Fratton Park: Portsmouth chief offers hope for flexi-season-ticket holders - while 'consistent' approach will be key for away travel
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That was the message Anna Mitchell relayed to supporters at the latest Tony Goodall Fans’ Conference, which was held on Thursday.
The club’s chief commercial officer said 13,000 Blues fans had signed up to the scheme that was initially introduced for the 2020-21 campaign as the season kicked off behind closed doors.
And all could be potentially accommodated inside Fratton Park for forthcoming home games as soon the government gives the nation the go-ahead to end restrictions.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to confirm later today that he is confident the majority of the remaining Covid limitations in England can be lifted from July 19.
That’s nearly three weeks before Pompey kick-off their 2021-22 term away to Fleetwood on Saturday, August 7 – and less than a month before Crewe travel to PO4 for Pompey’s first home game of the season on August 14.
At this stage it remains unclear what attendances could eventually look like, with Blues fans locked out of Fratton Park for all but two games last term – and even then only 2,000 spectators were permitted.
It’s also not known whether away travel will be allowed.
But with Wembley set to hold 60,000 for England’s Euro 2020 semi-final against Denmark on Wednesday night – 75 per cent capacity – there’s evidence to suggest that football could return to some sort of normality in the weeks to come.
The £10m refurbishment of Fratton Park, which has already begun, will temporarily affect the Blues’ capacity.
Yet Mitchell said there was a real desire to have at least all 13,000 flexi-season tickets holders under the same roof as soon as possible.
Asked if the club still planning to convert flexi-season tickets to full season tickets as soon as possible?, Mitchell replied: ‘We’re still in a state of limbo. We’re waiting for the announcement like everyone else.
‘What we can say is that we do have the appetite to get flexi-season ticket holders converted to full season ticket holders as soon as possible.
‘As soon as we can accommodate all 13,000, we will.’
Providing an update on how the current works at Fratton Park will affect capacity, Mitchell added: ‘The North Stand is the priority for this season.
‘The North Upper seats have been removed and will be replaced for the start of the season.
‘In January, the North Lower seats will be removed and replaced.
‘At the end of the season, we’ll start on the South Stand for Year 2 of the works.
‘This season, there will be reductions in all 3 stands because of health and safety.’
Speaking about a Pompey fan presence at away games this season, new chief executive Andrew Cullen said that would depend on the government and the EFL.
He said: ‘The government may decide they don’t think it’s safe to allow that travel.
‘The EFL are mindful not to have some clubs allowing away fans and others not – they will probably apply for consistency.
‘That will have an impact for iFollow coverage, and what’s allowed to be broadcast next season.’