.

Purchases on the day of the game can be made from three ticket kiosks behind the Fratton end.

Seats are priced at £20 for adults, £15 for concessions and £1 for children.

The Frogmore Road ticket office will be open from 10am for collections only.

Tickets are available to buy online at portsmouthfc.co.uk or by calling 0844 847 1898 (option one).