Pompey confident of no Fratton pitch bill

The Fratton Park pitch Picture: Joe Pepler
The Fratton Park pitch Picture: Joe Pepler
  • Fratton Park and training ground pitches to be repaired in summer
  • Seeding to begin on June 8 in time for kick-off
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Pompey have reiterated they remain confident no additional bill for crucial summer repairs to their problem pitches will be coming their way.

During the close season, secondary drainage will be carried out to pitches at Fratton Park and the club’s Copnor Road training ground.

We paid good money to have a pitch that should be better than the one we had the previous season. It clearly isn’t so that is going to be dealt with.

Mark Catlin

New surfaces were laid only last summer but the poor standards of both sites have prompted much criticism.

Work will begin in May before the seeding starts on June 8 – following the Madness concert 36 hours earlier – in time for the August 8 Football League kick-off.

And chief executive Mark Catlin believes the club will not be footing the bill.

He said: ‘We are in discussions with the contractor and, at this moment in time, we still haven’t paid anything extra.

‘The company that did the work have been very, very helpful in doing everything they can to help.

‘They have been working with us at Fratton Park and the training ground and we are extremely hopeful that will also be the case in the close season by carrying out what we believe should have been done last summer.

‘I am expecting and hopeful that we won’t be charged any more.

‘The issue is a relatively simple one in that pitches at both Fratton Park and the training ground should have had secondary drainage put in. What I can assure supporters is we didn’t pay for secondary drainage as the recommendations didn’t stipulate that.

‘They haven’t delivered pitches to the standard we expected but they didn’t charge us either.

‘We paid good money to have a pitch that should be better than the one we had the previous season. It clearly isn’t so that is going to be dealt with.

‘They will take the top off, put in rows of sand so when it rains it enables the water to get through to the drainage system. There are actually no issues with the drainage system.

‘There is a five-to-seven-day window after the last day of the season – whether that is the regular season or the play-offs – and during that time the pitch will get a lot of community usage, as well as from our sponsors.

‘Then the day it contractually finishes the work will be started, although seeding will not start until June 8, following the Madness concert.

‘That will also use the standard eight weeks required from when you first seed to the start of our season on August 8.’

Tickets are still continuing to sell well for the Madness concert and Catlin is adamant the event has not disrupted pitch repair plans.

He added: ‘The only thing the Madness concert has affected is we will not have pre-season friendlies at Fratton Park.

‘The pitch is going to be covered for the concert, not with canvass but professional protection.

‘Steve Baker, our head groundsman, has seen it and it is of a standard that there are a few examples where places have had a gig mid-season and a week later actually played a game on the pitch.

‘Everything will be installed two to three days before the start of the concert, then it will come down on the Sunday, with the seeding beginning on the Monday.’