Fans who struggle to see the action clearly at Fratton Park are turning in increasing numbers to the club’s free audio-described commentary service to help them follow the play.
The initiative – introduced in 2015 in partnership with the Pompey Disabled Supporters’ Association, who originally bought the equipment – uses a talented band of volunteers.
This team are specially trained to describe the action for supporters and it is a very different skill to radio commentary.
Danny Parkinson, who coordinates the volunteers, explained: “The needs of those who are visually impaired are very different to those listening to the radio.
“Ours is a service to help people have a better experience in the stadium and be fully aware of what is happening on the pitch, even if they can’t see clearly themselves.”
The Pompey AD programme has provided a pathway to professional broadcasting, with former Express FM commentator Niall McCaughan a prime example.
In addition to Danny, the team currently comprises Dan Shaw, Dan Casey, Frankie Rudland and Mark Coates, who – working in trios – deliver commentary on a rota basis. Leon Stratten assists with delivering the AD transmitters and headsets to the seats of fans.
“You need three people as it is quite intense providing the level of detail,” added Danny.
Colin Farmery, who heads up inclusion at the club, said: “This is an important service to our supporters and the quality of the commentary delivered is outstanding. This is a highly technical skill and the team provide a top-notch service.
“We have a core of people who enjoy the service regularly, but we have scope to increase the numbers who use it.”
Home or away fans wanting to use the service should contact the club’s ticketing DLO Courtney Hollier (firstname.lastname@example.org or 0345 646 1898) at least 24 hours before a game. Early booking is advised as there are a limited number available.
The transmitter will be delivered to your seat 15-30 minutes before kick-off and can be returned via the VIP entrance in Frogmore Road or by handing it to the nearest steward.
A headset can be provided, but it is recommended supporters bring their own. The commentary starts about ten minutes before kick-off.