Pompey season-ticket boom '“ but Catlin warns of seat shortages
MARK CATLIN has admitted Pompey could, on occasion this season, have around 1,000 seats available on a match day.
That is the consequence of staggering season-tickets sales exceeding 14,500 as supporters flock to Fratton Park.
The surge for season tickets continues to remain strong, despite the early bird offer closing at the end of June.
Such has been the remarkable level of interest, Catlin’s prediction of a 14,200 total has been comfortably surpassed.
However, the take-up volume has had a knock-on effect on the number of match-day seats available to Pompey supporters.
Last season’s Fratton Park capacity was 18,931, of which a maximum of 2,700 can be handed to away fans.
And Pompey’s chief executive admits there could be up to six fixtures when non-season ticket holders may struggle to obtain seats.
Catlin said: ‘In a bizarre way, it’s a great position to be in.
‘It shows just how successful we have become as a football club – and are continuing to grow into the club we all believe we can become.
‘But it’s fair to say we haven’t got a lot of flexibility this year.
‘The Milton end holds 2,700. On occasions when that reaches full capacity, you would have approximately 1,000 available on a match day.
‘Considering the opposition and visiting supporters they bring, I would say potentially that could happen five or six times this season.
‘It’s not just having 14,500 season-ticket holders, there’s also various obligations on match days such as Pompey in the Community, tickets for troops, ex-players, various good causes and schools.
‘You want to try to keep some tickets back as well.
‘It’s a problem created by our own success and enthusiasm of our fans. It’s not a bad thing, you have to embrace it.
‘I am treating it as a massive positive rather than a negative.’
Last term, Pompey had 12,400 season-ticket holders for a campaign which would yield the League Two title.
Having now stepped up a league and with Kenny Jackett installed as manager, that figure was surpassed more than a month ago.
Catlin added: ‘If this club is to be as big as I believe it can be, you want that strong fanbase of season tickets and demand. It shows the strength and size of the football club.
‘We could arrive at a point where 30,000 people want to buy season tickets – and that’s where I want to get.
‘You define a club by the size of its fanbase and a key indicator of its fanbase isn’t just supporters that come on a one-off basis for the big games, but ones here week in, week out.
‘Financially it could be detrimental having so many holders because you have sold off your season tickets cheap.
‘Match-day revenue brings in significantly higher.
‘However, for us as a club moving forward, we want to encourage as many people as possible to attend Fratton Park on a regular basis.
‘With fans buying season tickets, you would hope, by default, it encourages people to come on a regular basis.’