Pompey owners ready to spend big on Fratton Park

Fratton Park. Picture: Joe Pepler
Fratton Park. Picture: Joe Pepler
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Pompey boss Kenny Jackett. Picture: Joe Pepler

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Pompey’s owners are prepared to splash the millions needed to rejuvenate Fratton Park.

Michael Eisner is ready to sink huge figures into making the Blues’ 119-year-old home fit for the 21st century, if the decision is made to stay.

Eisner is believed to favour staying at one of the recognisable grounds in football moving forward.

That is going to require a vast financial undertaking, with significant spending already taking place on that front.

The community era saw £2m pumped into keeping the stadium operational, with more than £1m already spent over this figure since Eisner arrived at the helm.

Chief executive Mark Catlin explained those numbers could be dwarfed moving forward.

He said: ‘We’ve already seen the need for our owners to invest off the pitch – and that’s going to continue over the coming years.

‘It was made clear there is an ever-growing commitment to keep putting investment into the stadium.

‘What we’re trying to turn around is a situation where there’s been a lack of investment over decades, and there is a requirement going forward to put in substantial millions – possibly tens of millions – off the pitch in stadium infrastructure requirements.

‘That’s to achieve either a new stadium or, if the final decision is to stay at Fratton Park, to do the job right once and for all. ‘We want to be turning that situation around so we have a stadium fit to bring in substantial revenue streams.

‘A substantial amount has already been spent at Fratton Park over and above the escrow money (from the trust era) which had ran out.

‘If, ultimately, a decision is made to stay at Fratton, it’s by no means the cheap option.

‘It’s going to cost a significant amount of millions to do the job properly.

‘And that is what’s required to make Fratton the stadium we hope, if the decision is taken to stay, it will be.’

Catlin told how important work is continuing over the summer at Pompey’s home, with the club’s fact-finding tour of stadiums across Europe due to finish in August.

He added: ‘It’s an ongoing process and by August we’d have been a year into it. By that point we’d hope to be able to explain to supporters just where we are in that process.

‘There has already been significant seven figure-plus investments made into Fratton Park – over and above the escrow money.

‘There is so much health and safety work which has gone on behind the scenes in terms of barriers, roofs, stairwells and support beams, the list goes on.

‘This summer for example the whole irrigation system and water mains had to be dug up. Every other day the system was springing a leak so the decision was made to start again.

‘A lot of it isn’t seen. Many of the individual items of work are costing £100,000-plus, fans won’t see it but it’s essential work.

‘There are so many things going on over and above what fans will hopefully see this summer in terms of the new shop, ticket office, and other stadium investments.’