THE EDITOR’S CHAIR: Rodney Parade ground staff are festive heroes
HATS off to the ground staff at Rodney Parade who worked miracles this week in getting the pitch playable for two big sporting fixtures despite some horrendous weather.
As the rain poured down in the few days after Christmas I thought the chances of Newport Gwent Dragons playing the Ospreys on New Year’s Eve and Newport County taking on Forest Green Rovers less than 24 hours later were slim in the extreme.
If any of you watched the Blues v Dragons match on Boxing Day then you too will be amazed by what was achieved at Rodney Parade this week.
Cardiff Arms Park was an absolute mud bath and produced a farce of a game that, in truth, should never have been allowed to kick off.
I had tickets for both matches at Rodney Parade this week.
If I’m honest, I thought the Dragons game would be on but that County’s match would fall victim to a combination of the weather and the pitch getting churned up by the rugby.
But head of operations Mark Jones and his team did a magnificent job to ensure both games were played.
The pitch looked fantastic before the Dragons game, and although it was in far from perfect condition for the County match on New Year’s Day the playing surface was still far better than anything the football club experienced at their previous home at Spytty Park.
Given that both teams lost – and it was a real drubbing for County at the hands of one of their promotion rivals – some supporters might be thinking it would have been better had the weather claimed both fixtures.
But that would be childish and churlish.
The hard yards put in by the ground staff ensured that the Dragons and County played their key home holiday season fixtures, bringing in much-needed revenue for the clubs.
The reality is the Rodney Parade ground-share has been great for all three clubs involved in it.
The deal was done at relatively short notice in the summer and the arrangement has not been without its problems.
That was inevitable given that having two rugby clubs and a football club sharing one pitch is pretty much unheard of at professional level and that everyone involved in the deal has been learning as they go along.
There will undoubtedly be more challenges, particularly if Rodney Parade is to meet Football League requirements should County gain promotion this season.
But if the management teams at all three clubs show the same desire and determination as the Rodney Parade ground staff, then there are no problems that cannot be solved and there are no limits to what can be achieved.
Bring back Morecambe and Wise
THE end of the festive season brings with it one undeniable highlight – the end of the awful Christmas programmes on the TV.
Perhaps I am looking back with rose-tinted spectacles, but Christmas television always used to be something special and something all the family could enjoy.
Now we get nothing but extralong episodes of the soaps, a much-hyped episode of Doctor Who that never lives up to expectations, and a host of ‘special’ editions of programmes that are on all-year-round anyway.
Bring back Morecambe and Wise, and Billy Smart’s Circus.
Or perhaps I should just get out more.