That’s the message from board members Andy Redman and Eric Eisner, who on Sunday met The News for a wide-ranging interview.
The construction of a new North Stand has long been mooted under owners Tornante, while in September was included in Portsmouth City Council’s Portsmouth Local Plan 2038.
The documentation details proposals for a redeveloped North Stand to boost Fratton Park capacity from 25,000-30,000, in addition to a hotel, potentially a conference centre, and 500 residential-led dwellings.
However, improved public transport links are pivotal to the local plan, which also consists of the Pompey Centre.
Regardless, Pompey have admitted a new North Stand hinges on being back in the top flight.
Redman told The News: ‘Fundamentally it is about accessibility and a new North Stand cannot happen without better infrastructure from the city.
‘Forget we are in the business of football, if you said to anybody “I want to bring 29,000 people to this area on this day”, they will say you can't, it would be irresponsible.
‘But (by redeveloping Fratton Park) we’ll have done everything to get to the step before that and shown we’ll do our part. It could be a long way off, I hope it’s not, but it requires other things.
‘Could it be built if we’re in the Championship? It’s a hard one to answer. It would depend on ticket demand and things like that, but, as a general answer, no.
‘Based on the average of what is happening in the Championship right now, no we couldn't do it, even though we are not an average club.
‘The other reason why it’s so hard to fully comment on is that there are things running through your government right now that might change the rules in the Championship. It is possible that things look different at some point in the future.
‘In today’s world, though, you would need to be in the Premier League.’
That brings Network Rail into the equation, although Eric Eisner reiterates all landowners in the vicinity would benefit.
‘The footbridge wouldn’t only be for us. It’s not like we are saying “We are a football club, we need this”,’ added Eisner.
‘The Pompey Centre is a whole new development for the city. As far as people kind of laughing that we expect Network Rail to do everything, that’s not the case, but you need to work together to figure out a solution.
‘It’s not only a good thing for the football club. Yes, we would benefit from it, but it’s not like “Oh do this for us, we need it, put money there”. It needs to be for the city to avert congestion down there.
‘It (the North Stand) is the end goal, that’s as ambitious as it gets, but we are still way down here, there’s a big gap there. It’s not something we are going to be pressing.’
A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron
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