The Roko facility at Hilsea is currently a building site as I have noticed passing on the train every day but it will hopefully soon be Pompey`s new training home.
Long term contracts are being drawn up for Pompey to relocate to the former Rugby Camp/Civil Service Ground site in time for the start of next season. Although should the pitches not be ready on time the club have a fall back position of an unnamed site in the short term.
Chief Executive, Mark Catlin told the News ‘I am not at liberty to say where it will be yet, hopefully there will be an announcement soon, From the point it is announced, there will be a three-to-four-month period from when the work starts on new pitches to completion. They will require drainage, irrigation, laid, growing, germinating – you name it. This is not like preparing a park`s pitch, this needs to be done properly and if we do it right then, in the future, there will be less work needed to be done on it.`
‘At the moment we have got to let the solicitors do their job. We can`t move into their territory – we don`t want to impinge on that but we are pushing as hard as we can to get it done for pre-season. That is looking tight, but we have a Plan B in place which is perfectly viable and there is a pitch elsewhere being worked on. Even if the pitches are not completed, we could base ourselves from the training ground for pre-season.`
Finances looking very healthy
Catlin has also announced that Pompey are out performing the original business plan to such an extent that debts are being settled earlier that was planned and ex-players should receive their balance due well in advance of the July 2016 deadline.
He said ‘We have out-performed on almost every level on the original budgeted forecast. When it was first presented it looked difficult, so just to achieve those figures was hard – but not only have we achieved them we have far surpassed them.
‘We have what we call an accelerator, an unbudgeted income, and 50 per cent of it goes towards paying the debts off quicker. Every month when we report our figures to the Football League, more and more of that goes towards paying the debt down. The Football League exercise extra-stringent controls on us due to what we have gone through in the past and the legalities of the deed signed to come out of administration. But we are paying back more than anticipated and consistently throughout the season the timing has been brought down.
‘I would love to arrive at the situation where we are debt-free as a club and have money in the bank. If we do that, as a board and as a club we will have done fantastically well an I think it`s a very realistic outcome for where we will be in the next year or two.`
I also gather tickets are going fast for the Hartlepool game on Saturday too which will further boost the coffers. The last two home games with South West clubs Bristol Rovers and Plymouth Argyle also look to be near sell outs as both will bring large followings with them. Of course after that the income stream dries up until Season Ticket Income starts to be received. The club of course because of the precarious League position have not issued any news on prices.
It is fantastic news that the club is paying debts off quicker that planned been a long time since we could say that. We just need to get a few more points in the bag now starting Saturday.