Summer Pompey rebuilding job excites McInnes

Pompey chairman Iain McInnes
Pompey chairman Iain McInnes

It’s a summer rebuilding job for Pompey, although on this occasion bricks and mortar occupy Iain McInnes’ attention.

Inevitably there will be managerial and personnel changes at the end of a campaign which fans hope can result in securing their Football League status.

Running parallel is a massive overhaul of the club’s infrastructure both at Fratton Park and their soon-to-be-announced Roko training ground.

External investment will fund the relaying of the oft-criticised Fratton pitch and the construction of improved disabled facilities.

In addition, crucial health and safety work will be carried out to bring the ground up towards its full capacity, having had some of its seats condemned last summer.

Throw in the imminent confirmation of a new training home in Hilsea and Pompey chairman McInnes believes vital foundations are being dug off the field.

He said: ‘Our finances are far better than we could have expected, thanks primarily to the increase in income from the fans – who have been incredibly supportive and loyal – and also extra income voluntarily offered by other investors in the football club.

‘It enables us to carry out something in the region of £1m worth of work at Fratton Park at the end of the season.

‘It’s quite clear the pitch is not acceptable, it’s quite clear previously the pitch was not properly dealt with, there is a task force working on that – probably headed up by Mick Williams – where we are looking to dig up the pitch completely and replace all the drainage which has been such a major issue.

‘We will hopefully have planning permission approved for a dedicated section for disabled supporters and that will enable us to do two things – protect them from weather and also allow more of them to come in as we have a waiting list.

‘We will also increase the safety for the stadium to above base-level standards, which will get us back up to the capacity which it was before.

‘We couldn’t possibly even conceive doing that from our original budget and our original income.’

As initially revealed by The News on January 24, Roko’s Copnor Road base is to serve as the new club training ground.

Lawyers are presently thrashing out the final details but McInnes is excited over the emergence of Pompey’s own training home.

He added: ‘The training ground is crucial and so close to being announced.

‘This will be a marker for the new regime in terms of making an investment, not just a pie in the sky investment but a proper investment in a long-term home for the future players of this famous old football club.

‘It’s a facility that enables us to attract players. Even at this level the professional ones actually want to come and see your facilities and training ground before making a decision.

‘It also makes the manager’s job much easier from the preparation and planning from a strategic point of view.

‘And, of course, it avoids what happened this year when we had no option but to train on Fratton Park and do untold damage to what was already a surface that deteriorated quicker than any time I remember.’