Pompey’s shining lights have given bright new future

New floodlights at Fratton Park. Picture: Joe Pepler
New floodlights at Fratton Park. Picture: Joe Pepler

The two floodlight pylons have been rendered obsolete and on Tuesday night stood silent.

Yet Mark Catlin insists there are no plans to remove the iconic pair following Fratton Park’s lighting overhaul.

We had numerous control boxes which had become corroded and rotten, leaking water and causing short circuits, being close to the sea has also been a big factor in that

Mark Catlin

The pylons positioned either side of the North Stand have been switched off following three months of work designed to bring lighting up to Championship standard.

Instead, new lamps have been positioned along the roof’s edge of the Fratton end, the North Stand and the Milton end to boost the stadium’s illumination.

The work has been carried out by Musco Lighting, regarded as leaders in the field of floodlight technology, and was unveiled for the first time in the mid-week defeat to Exeter.

Irrespective of the result on the pitch, Catlin was delighted with how the lights fared on their first outing.

Meanwhile, the two pylons will remain in existence, even if no longer in use.

Pompey’s chief executive said: ‘On Tuesday night I went on to the pitch before 6.30pm when the lights were warming up and was genuinely taken aback by how good they looked.

‘In conjunction with what I thought was a fantastic playing surface, the lights added an extra touch.

‘It’s not just the lights themselves, it’s the whole system which has been overhauled, such as the mains coming into the stadium to where the lights come on.

‘The light levels were falling drastically season-on-season and there are industry standards to adhere to.

‘We had numerous control boxes which had become corroded and rotten, leaking water and causing short circuits, while being close to the sea has also been a big factor in that.

‘So it has been important to address this – and they are Championship level now.

‘There are discussions ongoing about the future of Fratton Park generally, discussions which will involve supporters over a period of time.

‘The pylons will stay there, however, you never know, they might be used again.

‘There are no plans at all to take them down.’

A host of improvements have been made to Fratton Park since the summer, the work funded by money received from the Tesco development.

Meanwhile, the South Stand’s upper gantry is presently undergoing work to convince Sky cameramen to return to filming matches from up there.

All maintenance has been given the go-ahead by Pompey’s board as they seek to improve supporters’ match-day experience.

Catlin added: ‘Musco are leaders in the field of floodlight technology and have managed the process from start to finish.

‘There were no cutting corners, they did absolutely everything over a three- month period.

‘The report that came back from surveyors on the South Stand stated that stand was not capable of taking on the lights.

‘So the decision has been taken to keep Pylons on that side in use.

‘I am a traditionalist but unfortunately times moves on and we also have to move on. Improvements will continue to be made.’