Catlin eyes Roko moving-in date for Pompey

Mark Catlin. Picture: Joe Pepler
Mark Catlin. Picture: Joe Pepler

Mark Catlin is targeting a mid-November unveiling of Pompey’s completed training ground.

The Blues are presently awaiting the outcome of the latest planning application lodged with the city council for the Roko venue.

Phase one of the £1.1m project is almost over, with the pitch and changing rooms ready to be used.

The phase two construction of offices – now incorporating Academy staff as a result of the Tifosy success – remains ongoing.

Provided an alteration to existing planning permission is granted, Andy Awford and his squad can switch to the site in around nine weeks.

In the meantime, the Academy are to trial the facilities next month.

And Catlin is delighted with the progress.

The Blues’ chief executive said: ‘Hopefully it will be ready in the middle of November – and that should be a proud day for everyone.

‘The pitches are ready and the changing rooms are ready, so we are looking at the youth team coming over next month.

‘They will be training here, changing here, using all the facilities to ensure everything is okay in preparation for the first team.

‘Once ready, this will be as good as most training grounds out there – definitely better than most in League One and League Two.

‘In the Championship there are some pretty poor training grounds, if I am honest.

‘Then if you go into League Two there are some pretty good ones.

‘Burton is an example – they train at St George’s Park, so lucky them!

‘As far as pitches go, it is everything the club could have dreamt of in regards to an indoor swimming pool, a gym, our own changing rooms and the quality of the pitches.

‘In its own right it would cost millions to build a Roko facility which we have effectively got use of being positioned here.’

Pompey have signed a 30-year lease to settle at the Copnor Road venue in Hilsea.

It is the culmination of contributions from the presidents, the Pompey Supporters’ Trust and through the Tifosy scheme.

For Catlin, it has created a legacy to be admired.

He added: ‘We are creating longevity for the football club. It is not about this year or next year – it’s where the club is going to be in five, 15 or 20 year’s time.

‘That is an edict from everyone at the club, we are all pulling in the same direction.

‘There are no short-term fixes. Everything we are going to do is for the long-term interests of the football club.

‘It’s a 30-year lease, that’s a long time, a lot can happen in 30 years, you never know where we might be in 10 years.

‘We might be in a fantastic position where other options maybe come up for us.

‘But there is so much flexibility around this site that it can fulfil every ambition we’ve got as regards a training ground.’