Stadium Switch

If you didn't know already, the plans for Pompey's harbourside stadium have been sunk by the Royal Navy as they are using the land as a base for military aircraft. The club have been forced to re-locate and have announced new plans to build a waterside stadium on Horsea Island.

Chief Executive Peter Storrie says that the plans include at least 1,500 new homes to be built next to the M.O.D's diving school, building a new access road & bridge across tipner lake and possibly the building of a new railway station for Paulsgrove.

The new stadium itself will be built on the 15-acre site next to the diving school and the design will be similar to the one shown in the harbourside plans (although I personally expect many differences between the two come the end of the project, should the proposal ever get that far.)

Storrie has assured everyone that the environment will not be affected and the Geese that scuppered the Farlington proposal will have their own special piece of land for feeding.

Transport is once again the most talked about issue regarding these plans. Cosham station is currently the closest station to the site, so if the Paulsgrove station doesn't go ahead then the many fans travelling to the match by rail will face a long two-mile walk to the ground.

However, the club do want to implement a park and ride scheme to ease these transport worries and have stressed that the new site would be far easier to get to and out of than Fratton Park.

As you'd expect, the news has been met with the usual "it'll never happen" cynicism. Whilst the fans have every right to have this view after all of the other previous proposals, I do believe Sacha will deliver.

The attraction this re-development of not just our stadium, but the city of Portsmouth altogether, was one of the major reasons why he took over in the first place and so I'm confident he will see it through.

The one issue I do ask questions about is why does the site have to be at the waterside? The club seems determined to get an ambitious stadium built by the sea with 36,000 seats but is it really necessary?

I, along with a fair few other fans were happy with the original plans to redevelop Fratton Park. Whilst the plans for The Hard were great, they were far too unrealistic and with the stadium kept at Fratton Park, the club stays true to its roots.

Not only that, but 36,000 seats is a huge number to fill. We're struggling to fill a stadium that barely holds 20,000 fans. I've said it many times before, but I would not want to watch Pompey playing a home game in a half-full stadium.

Whatever happens, we won't know whether this proposal is feasible or not until mid-2008 at earliest after the site has been surveyed and tested. If the site is declared fine to build on, Pompey plan to submit planning permission during next summer and should the council accept, building could start as early as November 2008 with a view to the stadium being ready for the 2011/12 season.

So the stadium saga continues, but is this the first step towards the end of it once and for all?

I wouldn't bet on it....