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Official Review by Gary Foxall, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
Fratton Park is the home of English Football Championship club Portsmouth (Nicknamed Pompey) and the stadium's name is derived from the suburb of the city in which the stadium is located. The club has played at Fratton Park since its founding in 1898 and the stadium is a typical design of that era, remaining as one of the few old fashioned stadiums left in British football.
The ground is tightly hemmed in between housing estates with the traditional floodlight pylons being visible some distance away. The stadium now has cover on all four sides with the previously open Milton End being roofed in 2007. The main stand was designed by the renowned football ground architect Archibald Leitch with the North Stand being of a similar structure. The Fratton End is the traditional home end with the Milton End being the area where away supporters are located. This area is sometimes opened up to Pompey supporters depending on the number of visiting supporters attending. The record attendance for Fratton Park is 51,385 which was set in 1949 however the current all seated capacity is 20,821.
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Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
Pre match drinking takes place in a number of Public Houses near to the stadium with the Milton Arms and Sheppard's Crook being the favourites of the home supporters. There is also a retail park adjoining the stadium where you will find McDonalds and KFC.
There are a number of Burger Vans on the approach to the stadium and the Ocean Swell Fish & Chip Shop on Copnor Road is a five minute walk from the ground. Although on the outskirts of the city, Mother Kelly's Fish & Chip Restaurant on Southampton Road is well worth a detour and comes highly recommended. Inside the stadium you will find kiosks selling the normal range of hot dogs, burgers, and hot and cold drinks at normal stadium prices.
Although Fratton Park has seen better days, it is still a stadium that supporters look forward to visiting. Yes it lacks the new corporate facilities of its new or upgraded counterparts, but is one of the few stadiums left where the atmosphere makes the stadium rock when full to capacity. Those present when Pompey played A.C. Milan in November 2008 will vouch that the old lady was virtually moving on that occasion.
Most of the singing originates from the Fratton End the home of the hard core Pompey fan base but can also be boisterous when Pompey supporters are allowed to sit in the Milton End now that it is covered.
Portsmouth is the home of the British Royal Navy and the city prides itself on its association with both the Navy and its Football Club. The city and its surrounding areas are an ideal holiday base for visiting Hampshire and the South Coast.
The New Forest is a mere thirty-five minutes away down the M27 and the Isle of Wight is easily accessible by ferry and hovercraft from the city. Cross Channel ferry crossings to France also run daily.
Within the city there is plenty to do before your visit to Fratton Park. Southsea has a large park adjoining the sea front and here you will also find the Sea Life Centre, D Day Museum and Southsea Pier. Further down the seafront are the Royal Marines Museums and plenty of other museums can be found in Gosport which is five minutes away using the Gosport Foot Ferry.
In addition to the High Street shops in the city centre there is also a Retail Shopping Outlet at Gunwharf Quays, a five minute bus ride from the city. Gunwharf Quays is well worth a visit, as well as a wide range of designer shops it also offers Bars, Restaurants, Night clubs and the Spinnaker Tower which offers excellent views of the city and surrounding areas. Portsmouth and Southsea has a wide selection of hotels and Bed & Breakfast accommodation.
Pompey fans are renowned for being some of the most loyal in the British game and this has been evident of late as the club's die hards have witnessed the club's fall from the glory of having won the F.A. Cup in 2008, to the brink of extinction in 2010. The previous mis-management of the club by its former owners have driven Pompey fans to the brink of despair but with the club now under new ownership, the Blue Army have plenty to look forward to.
The Pompey band consisting of drummers, bell ringers and bugle players spend each home game in the Fratton End and originate the chorus of match day anthems. They are also vocal at away games particularly when they are allowed to take their musical instruments in to visiting stadiums. Main rivals are Southampton (Nicknamed Scum) and they are located seventeen miles down the M27. The rivalry dates back to the days of the dock yard strikes and derby games between the two clubs and are heated affairs.
There are a number of ways of reaching the stadium by road with the easiest route being down Eastern Parade(A2030) which can be reached via the A27. An alternate route is to take the M275 into the city and then follow either the Fratton or Southsea signs. There are a few small car parks offering match day parking for Ł5 but the majority of parking is in the adjoining side streets which can be difficult particularly for evening games. Fratton Railway station is a mere five to ten minute walk from the stadium. Southampton or London Gatwick are the nearest airports with good public transport connections.
Admission prices of Ł27 with concessions for O.A.P's and Juniors are the norm for this level of football and are good value compared to the English Premiership. Pompey did reduce their prices when they were relegated from the top level of the English game and are proactive in offering initiatives to entice supporters.
There are various betting shops within the stadium and stadium tours are only sometimes available. The dispute with their former owners has recently seen the club shop down sized and relocated to a different area of the stadium complex. There is a larger club shop selling the normal range of replica strips and other souvenirs located within the Cascades Shopping Centre in the city centre.
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111 Goldsmith Ave
Portsmouth, England PO4 8QZ
44 (0) 23 9282 0100
221 Southampton Rd
Portsmouth, England PO6 4PY
023 9221 9149
Southsea, England PO5 3PB
Southsea, England PO5 3AA
023 9282 7261
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