New Stadium Thoughts

Last updated : 26 April 2007 By Jim Bonner
You've probably all seen the pictures by now and all formed your own opinions on Pompey's plans for the future. The first thought that came to my head when I saw them was "wow!" and that it looked like something you'd find in Dubai and not Gunwharf.

The project does seem very ambitious and I commend Portsmouth FC for coming up with something so characteristic and innovative (though I'm sure some of you will disagree). There are some issues that I'm not quite sure about though.

Planning Permission

You can guarantee that this will be a major thorn in the side just like it has been in our previous proposals and it looks extremely likely that the latest vision will be met with a public inquiry, and for those residents who don't support Portsmouth FC then that could be a problem as there's already noises coming from them saying that they won't allow it to happen and that the suggestions are ridiculous. The environmentalists have also raised questions about what the new proposal would do to the eco-system.

I can see trouble ahead regarding this issue...


Access around Gunwharf can be a nightmare as it is, so could you imagine 36,000 fans trying to get out at the same time? It's a good thing that they plan to build apartments attached to the stadium because I can see people buying them just to avoid painful journeys home! Fans coming from places further from Fratton with no rail links aren't going to like the extra driving but the club hope to have a park and ride scheme in place by then. Whether that can be implemented at an affordable price remains to be seen but I have my doubts. It'll also mean more expensive rail fares for many fans and those living in Gosport will more than likely have to ferry across.

The Economy

With the new stadium needing more staff, security etc the proposal will create many more jobs and provide many more homes on top of the new housing scheme to be developed after Fratton Park is bulldozed. How much revenue would the likes of The Good Companion and The Brewers Arms lose once Fratton Park is gone though and are there enough pubs around Gunwharf to potentially accomadate 36,000 fans?

Stadium Capacity

Could we sell out a 36,000 seater stadium on a regular basis? Obviously you'd expect the stadium to be full for when the big guns visit but there could be a real prospect that in the 2011/2012 season we could be playing Doncaster Rovers in a Premiership fixture. With all due respect to Donny, could you see 36,000 people attending that game with the current price of football and the fact we only have a core fanbase of around 15,000 people? I'm not sure we could and the last thing I'd want to see is a regularly empty stadium.


£600 million is a huge figure for this renovation and it makes you wonder where we're going to get the money from. Obviously revenue from the new Premiership deal is going to play a part but what if the worst happens and we get relegated? That could spell financial disaster. There's talk about a sponsorship deal but it would have to be a pretty huge one to make a significant impact on funding the stadium and if that did happen, you can guarantee that the new stadium will be named after the sponsor (as much as I like some of the names suggested on the messageboard.)

In the grand scheme of things, the cynic inside me believes these proposals too good to be true. There's so much to cover and I've only skimmed the surface with the questions I've asked. If it does get built I can't see it looking anything like the original vision either.

No doubt there'll be countless stories on this subject in the coming five years, let's just hope that after all this time we finally get what we've been longing for.

(On a side note, I've had a grand total of one entry for the New African Soccer magazine competition. I'll extend the deadline until Monday to see if anyone else enters so give it a go!)