Portsmouth eye future as Milton End trial hailed success

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Pompey’s Milton End trial has been declared a success.

Now the Blues are weighing up introducing the allocation switch on a permanent basis.

Home fans were switched to be positioned immediately behind the Milton End goal in a trial against Fleetwood. Picture: Joe Pepler

Home fans were switched to be positioned immediately behind the Milton End goal in a trial against Fleetwood. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey last month trialled situating home supporters in the north-east corner of the Milton End during two matches.

In recent years, visiting fans have been housed in at least the first two sections of Fratton Park’s away section.

Yet against Fleetwood and Burton, two thirds of the Milton End was allotted to Blues fans – with visiting supporters handed the final third in the south-east section.

The outcome delighted Mark Catlin, who reveals the players also favoured the switch.

And Pompey are looking into whether it can become a permanent change.

The Blues’ chief executive said: ‘Operationally it went well, but that is obviously only half the story.

‘Not only did it go well operationally, but the fans enjoyed having our own fans behind the goal – and I also know the players did.

‘That is something we may look to continue and it may form part of strategic thinking moving forward.

‘The two trials have been successes and we have to evaluate it. A lot depends on how many away fans the opposition club anticipates bringing, but on the whole it went very well.

‘We will look at it game-by-game. As a responsible club, we try things out and if they work we’ll try them again, test the boundaries of it. If they don’t work, we tried and we move on.

‘But at the moment it has got a thumbs up.’

The visits of Fleetwood and Burton were pinpointed as matches which wouldn’t attract a sizeable away crowd, allowing the trial.

As it turned out, Fleetwood were followed by 76 supporters in a total attendance of 18,046.

Meanwhile, 156 Burton fans made the midweek trip to Fratton Park in a crowd of 18,200.

Pompey are now heading into a busy schedule of 12 games in 43 days, but another Milton End trial is still to be decided.

Catlin added: ‘At the moment there is nothing pencilled in, but it's something we will keep open and any opportunity to trial it again we will take.

‘As a club we are always keen to look at anything.

‘This was a suggestion made by a lot of fans over the previous years, so we were happy to try it out and see if it forms part of our thinking moving forward and whether it makes it a more permanent feature.’