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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Article : Stadium Plans Revealed

Peter Storrie had a word for it: perfection. We've have another one: beautiful. As far away from getting soaked on boilermakers' hump or crushed in a Frogmore Road queue - and I've done both - as you could imagine, but as a vision for a 21st Century football club in a 21st Century city, Pompey's new plans should be welcomed with open arms by anyone who has PFC or the city at heart.

Those - friend and foe - who scoffed at the commode concept of The Hard, can have no such reservations about Herzog and De Mauron's vision for Horsea Island.

This new plan is simply gorgeous. If (when) it comes off, Portsmouth will have the best ground in the country.

Not the biggest, but one which will set the standard by which football stadia are judged in the mid 21st century. A delicate convex in concrete and, what's that? water? steel cable? Whatever. It looks fantastic.

Now the real challenges begin, but even there Pompey seem to already have their glass two thirds full. The City Council are clearly on board in principle and the Navy - clearly sensing a chance to hitch its star to a football club in clear ascendancy - are signed up to making this project happen.

The only issue - as a Portsmouth resident as much as a Pompey fan - is the transport question.

How will Pompey get 36,000 people - potentially more as this venue is a dead cert for the World Cup should England's bid be successful - on to inaccessible land tucked behind a tip?

The answer is simple. They will get there with vision. The vision of the planning department at Portsmouth City Council and Portsmouth Football Club.

This project has to be made to work. Rip up the route map and think far beyond the confines of Portsea Island. Do that and anything is possible.

Throw in a 10,000 capacity indoor arena and suddenly Portsmouth is looking no longer a provincial conurbation, who happened to get lucky one season with Sacha Gaydamak's money and win the FA Cup to put them on the map.

Instead, Portsmouth could become a national and regional centre, capable of dominating the local economy and sporting topography for the foreseeable future.

And the 36,000 who were 'at' the Stockport game in 1998 should welcome that...

Colin Farmery (www.pompey-fans.com)


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