Portsmouth urge fan patience as new-look South Stand prepares for grand unveiling against Lincoln

Steve Cripps has urged supporter patience as Pompey’s new-look South Stand prepares to open its doors to Football League action.

Lincoln visit Fratton Park on Saturday, marking the first occasion all four stands have been fully in use since Tornante’s ongoing £11.5m redevelopment project began.

The South Stand was at 50 per cent and then 75 per cent capacity during recent test events, which saw it house fans against Coventry and then Pompey Women’s friendly versus Brighton.

However, Saturday represents the opening home fixture of the 2022-23 season – and the first time the stand will be completely operational.

And with minor tweaks still required until October, Cripps believes it may take a little time for supporters to adjust to changes, such as new seating and kiosks.

The managing director of PMC Construction and Development Services told The News: ‘We’re asking fans for a little patient when entering these new areas and experiencing these new facilities, certainly for the first two home games.

‘Don’t forget the South Lower was previously a non-alcohol zone. There’s now alcohol, so there will be different queue points in there until they find the spaces which they prefer.

‘While there's the option of do they come to the kiosks in South Lower or do they go to South Upper.

The new-look South Stand will be fully operational and at capacity for the first time for Saturday's visit of Lincoln. Picture: Jason Brown/ProSportsImages

‘For the Pompey Women game, the South Lower was really busy, whereas the South Upper wasn’t, so it just needs to balance itself out.

‘You have to bear with the (kiosk) staff as well, they are learning. That’s not the case with some of us, we’ve been in the stadium for 12 weeks, we know if off by heart.

‘You have new people coming in and more concessions, so you just have to bear with people serving while they adapt.’

Against Coventry, there was no draft beer on tap in Fratton Park, while power failures and internet failures hit the redeveloped kiosks.

Work is continuing at the south-east entrance of the South Stand.

But such issues have now been resolved ahead of Saturday’s Lincoln launch.

Cripps added: ‘The South Stand is probably 92-95 per cent completed.

‘We have decorations to make throughout the stand, various minor tweaks and improvements, while those areas we find that don’t function to full capacity will be reviewed and rectified.

‘So there will be improvements for the next few months. By the close of October, the fans should have the full experience.’

New kiosks have been introduced to the Frogmore Road entrance of the South Stand, positioned underneath the new lower seating structure.

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During renovation old signage has been discovered at the Frogmore Road entrance to the South Stand.
A changing places room has been introduced to the lower section of the South Stand.