Pompey chief: Fratton's our home for at least five years

MARK CATLIN believes Pompey will remain at Fratton Park for at least five more years.

Thursday, 29th March 2018, 7:00 am
Updated Thursday, 29th March 2018, 10:30 am
Pompey won't be leaving Fratton Park just yet. Picture: Joe Pepler

And that is irrespective of whether the much-anticipated stadium masterplan favours a new home.

Since the Michael Eisner takeover in August 2017, Tornante’s head of acquisitions and investments, David Fields, has been heading the assessment into Fratton Park’s future.

Highly-respected architects have also been consulted during the process, as the owners agonise over remaining or constructing a new ground elsewhere.

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Fields’ findings are not expected to be revealed until around August.

Regardless of that outcome, Catlin is convinced Pompey will remain at Fratton Park for a minimum of five years.

He said: ‘We have always been clear that the masterplan was going to take at least a year to draw up, it’s a big thing to go through.

‘Whatever you do with this stadium is very, very difficult and requires a lot of thought, a lot of work, and our owners have left no stone unturned in looking at options to move away and options to stay.

‘If a decision was made to move, I just couldn’t envisage a situation where you can go into a new stadium close to the island, there are no sites available.

‘I could see us being here for the next five years, minimum.

‘So even if we said tomorrow we are going to X site, you are looking at five years to get through different various planning and regulations and red tape to get it going.

‘Whatever way, we have a short-to-medium term plan for five years.

‘Fratton Park is a decaying old stadium, we know the problems, and regulations tighten regularly, so it becomes difficult.

‘Those employed to look at all aspects of the stadium and various other sites are the leaders in their field, they have dealt with Premier League clubs and top clubs from in and around Europe.

‘The various architects and designers in place reinforce everything we have known for a few years now – a lot of work is required at Fratton Park.

‘There aren’t going to be any quick, easy fixes here, never was, never will be.’

In the meantime, fans wait for stadium information.

And Catlin is adamant there will be no lip-service.

He added: ‘Hopefully around August there will be an update of where the current position is.

‘Our ownership are absolutely keen they will not go public with anything unless it is actually going to happen. They don’t want to raise expectations unrealistically into what can be achieved.

‘When we release something as a club it is because we are going to do it – and that was also the case during the last ownership.

‘We are a football club, we are a business, not a PR company. Everything we do will be done professionally, both in regards of making business sense and sense football-wise as well.’