And despite initially contemplating moving the Blues out of their 122-year-old home, they’re adamant the correct decision was to remain.
Fratton Park is presently undergoing the third phase of a £11,5m redevelopment project, earmarked for completion in the summer of 2024.
And while Tornante expected to finance the ground’s upkeep following their August 2017 arrival, it took two years before fully understanding the depth of Fratton Park’s issues.
Board member Andy Redman told The News: ‘Were we aware of the work required to Fratton Park? Yes and no.
‘The club had an internal estimate, which was roughly £5m of work being needed. You can tell it’s now significantly more than that.
‘Annually, we have been putting in a lot and already put in that level – we’re now doing currently beyond that.
‘When something is highlighted on a report as a deficiency, it is harder to tell how expensive the solution is for that deficiency.
‘What we are doing is much more – in terms of breadth of what we are doing and in terms of depth of what we are doing. This is a club which, for basically 30 years, had no infrastructure investment.
‘In a theoretical sense, we absolutely thought about leaving Fratton Park, but, like any good business, you have to be thoughtful about where you are.
‘We had a strong preference to stay from the beginning, largely to do with the history of the club, being able to celebrate its heritage, and also the atmosphere, which is really what we bought into.
‘Going to a new stadium – and not that there’s anything wrong with new stadiums – you don’t find they create the atmosphere that’s here at Fratton Park.
‘We were worried that, even with the world’s best architects, it would be very hard to recreate that. So we are happy with our decision.’
Fratton Park work is ongoing in North Stand lower and the South Stand, before culminating with the construction of a new Milton End.
Eric Eisner added: ‘It took us two years just to figure out Fratton Park, nobody had really studied it.
‘Yes there had been studies on moving it 180 degrees and this and that, but none were related to actually putting bricks in the ground and hammering away, so for the first couple of years we just studied and came up with different solutions.
‘Overall, we were looking at huge capacity cuts, they were looking for big stuff that hadn’t really been focused on in years.
‘There would have been a big capacity shut down, you would have been playing in front of fewer than 10,000 fans,’
A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron
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