Portsmouth's Fratton End to undergo facelift as part of Fratton Park's £11.5m redevelopment

The Fratton End is earmarked for a facelift – although it will consist entirely of new seating.

By Neil Allen
Friday, 1st October 2021, 12:30 pm
Pompey are planning to replace all seats in the Fratton End. Picture: Habibur Rahman
Pompey are planning to replace all seats in the Fratton End. Picture: Habibur Rahman

However, the 24-year-old Fratton End does not require a similar overhaul.

Opened in October 1997, construction of the £2.2m stand was overseen by chairman Terry Venables and represents the last major work carried out at Fratton Park.

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It remains in excellent condition, with the installation of new seating the sole item on the agenda.

The Fratton End contains 4,500 seats and, according to Steve Cripps, managing director of PMC Construction and Development Services, the upgrade could be carried out ahead of the 2023-24 season.

He told The News: ‘Like the North Stand upper, seats from the Fratton End will be sold off to the fans when the time comes - and we expect the same sort of popularity.

‘This will probably take place in 2023-24, because there is already enough going on next year in the close season, and working on two other stands is complicated enough.

The Fratton End was opened in October 1997 and requires the least work in Pompey's £11.5m redevelopment. Picture: Joe Pepler

‘A season may close in May, play-offs aside, then you come back in July for the friendlies, so all we get is six or so weeks.

‘What you also don’t appreciate is the groundsman rips up his pitch, let’s say in the third week of May, and it then takes four weeks to grow. So we aren’t allowed anywhere near the pitch area.

‘These will be straight replacement seats in the same style and colour as those already introduced in the North Stand upper.

‘The Fratton End is actually largely protected from the weather. We don’t get the rain driving in there, unlike the other three stands, so the seats are in a better condition.

Steve Cripps, managing director of PMC Construction and Development Services, who are overseeing Fratton Park's development. Picture: Habibur Rahman

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‘The bulk of the Fratton End seats are hardly touched by the weather, other than a few in the drip line. This is caused by sprinklers, though, not the weather.

‘But, in the main, the seats are fine at present.’

The four-phase Fratton Park development is expected to be completed in the summer of 2024.

The Fratton End, as photographed in September 2020. Picture: Habibur Rahman

That will bring the ground’s capacity above 20,000, although more precise numbers have yet to be finalised.

In the meantime, the ground presently holds around 17,600, with the North Stand lower next earmarked for redevelopment from December.

When work does come around to the Fratton End, however, decisions have to be taken whether to continue having the picture of the legendary Jimmy Dickinson and Pompey’s badge in the seats.

Cripps added: ‘I am not so sure about those because, at the moment, a lot of clubs are dropping logos off their stands.

‘But, to be fair, that hasn't been discussed yet. That will be for the owners and those involved in the club’s history.

‘A lot of these modern stadiums don’t have anything on their seats, they are just plain. It makes it easier to replace them as you’ll need to get seats which are a multitude of colours, yet the colours are now discontinued.

‘We will, however, continue the ‘PFC’ lettering which is in the North Stand lower as it is consistent and in correct modules.’

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