Portsmouth consider lodging Football League request to delay Fratton Park season opener

Pompey are weighing up requesting their opening match of the 2022-23 season be held away from Fratton Park.

Thursday, 31st March 2022, 5:00 pm
Updated Friday, 1st April 2022, 9:48 am

Redevelopment of the South Stand is to commence on April 4, thereby impacting on the final four home matches of the campaign.

A Fratton Park pre-season friendly is being pencilled in to serve as a test event for the finished South Stand.

However, the Blues are concerned that, should they discover additional improvements are required, they may run out of time to implement them before the campaign kicks off.

And, as a precaution, they are considering lodging a request with the Football League to not play their opener at Fratton Park.

Andy Cullen told The News: ‘We are confident all the South Stand seats will be in place and ready for the first game of the season.

‘Although asking for our first match to be away is potentially something we may need to look at, just to give us some space.

Pompey are weighing up requesting the opening match of the 2022-23 season is played away from Fratton Park. Picture: Graham Hunt/ProSportsImages/PinP

‘When you reprofle a stand and rebuild it, you must have test events before you open it, so we’d like to explore the possibility of using part of the South Stand for a pre-season friendly.

‘If successful, that would allow us to move straight to full capacity.

‘It also might influence our decision whether to request the first Fratton Park game to be played away, which would then ensure everything has time to be in place.

‘As a football club, you can pick any date in the calendar which clashes with something – and ask whether you can instead play that game away.

‘We are not yet under pressure to request it, but it’s something we would certainly look at.

‘In terms of any implications coming from those test events, it would help give us time to get things right ahead of getting everybody back in.

‘Obviously we don’t want any capacity restrictions for our first home game of the season.’

Meanwhile, Pompey have been consulting a South Stand supporter working group over planned changes and relocation of 200 season-ticket holders this term.

Cullen added: ‘The first bit of South Stand work will commence very shortly.

‘We need to relocate season-ticket holders from the lower section of the South Stand between the away dug-out and the Milton End, so we can start work on that to get ahead of schedule.

‘That will become a bit of a building site from next week, then, as soon as the season stops, we get straight into that project with the reprofiling.

‘It means we’ve had to relocate 200 season-ticket holders to various other locations in the South Stand, while one or two have moved across temporarily to the North Stand.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

You can support our local team of expert Pompey writers by subscribing here for all the latest news from Fratton Park for 9p a day, thanks to our 30%-off transfer window deal.