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Emergono le prime indiscrezioni sulle linee di sviluppo al vaglio Pompey Stadium Working Group per gli interventi di riammodernamento dello stadio Fratton Park, portsmouth.co.uk riporta alcuni passaggi di un'intervista ad alcuni dei componenti del gruppo di lavoro, Mike Saunders, Mark Catlin e Peter Lee, che danno le prime indicazioni sugli aspetti oggetto di analisi e di possibile intervento nel prossimo futuro.

Il Pompey Stadium Working Group è nato a seguito dell'assemblea dei soci del Pompey Supporters Trust dello scorso marzo(qui dettagli) per formare un tavolo di analisi con i principali soggetti coinvolti nel club: gli amministratori della società, il Pompey Supporters' Trust e il gruppo dei Presidents(qui dettagli), ha coinvolto circa 50 volontari ed ha già prodotto due studi distinti di interventi per il breve e lungo periodo la cui sintesi sarà presentata nel report ufficiale che sarà redatto per  primi mesi del 2017.

Le prime indicazioni chiare sono l'intenzione di intervenire sulla struttura esistente, sono state passate al vaglio alcune alternative ma sia per i tifosi sia per le oggettive condizioni degli altri siti sembra scontato l'intervento al Fratton Park e non la costruzione altrove, la capienza finale stimata post intervento è di 30.000 posti.

Dopo la visita al Celtic Park per osservare la Standing Area realizzata dal Celtic FC(Video1 Video2) nella Lisbon Lions Stand(qui dettagli) è probabile che negli interventi programmati nel progetto complessivo, quelli di breve periodo potrebbero cominciare già nella prossima estate, possa rientrare anche un settore con rail seats(seggiolini richiudibili).

The Pompey Supporters’ Trust’s stadium taskforce have delivered their carefully-considered verdict - The future is Fratton Park. portsmouth.co.uk

Mike Saunders.‘People have to be aware this is just the Trust looking at this from a fans’ point of view, this is not how the club is going to do things,’

‘We have advised the club board of our conclusion that Fratton Park holds the best opportunities.
‘Unless there is land nobody has explored before or something comes out of the woodwork, then all sites previously looked at are no longer viable.

‘The best option really is Fratton Park.’ ‘The short-term group had lots of ideas about little things to improve Fratton Park, most of which were implemented in the summer, while other suggestions weren’t viable.

‘The case study group haven’t got going as much as I would have liked. ‘Yet the long-term group have been very active and a draft report based on all sites looked at during the last 40 years was forwarded to the club board in August.

‘Some people have mentioned Furze Lane as a potential site. However, while there is land there, you just cannot get to it down Locksway Road. ‘Another mentioned before is Burnaby Road, which has open land and is close to a train station so potentially is a developable site. But if you can’t get hold of the land there is no point looking. ‘As a city, Portsmouth is so restrictive but the council’s Portsmouth Plan defines the whole of the Fratton Park area as ripe for a stadium.

‘The big bonus is the council are keen for the club to stay and redevelop, which removes planning as a major stumbling block. ‘Some think the site is too tight but there is room to develop a 30,000 ground by either rotating or keeping the same orientation on club land. ‘In terms of stadium development, we have looked at three options.

‘We can keep the same orientation and build a much bigger North Stand and Milton End, extend the Fratton End, before eventually refurbishing the South Stand to ensure the historical features are maintained. ‘Another way would be to rotate it like the 2004 scheme, extending the Fratton End northwards and building a North Stand, creating a capacity of a little more than 30,000.

‘The third option would be to build a new stadium to the north of the ground but, looking at the state of the land which pinches in the middle, it is not ideal and we have abandoned that. ‘It is about pulling all this stuff together, saying what’s possible and then looking down that route.’

Mark Catlin said: ‘It is vitally important in any business you employ people who are specialists in their own given field. ‘You want someone with experience and knowledge in redevelopment and new stadiums, so he can examine the options and different funded models.

‘He will then present a full report to the board so they are able to make an informed decision in regards of the strategy moving forward, whether it be at Fratton Park or elsewhere. ‘I don’t think you can put a time frame on such an important decision. ‘The club will not be rushed into committing to anything until it has looked at the various options and how it is going to fund it.’

Peter Lee. ‘Any decision on staying at Fratton Park or moving to a new stadium at a different location needs to be backed by a financial business case which supports us playing at Championship level or above,’ insisted Lee. ‘For the sake of the long-term health of the club, it would be foolish to make a decision on our stadium infrastructure if it restricts us to only being able to compete League One and Two on an ongoing basis.’

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