POMPEY have a training base for the long-term future.
And bringing the Academy into a full-time home at their Roko hub will ensure that status for their Hilsea centre is cemented.
Everything is tied in nicely together now for the club to have a base for the foreseeable future.Mark Catlin
Chief executive Mark Catlin is confident the Blues’ extended training camp will be in place for the start of next season.
That’s after the phenomenal fan-funding efforts of supporters allowed that to become a reality.
The Tifosy scheme raised £270,000 last year – the largest crowdfunding project in the UK – to acquire land at Rugby Camp to build two additional pitches.
Catlin believes the move marks the next step in the club’s development, as he outlined how the process will progress.
He said: ‘It had to go through a planning process and it met some opposition from some local residents.
‘We have looked to allay those fears and planning has been approved.
‘We had to finish tying up the loose ends with the council. Everything is tied in nicely together now for the club to have a base for the foreseeable future.
‘I feel we are going in the right direction as a club.
‘We are looking to start work in the next few weeks with regards to getting the site fenced off.
‘Early in the new year and the spring, we would look to start work on the pitches. It’s hard to do that over the winter but we can get a lot of the prep work done.
‘We are confident the pitches will be ready for the start of 2016-17 pre-season.’
Catlin explained there is further work which can be carried out at the training ground moving forward as an ongoing process.
But the links with other sites, such as University of Portsmouth’s Langstone Campus will remain in place.
Catlin said: ‘We won’t be burning our bridges with all the other venues we have used.
‘It’s nice having the base and we may have to go off with the other age groups.
‘You go into anywhere and you make improvements as you go along.
‘But we will do things as and when we can afford them.
‘The next step is to get the two pitches right and we are looking to improve the offices as we go along and adding equipment.’
Catlin confirmed there will also be a tribute to the supporters who raised funds at their base.
He said: ‘The wall to thank supporters for their contribution to the training ground will go up at some point in November.’