Mark Catlin believes players uniting with fans to celebrate promotion reflects Pompey’s prized culture.
Paul Cook’s heroes returned to Fratton Park at 10.30pm last night having clinched a place in League One at Notts County.
They were greeted by a reception committee of 300-plus Blues followers, who sang and drank with the players in the Victory Lounge until past midnight.
The majority of Cook’s squad continued the party at the Drift Bar in Palmerston Road, once again mixing with supporters.
It proved an unforgettable night for those present.
And Pompey’s chief executive revealed plans for the event were orchestrated on Sunday.
Catlin said: ‘You don’t want to be too presumptuous, there was probably a better than average chance we weren’t going to achieve promotion.
‘Results had to go our way, with us needing to go to Notts County and win, which was always a difficult task.
‘But you always try to think that little ahead and I spoke to Tom Jeffes, head of hospitality and events, on Sunday and mentioned how, in the event of getting promotion, the fans would be coming home in high spirits.
‘So what better way than to celebrate with the players upon their return?
‘It was an absolute credit to everyone associated with the football club how it came together with very, very little notice.
‘There wasn’t any objection from a single person associated with the football club and that’s a great culture we have now instilled into the players and staff.
‘Ultimately the fans buy into that and that is why, even after four years in League Two, attendances have continued to rise and everything off the pitch has gone so well.
‘Some people take Paul for granted. He is very much a fan himself and in a lot of cases what happened would not have been deemed professional, but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong, it’s different views and opinions.
‘Football has gone off in the direction that the fans and players have become separate entities – when they should be one.’
Meanwhile, Catlin praised Notts County for their hospitality earlier in the day.
He added: ‘Our thanks to Notts County, they were absolutely superb and very accommodating.
‘They deserve a lot of credit and hopefully will have a successful season next year.
‘They exuded class in the way they handled the occasion.’