Portsmouth chief: No timescale for Fratton Park masterplan

Fratton Park. Picture: Andrew Fosker/PinPep
Fratton Park. Picture: Andrew Fosker/PinPep
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Pompey’s present mindset is to remain at Fratton Park.

But Mark Catlin is unable to put a timeframe on when the Blues’ 119-year home will undergo its long-awaited transformation.

Owners Tornante have conducted a thorough investigation into stadium options during their opening year at the helm.

Staying at Fratton Park is the likely outcome, yet Pompey fans have still to glimpse the stadium masterplan, originally mooted for an August unveiling.

The Blues’ chief executive has stressed work is continuing – but details cannot yet be released.

Catlin said: ‘If you are talking about the masterplan at Fratton Park, proposed work will take place at various stages.

‘That will only come out when Michael (Eisner) is happy with the phases in total. As soon as we are going to hit the green button on a certain project within the stadium, the fans will know.

‘I will not talk about any timeframe because you become a hostage to fortune and then rush things just because you have set a timescale. So that won’t happen.

‘There are things going on daily behind the scenes, it has not stopped, far from it.

‘In my first year under the new ownership, I can’t remember a day when we haven’t discussed the stadium, with numerous meetings in London, numerous conference calls and one-to-one calls.

‘The process has been constant and ongoing.

‘Michael (Eisner) has achieved massive success by being methodical in everything he does. That means not rushing, getting it right.

‘It’s a one-off opportunity, you can't fudge it, everything has to be done with a huge amount of planning, a huge amount of thought. If that takes a year or two longer so be it, but we will get it right.’

Catlin has spoken of ‘commercial sensitivities’ preventing certain details being released. And the project’s size ensures planning applications will also delay proposed Fratton work.

He added: ‘With a lot of the larger-scale projects, even if we put in a planning application now, you are looking for a year realistically before work can start.​​​​​​​

‘With planning applications – and the knock-on effect of being in such an enclosed space in regards of houses – it is very difficult to do anything quickly, even if you’ve got a greenfield site.

‘While we are keeping all options open in regards of different sites, we will be spending X number of years at Fratton Park and you will continue to see huge improvements to the stadium over the coming years.’