Pompey owners will quit if they destroy Fratton Park's soul

POMPEY's owners will walk away from the club if they kill Fratton Park's bearpit atmosphere.

Saturday, 5th May 2018, 7:00 am
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 5:35 pm
The Fratton faithful Picture: Joe Pepler

But delivering the renovated home the Fratton faithful deserves will be 10 years in the making.

Blues director and Tornante president, Andy Redman, has promised maintaining the character of the club’s home for 120 years is ‘priority number one’ for those at the helm.

The Pompey hierarchy have been undertaking a fact-finding mission, which has seen them visit a lengthy list of clubs, in an effort to garner information on stadia.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The Fratton faithful Picture: Joe Pepler

And Redman underlined that’s all about them maintaining Fratton Park’s reputation as one of the most intimidating grounds in the business – the key attraction for completing the purchase of the club.

He said: ‘It’s priority number one.

‘It’s one where we don’t even have to listen to the fans.

‘Other clubs specifically told us on these tours they were terrified of seeing Fratton Park on their fixture lists.

Pompey director Andy Redman Picture: Joe Pepler

‘That was because of how excited our fans are. That’s the best news you can have.

‘Whatever we change, first and foremost can’t destroy it (the atmosphere) – and maybe enhance it.

‘You have to be careful, though, when you think you have a better idea than what Jose Mourinho talked about a couple of months ago.

‘You can’t fake that stuff. You can’t fake another manager talking like that or other clubs talking about us like that. So it’s priority number one.

‘It sounds weird because people think the top priority will be growing the revenue of the club.

‘But those things have to happen over time for us to progress.

‘But if we lose any of the atmosphere, we’ll stop that day. That’s the single biggest asset here and, by the way, that’s why we bought the club.’

Redman is confident fans will see improvements to Fratton Park when the 2018-19 season begins on August 4, but completing an overhaul will be a labour of love.

He added: ‘There’s been a staggering amount of due diligence.

‘We are very comfortable saying this is effectively a 10-year process.

‘We are still within year one of that.

‘I don’t want to set expectations that people are going to come here in three years and think we’ve solved everything. We’re not intending to.

‘But I promise supporters that when they come back in August they will see more than one true new step in this club.

‘It’s not going to be 10 steps, but I think our fans are sensitive to the worst thing we can do being trying to run before we can jog, and jog before we can walk.

‘We’re doing all those things and building, though, and it’s obvious some day we are going to be able to run.’