Portsmouth voice stadium concerns with move from Fratton still on table

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Pompey have called for help from the community to stop the Fratton stadium dream turning into a nightmare.

And chief executive Mark Catlin has admitted the Blues may have to reconsider their plans if the support doesn’t appear.

Fratton Park .Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images.

Fratton Park .Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images.

Catlin explained much of the planned development work is hitting barriers outside of the club’s control.

Owner Michael Eisner’s preference to remain at PO4 is well known, but Catlin feels that unless backing is given alternatives will need to be brought on to the agenda.

He said: ‘We are at a stage where we've got a lot of the jigsaw puzzle in place - but it’s not just about us.

‘There's local residents, local businesses and the local council.

‘There's so many hoops to jump through to start the work you want to get on with.  

‘As Michael, the board and myself would be keen to point out we are going to require some give and take.

‘That's from the council, local residents and local businesses, although I can't elaborate on that.

‘We've always said our desire is to stay at Fratton Park, but unless we can get that help and those assurances we are going to be hemmed in forever.

‘As Michael has said, the option to move from Fratton Park remains very much on the agenda.

‘If we can't get the help and assistance we need at Fratton those options are on the table. I want to stress that.

‘Michael loves Fratton Park. We all do.

‘But logistically and operationally it's a nightmare to look at in its current state.

‘And it becomes even more of a nightmare the more you look at solutions to add capacity to get people in.   

‘Contingencies to leave Fratton Park have never left the table.

‘That’s not what we want, but it may prove the case to progress the club.’

Work is continuing on the South Stand this summer while there’s plans for the ground's iconic floodlights to be removed, with one transferred to the North Stand car park. 

Pompey’s latest accounts show £1.2m invested in the club's home in the last financial year, with Catlin previously stating around £1m-a-year is needed to see the ground fulfil health and safety requirements – a figure which is proving to be accurate. 

The chief executive feels that shows the club's commitment to Fratton Park - but support is needed.

He added: ‘Michael loves it here and we will continue to address the health and safety and regulatory issues.

‘There are other projects in the pipeline, too.     

‘As a board and executive team we know what the plans are and we're very excited about them.

‘But we’re at a stage where many things are outside of our hands

‘We can’t start until all the various boxes are ticked unfortunately.  

‘To meet the ambitions of Pompey fans at Fratton Park was always going to be a tough ask.

‘We can do that, but we need help and assistance. I stress that again.

‘We need from the local council, local businesses and local residents to get on board with us to turn our plans into reality.’