Eisner: Pompey’s future is an upgraded Fratton Park

Fratton Park. Picture: Joe Pepler
Fratton Park. Picture: Joe Pepler
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Michael Eisner wants Pompey to remain at Fratton Park.

The prospective Blues owner has been impressed with the ‘charm’ of the 119-year-old ground following three visits.

It’s 119 years old, I think it has charm, I think it is a big asset to the club and you can only improve it, like renovating an old house.

Michael Eisner

Pompey’s Frogmore Road home requires extensive safety work – which Eisner has pledged to swiftly carry out should he take control.

However, there are no imminent plans for the overhaul of the Milton End and North Stand.

The American billionaire must win the support of Pompey’s board and then the shareholders to push through with his plans.

But he is intent on football remaining at Fratton.

He said: ‘If we convince the fans we will be a good steward of these assets then we are going to stay at Fratton Park and upgrade it.

‘It will be safety improvements first and then improvements in fan experience before finally some increased attendance.

‘I understand what has to be done and there has to be a significant investment.

‘I have gone through it twice, we have had architects and engineers look at every foot of it. First one to deal with is the safety issues.

‘I love the feel, ambiance, the history, even the smell and texture of Fratton Park.

‘It’s 119 years old, I think it has charm, I think it is a big asset to the club and you can only improve it, like renovating an old house.

‘We certainly want to keep it. Obviously if the club is in the Premier League for a long period of time then the necessity may come to build a larger stadium but that is a far-off dream alongside winning the Champions League.

‘But for the foreseeable future we want to continue at Fratton Park.

‘The Milton End needs more immediate work than the rest.

‘The North Stand eventually could be expanded.

‘However, the first thing you have to do is make it safe.

‘There are other issues which have to be dealt with over time, not necessarily in the first week.’

While chief executive at Disney, Eisner oversaw vast improvements to the home of baseball team LA Angels, which the company owned.

The Anaheim Stadium underwent major redevelopment – and he sees parallels.

Eisner added: ‘The Anaheim Stadium was pretty ugly and pretty old, having been built in the 1960s.

‘Since we built 80 buildings at Disney and theme parks around the world, I know a lot of architects. I love architecture.

‘So we went in and fixed all the bathrooms at Anaheim, all the floors, all the seats, repainted the whole thing, put a big baseball cap above the main entrance which you walked under – and all for about 10 per cent of the cost of a new stadium.

‘It is all about creativity and planning. You don’t have to throw the old out to bring in the new. You can make the old modern.’