Stay at Fratton Park or find an alternative site? Prominent Portsmouth supporters give their verdict

The Tudor entrance at Fratton Park. Picture: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
The Tudor entrance at Fratton Park. Picture: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
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It’s a hot topic of conversation among fans: should Pompey remain at Fratton Park or seek an alternative location?

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

Although owner Michael Eisner wants to remain at the historic 120-year stadium, Catlin feels that unless backing is given, alternatives will need to be brought on to the agenda.

With that in mind, we’ve spoken to three prominent supporters to gauge whether they'd rather the Blues remain at PO4 or move elsewhere...

Basher Benfield – Pompey Disabled Supporters' Association chairman

I’d rather stay at Fratton Park at the moment. There’s no point running before you can walk.

Some people might say they want a 40,000-50,000-seater stadium. Yes, we had all these people turn up at Wembley, but they’re not going to be there every week.

If you go back to the 1940s and 1950s, the average attendance was around 32,000.

Bar the big games, you’re looking to a similar scenario as now.

We’ve got to improve it bit by bit and see where it takes us. Many clubs have moved and lost their soul – look at the hassle at West Ham, Stoke and my cousin who’s a season-ticket holder up the road even says it’s soulless there.

We need to stay where we are at the moment. If we’re looking at it 10-15 years down the line, we may have to move – but where to?

We’d have to rule out King George V playing fields and there are the brent geese at Farlington – although that might have changed if their nesting habits have.

Southsea Common would be ideal but that is not going to happen, while you’re finishing in the dark with Portsmouth Grammar School’s playing fields in Hilsea because they might not want to sell the land.

It’s a catch 22. There’s the idea of turning the ground around again but that’s going to cost a lot of money.

You might be able to extend the Fratton End. Newcastle’s St James’ Park is lopsided but looks very good.

David Richardson – Northern Blues secretary

The general feeling is we’d rather stay at Fratton Park – or somewhere within the city.

Having visited grounds like Oxford, Wigan and Reading, it takes the heart out of the club when you’re so far away from everything.

The trouble is there isn’t anywhere really available on Portsea Island. If they talked about the Hard again, I’d be very upset, while Farlington is too far out.

Generally, the Fratton Park area is the best.

I know there’ll be a bit of upset while any work is being done but I’m sure there are some ingenious solution in some way.

Fratton Park desperately needs improvement – there is no doubt about that.

The lack of disabled facilities in the Milton End comes up time and time again. We’d struggle to be accepted in the Championship if we don’t sort that out because you can’t have away supporters in the home section – especially the Fratton End – if they’re disabled.

The solution has to be viable and in the community.

The reason we sold the club as shareholders is because it needed more than we could afford. That’s why they got it so cheap.

Pam Wilkins – former Pompey Supporters’ Trust board member

I’ve always been in favour of remaining at Fratton Park – it’s in the heart of the city.

There's been a lot of research done in the past few years and nobody has been able to identify a site on the island and you’d have to go some distance.

There is Furze Lane but Locksway Road is quite narrow and they’d have to have proper infrastructure.

I must admit I was surprised to see the Mark Catlin story and I’ve always had the impression the Eisners want to stay at Fratton Park.

I know there’s the sub-station which would have to be moved but they’ve got all the residents’ permission to do the South Stand.

If you moved the stadium, a lot more people will have to drive or use public transport because a lot of people can walk currently.

If you’re going to move it’s got to be on the island but it’s so overcrowded there isn’t really anywhere.’