Pompey’s home won’t have hump any more

Work is currently being carried out on the Fratton Park pitch Picture: Neil Weld
Work is currently being carried out on the Fratton Park pitch Picture: Neil Weld
Pompey boss Kenny Jackett. Picture: Joe Pepler

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FRATTON PARK has always had the hump.

And so have many fans who have watched the action unfold at pitch level over the years.

But not any more. Yes, the famous Fratton camber is now finally being consigned to the past.

The familiar feature of Pompey’s playing surface is currently being removed as part of work being carried out this summer.

That means fans who were used to losing sight of the ball from some of the stadium’s lowest seats down the years will now have an unobstructed view of the action.

Groundsman Steve Baker is currently being kept busy undertaking that process.

The standard of the playing surface proved a major concern in the heavy downpours which took place last season.

That means drainage improvements are also earmarked to take place, with pop-up sprinklers installed.

The top will be taken off the pitch before it is rotovated and a laser grader used to level it.

It will all lead to Andy Awford having a surface which will allow him to play the kind of football he wants to produce.

Pompey chief executive Mark Catlin said: ‘There’s a lot of work going on this summer.

‘The pitch is being dug up and the infamous curve should go after all those years! The drainage will also be improved.

‘I’ve spoken to Andy Awford and he feels if we want to play the football he wants to play you have to have the conditions to fit that.

‘We have a team who likes to play with the ball at feet and run with it, so they need the surface to play that type of football.’

Catlin explained money is also being ploughed into carrying out remedial work around Fratton Park.

Last season saw the capacity reduced to 18,200 on the eve of the season, after an inspection from Portsmouth City Council raised safety concerns.

Now the hope is that will be boosted up to the 20,000 mark for when the new campaign kicks off on August 9.

Catlin said: ‘A lot of things which were flagged up in the report last year regarding safety will also be sorted.

‘The capacity was cut as a result of that, but we are working thoroughly with the council to get that raised again.

‘We’re confident about that.

‘We are meeting the demands being put on us so I don’t see why it shouldn’t be put back up.

‘Ultimately, it’s not our decision.

‘But we should know about that in the next month or two.’

Catlin has been gladdened by the response by Pompey fans to the strides being made by the club behind the scenes, as well as this week’s announcement of a new training ground at Roko in Hilsea.

He said: ‘We are getting a lot of praise for the work we are doing from fans.

‘People feel like they are a part of the club again, and that is a huge part of what we’re doing.

‘It did look a difficult fit coming out of administration and it looked a challenged to hit that figure or make that saving.

‘But we’ve managed to do that. It’s a massive positive.’