MARK CATLIN has spoken of Pompey’s joy after being reunited with an old friend.
Saturday saw the homecoming of the prized HMS Victory painting to the boardroom after nine years away.
There has been quite a lot of work which has gone on behind the scenes from people who have remained in contact with Milan to make this happenMark Catlin
It had been a constant Fratton Park companion until Sacha Gaydamak presented it to Milan Mandaric following the sale of the club in 2006.
Since then it has accompanied Mandaric during his ownership spells at Leicester City and then Sheffield Wednesday.
Now the 19th century painting, entitled ‘HMS Victory towed into Gibraltar after the Battle of Trafalgar – 1805’ is back.
Painted by Henry J Morgan, it is on permanent loan to the club while it remains in community ownership.
And chief executive Catlin has issued his thanks to the Blues’ former owner.
He said: ‘Obviously, it is a magnificent gesture from Milan Mandaric to have the painting back where I personally believe it belongs.
‘There has been quite a lot of work which has gone on behind the scenes from people who have remained in contact with Milan to make this happen.
‘On Saturday it was very well received by everyone who was in the boardroom or passing through.
‘I love historical pictures, personally, and it is an amazing picture.
‘It sets the tone of the whole boardroom and we are extremely grateful to Milan for this loan.’
The painting resided at the Walkers Stadium during Mandaric’s time at the club, from February 2007 until November 2010.
At that point he then bought Sheffield Wednesday, where the picture joined him until selling the Owls to a Thai consortium led by businessman Dejphon Chansiri in January 2015.
The club has never been able to pinpoint the precise timing of the painting’s first arrival at Fratton Park.
However, it is believed to have inhabited the club’s boardroom since the 1930s.
n A Pompey reserve and development squad side are to face Cambridge United at Bognor’s Nyewood Lane home today.
Kicking off at 2pm, admission is free for the Final Third Development League Cup clash.
The fixture has been carried over from last season when there was not enough time to fulfil it before the campaign ended.
The Blues’ Academy players will feature heavily in the game.