Portsmouth Football Club have kicked off a multi-million pound redevelopment of Fratton Park that will take place over the next four seasons.
The club said that despite significant investment in recent years on the underlying stadium fabric and infrastructure – including the North Stand and South Stand cladding, roof and main structures – it has continued to face major challenges to meet ever tightening health and safety regulations across all areas of the stadium.
The club announced in August 2020 that planning permission had been granted for the development of a new Milton End, which would not only increase the capacity of the stand, but also provide enhanced access and modern facilities for both home and away disabled fans, as well as flexibility in how to efficiently accommodate visiting supporters.
In the past year, Portsmouth FC said it worked to determine how best to incorporate this project into the redevelopment work required in the North and South stands and minimise the overall impact on all its fans.
Given the continued uncertainty over potential Covid-19 restrictions for the 2021/22 season, the club have decided to implement a comprehensive works programme. This will commence in the North and South stands and culminate with the Milton End project, with timings updated as the project develops.
Portsmouth Football Club said it is confident that this investment programme will enhance the Fratton Park atmosphere loved by supporters.
Key benefits will include improved access, new concession facilities, increased concourse areas, new seats, new electrical infrastructures and a longer-term decoration programme, along with the provision of accessible facilities for disabled supporters in all four stands.
The club said in a statement:
While this work is being undertaken, there will unfortunately be cuts to our existing capacity, with numbers to be confirmed. However, on completion, the overall capacity of the ground will rise above 20,000.
We remain in dialogue with local government about much needed infrastructure improvements in the local vicinity to facilitate access to the stadium along the key transportation routes to Fratton Park. This remains a core strategic objective towards realising our ultimate ambitions for Fratton Park and the surrounding area.
Pompey chairman Michael Eisner added:
Significant investment has already taken place over the past few years to keep the stadium safe, including keeping the South and North stand open. During this period, both in terms of a requirement of investment into infrastructure, strategic asset purchases, and Covid losses, £10 million has already been spent, along with a further commitment from myself for these works of an additional £10 million.
Everyone is aware that while Fratton Park is an atmospheric stadium, it is also incredibly old, and we have reached a stage where due to the amount of work required internally at the ground, our capacity was going to be severely affected. We have also now committed to a new Milton End, that will not only stop this from happening, but will also eventually ensure we can welcome more than 20,000 passionate fans back into the ground.”
Andrew Cullen, Pompey CEO, said:
I’m grateful to all those who have contributed to developing and finalising a significant and inclusive works programme to restore the stadium capacity back above 20,000.
It is vitally important for supporters to have every confidence that Fratton Park remains a safe place to visit and I would like to thank everyone for their patience and understanding while these works are taking place.
I would also like to thank Michael Eisner, his family and the board for funding these improvements. Although these are challenging financial times for everyone, the significant level of investment in this project importantly reflects Tornante’s firm and continued commitment to Portsmouth Football Club.