Football League 'concerned' by Rodney Parade postponements
NEWPORT County AFC chief executive Dave Boddy says the club has been contacted by the Football League regarding the number of games postponed at Rodney Parade this season.
County have seen four home matches called off because of a waterlogged pitch since December 21 and are desperate to ensure that tomorrow’s clash with Fleetwood Town goes ahead as planned.
But the Exiles insist that the much-publicised ‘drainage issues’ at the ground they share with Newport RFC and the Newport Gwent Dragons are not to blame.
Boddy says that even if work on the pitch had been completed last summer they would still have lost matches to the weather because of the amount of rain that has fallen.
“January was the wettest on record so we need to stop banging on about the drainage,” said Boddy.
“We would have lost the New Year’s Day game and the Dagenham fixture even if the drainage work had been completed. The issue is the amount of rain, not the drainage.”
Club director Howard Greenhaf, whose background is in construction and civil engineering, added: “There are no drainage issues. There are more drains on that pitch than ever before.
“One half of the gravel banding wasn’t completed but the drains are there. It is the pure volume of water that means it’s not getting to the drains.”
Boddy was part of a team of staff and volunteers who covered the Rodney Parade pitch following Tuesday night’s Newport v Aberavon Welsh Premiership rugby fixture.
And he heaped praise on the fans that helped out in an effort to get tomorrow’s game on.
“It was my initiative to get the covers on because the forecast is horrendous,” said Boddy.
“We had 14mm of rain on Tuesday night and another 6mm on Wednesday morning and we’re getting pumps in now to get that water off the top of the covers.
“We’re hopeful that it will give us a chance of getting Friday’s game on because we can’t afford to lose another fixture.
“The Football League has written to us with their concerns and I’d really like to thank the volunteers who helped out with the covers.
“I was out there and it was horrific conditions,” he added. “We got soaked but it was a phenomenal effort and showed the spirit of the fans at this club.”
Mark Jones, head of operations at Rodney Parade, is just as frustrated by the persistent precipitation.
“I never envisaged we’d have this amount of rain,” said Jones. “I’ve been working here for 28 years and never known anything like this.
“There would be lots of pitches struggling with one team, let alone three playing on it.
“There will be as much water underneath the covers as there is on top so we we’ll see how it looks when we take them off on Friday morning.”
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