Pompey workers starting the move back to stadium

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TODAY sees the start of the big move for staff at Pompey.

Fans who called into the club's reception in Rodney Road yesterday saw boxes being piled up ready to be sent to long-term storage or the archives.

The staff are moving back to the stadium, vacating the offices that have been their home ever since Milan Mandaric decided in 2007 that Premier League Pompey needed Premier League offices.

The carpets have been laid and yesterday saw the new facilities having a big clean before the move begins.

It is hoped the move will be completed before Christmas, though with roads around the stadium remaining treacherous with ice, it is not known exactly when the operation will be completed.

The ticket office will be moving from Friday, into a smaller space at the Frogmore Road entrance to the stadium.

As a result, there will be limited ticket office services between December 24 and Wednesday, January 5.

Because of this, the club is strongly advising fans to buy tickets over the phone or use online booking for the next two home matches.

The Pompey Megastore will be staying in Rodney Road for the time being.

Rumours that the move was caused by landowner Sacha Gaydamak putting the rent up have been repeatedly refuted by the club's chief executive David Lampitt.

In his diary, published to fans, he said: 'We barely fill half of the office space at Rodney Road now, and it obviously makes sense for us to save some money and live in premises that we own.

'We haven't had any additional rent demands and nor are we being forced out; in fact the relationship with our landlord has been very positive and we are working together with his representatives to enable as smooth a transition as possible from the existing premises.

'There will, of course, be a little bit of upheaval as we move into the stadium, but it will be well worth it and I would ask everyone to bear with us as we sort out all of the practical arrangements.'