Portsmouth: Training ground restrictions barring future Academy upgrade

Pompey admit they require a new Academy home if they are to upgrade to Category 2 level.

Sunday, 17th November 2019, 4:45 pm
Mark Kelly continues to overseen Pompey Academy's successful production line. Picture: Keith Woodland

Mark Kelly’s set-up presently operates at Category 3, with their under-18s based at the Blues’ Copnor Road training ground.

However, among the stipulations for improving their youth-team status is access to an indoor playing surface.

Pompey presently do not possess such facilities at the Roko venue they occupy on a 30-year lease.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

And Mark Catlin revealed they would need to relocate their youngsters should they harbour ambitions to transform into a Category 2 Academy.

Pompey’s chief executive said: ‘At some point in the future, giving us being in the Championship or Premier League, we may look to step up to Category 2 – but to achieve that status you need infrastructure like an indoor sports complex and other requirements.

‘We are actively looking (for areas) and have had numerous discussions with various groups, including the Navy. If a facility we can purchase becomes available, it is something we are actively looking to do.

‘Roko is very difficult in regards of the size, it is a little bit disjointed, and you can’t buy the freehold. Ideally, we’d want to buy the freehold because you don’t want to be investing significantly into something on a leasehold basis.

‘Such a facility at this moment in time where a freehold is available, where we can build a training ground fit for the Academy and first-team, with a requirement of eight pitches and an indoor area, doesn’t exist.

‘We have been speaking to the Rugby Camp and there is ongoing dialogue. The council own it but the Rugby Camp have a long lease and, rightly, are very protective of their facility.

‘We are supporting Clare Martin and the Pompey Supporters’ Trust in what they are trying to do with Moneyfields, we had a meeting on Wednesday, so there are a lot of things ongoing.

‘Unfortunately, we live in a densely-populated island with very little open space. We may have to, at some point, move off the island to establish such a facility.’

The Blues currently possess four-and-a-half pitches at Roko, with two of those rotated by the first-team.