Portsmouth's disappearing pylons: Is this really progress?

The Fratton floodlights are taken down / Picture by Colin Farmery
The Fratton floodlights are taken down / Picture by Colin Farmery
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One by one the Fratton floodlight pylons are being taken away and it seems I’m not the only one (as I did think at one stage I might be) who’s sad to see them go.

When I first wrote about how sorry I was to hear the four Fratton towers were being dismantled, most replies were by the way of ‘well you can’t stand in the way of progress’.

Having now sat through a floodlit game with the new lights working along the roof the South Stand, I’m not sure what kind of progress the change represents.

Does anyone else find the new lights quite glaring and distracting? I do. Maybe there was a good reason football floodlights were generally put at the top of tall pylons – so the bulbs, which because of the job they’re doing obviously need to be powerful, are not anywhere near spectators’ eye-line as they watch the game. Just a thought.

Johnny Moore wrote a lovely piece in the programme about how he was sad to see the end of the towers that had always been like his guide to Fratton.

And Steve Jerome of Southsea emailed me to say similar: “I too think it is a real shame that we are losing them. Whenever I come into Portsmouth from Fareham down the motorway on the X4 bus after work I always look out for the Fratton Park pylons, and seeing them always brings that feeling of home to me.

“When they go it will feel like a part of Pompey has gone with them. I will be sad to see them go.”

We’re told (I think) that the removal of the pylons will allow corners of the ground to be filled in and the capacity to be increased, but we’ve had no real explanation of when and if that will actually happen.

In the meantime, I can’t help wondering what other feature of lovely old Fratton Park will be next to be taken to the scrapyard in the name of progress.

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