Pompey home undergoes summer overhaul
FRATTON PARK has undergone a summer facelift following a six-figure investment.
And chief executive Mark Catlin believes supporters will notice the difference for Saturday’s League Two kick-off.
While Paul Cook has revamped his playing squad with nine new additions, it has also been a busy close season off the field.
A renovation programme has been under way to improve supporter facilities at the famous old ground.
Those present at last Friday’s open training session will have noticed work taking place in the Fratton end, focused on improving lighting.
The existing fluorescent lights have been replaced by LED lighting, effectively making the club 60 per cent more energy efficient.
A new North Stand stairwell is in the process of being constructed, potentially adding up to 300 more seats to capacity.
Work on toilets in the Fratton end, North Stand and Milton end has been completed.
Meanwhile, the path behind the back of the Fratton end has been re-surfaced.
In addition, the installation of a new PA system is soon to get under way.
To cap it off, the pitch has been relaid, with an Astroturf perimeter replacing the track around the playing surface.
And the Fratton faithful will see the improvements for themselves for the visit of Carlisle this weekend.
Catlin said: ‘This summer a significant six-figure sum has gone into general maintenance, redecoration and improvements to the ground.
‘Any work at football stadiums is costly because you are dealing with such a huge area and that has been funded by the Tesco money, not the fee received for Adam Webster.
‘For a start, a new stairwell is due to go into part of the North Stand after access concerns were raised by the safety advisory board.
‘We believe it could potentially add another 200 to 300 on to our capacity.
‘Behind the back of the Fratton end has been re-Tarmacked and throughout the stadium we have addressed trip hazards and uneven ground.
‘Work on the toilets, in the North Stand especially, has been completed to join the ones renovated last summer.
‘We are also due to commence work on a new PA system during the first few months of the season, again to enhance people’s match-day experience.
‘Some fans may also have noticed we have completely Astroturfed around the outside of the pitch.
‘Aesthetically it now looks a lot better and previously there were various steps we thought were quite dangerous for players.
‘Moving machinery is also now far easier.’
In the meantime, the Pompey Stadium Working Group are continuing to explore what the future holds, in terms of where the club will play their games.
Catlin added: ‘That work is ongoing. Behind the scenes the strategy is being formulated as to where we go in the future.
‘In my opinion, it will be a minimum of a year before we are in a position to start talking seriously about it.’