Portsmouth chief heartened by prospect of full Fratton Park attendances in November

Mark Catlin has hailed Boris Johnson’s ‘encouraging’ message which intimates Fratton Park could be at full capacity in November.

Tuesday, 21st July 2020, 7:00 am
Fratton Park could be at full capacity by November, if government plans are to be believed. Picture: Joe Pepler

On Friday, the Prime Minister announced supporters could return to football grounds in England from October.

However, it was Johnson’s hope for a ‘significant return to normality by November’ which primarily raised Catlin’s hopes.

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But he has been heartened by government plans for a full return not long beyond that.

He told The News: ‘We were hoping fans were going to be back during September. Now it’s October, which is still another step in the right direction.

‘What was also mentioned was looking at trying to get back to normal by November..

‘I think that was probably more revealing – and greater news for us than actually being allowed back in October.

‘Having fans back in small numbers actually causes a lot of headaches in regards of how we work around who is allowed in and who's not.

‘Now the government is actually saying they are hoping to be back to ‘normal’ by November – and I actually think that is very encouraging. I wasn’t expecting that.

‘I thought that would be next year, probably not until March/April/May as we, as a country, get back to total normality.’

On Friday, in an address to the nation, Johnson said: ‘We will pilot larger gatherings in venues like sports stadiums with a view to a wider reopening in the autumn.’

‘From October, we intend to bring back audiences in stadiums.

‘Again, these changes must be done in a Covid-secure way, subject to the successful outcome of pilots.’

In addition, he said: ‘It is my strong and sincere hope that we will be able to review the outstanding restrictions and allow a more significant return to normality from November at the earliest – possibly in time for Christmas.’

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