County director gives update on pitch

NEWPORT County director Howard Greenhaf has defended the company charged with sorting out the Rodney Parade pitch, but admits the club won’t wait until the end of the season before they see an improvement, writes Michael Pearlman.

As revealed by the Argus in July, the £80,000 project to improve the pitch, paid for and organised by Newport County AFC (with the aid of a grant) wasn’t completed in time and will be finished at the end of the campaign.

The surface was ripped up in the summer for the first time since 1875 by Phil Day Sports, a Midlands-based company who won the tender to do the work and whose clients include Aston Villa and West Bromwich Albion.

As we reported in the summer, the plan was to install improved drainage along with a Dragons-funded £40,000 irrigation scheme. The latter was completed but contractors ran out of time to complete the former due to the state of the grass at the northern end of the ground.

The main drainage channels running the length of the pitch are in place but the sand and gravel slits that run across the pitch and tie the whole system together are only in place from the changing rooms end up to halfway. That leaves the northern end of the pitch – traditionally the most troublesome end – still at risk of flooding with only around 75% of the gravel slits installed according to Greenhaf.

The director, a builder himself, believes everything that can be done to improve the situation is being done, with the contractors at the ground yesterday to put in some more temporary drainage.

“Firstly, there is no issue our end with the contractors because the job not being completed was for a combination of reasons including the schedule we agreed with the rugby clubs,” he said.

“We’ve asked them to come back now to try and help ease the current situation and as soon as the weather turns, if we get a frost or whatever, they will be able to add more of the gravel slits in which will help.

“We have told them we can’t wait until the summer to have the job improved and if possible completed and as soon as the rain eases there will be more work done.

“But this notion that they just did half the pitch and then we all decided we couldn’t be bothered to do more, it’s a total nonsense!

“The fact is the company couldn’t do more because of how things were at the time. We couldn’t put more gravel slits in because the ground disintegrated at the north end. It couldn’t take it. It’s such a complicated undertaking, but obviously the current situation is not ideal for us.”

Comments (12)

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9:46pm Tue 28 Jan 14

foxy3rd says...

Why on earth didn't they do the northern end first , I can't understand why they didn't make sure that end was done. That alone would have got us by for now.
Why on earth didn't they do the northern end first , I can't understand why they didn't make sure that end was done. That alone would have got us by for now. foxy3rd

10:09pm Tue 28 Jan 14

llandaff says...

This looks like the same sort of lethargic reaction that the Environment Secretary eventually made to the people of the Somerset levels.......Too little and far too late!
Why did it take so long for the management to take some action on this with the contractors?
As soon as one game was postponed the warning signs were there for all to see, especially after the experience of last season.

I agree with foxy3rd ....why was the "traditionally most troublesome end" not done first or am I being a bit too simplistic here?

Four home games postponed is just not acceptable for a professional football club.
This looks like the same sort of lethargic reaction that the Environment Secretary eventually made to the people of the Somerset levels.......Too little and far too late! Why did it take so long for the management to take some action on this with the contractors? As soon as one game was postponed the warning signs were there for all to see, especially after the experience of last season. I agree with foxy3rd ....why was the "traditionally most troublesome end" not done first or am I being a bit too simplistic here? Four home games postponed is just not acceptable for a professional football club. llandaff

11:00pm Tue 28 Jan 14

sooty001 says...

I am no builder but just a normal run of the mill football and rugby supporter, but even with my limited knowledge I would have started the North end first, because everyone who has ever been over RP during bad weather knows that the North end is really susceptible to puddles when it rains. We really don't need to hear excuses anymore we need action, but if this rain continues I can see no end to the postponements.My cousin lives in Wycombe and is coming down for the match on 12th April and he sarcastically asked me if the match would be on or would we be playing somewhere else by then.
I am no builder but just a normal run of the mill football and rugby supporter, but even with my limited knowledge I would have started the North end first, because everyone who has ever been over RP during bad weather knows that the North end is really susceptible to puddles when it rains. We really don't need to hear excuses anymore we need action, but if this rain continues I can see no end to the postponements.My cousin lives in Wycombe and is coming down for the match on 12th April and he sarcastically asked me if the match would be on or would we be playing somewhere else by then. sooty001

11:20pm Tue 28 Jan 14

sooty001 says...

sooty001 wrote:
I am no builder but just a normal run of the mill football and rugby supporter, but even with my limited knowledge I would have started the North end first, because everyone who has ever been over RP during bad weather knows that the North end is really susceptible to puddles when it rains. We really don't need to hear excuses anymore we need action, but if this rain continues I can see no end to the postponements.My cousin lives in Wycombe and is coming down for the match on 12th April and he sarcastically asked me if the match would be on or would we be playing somewhere else by then.
As a footnote to my comment Phil Day,s Sports done Aston Villa,s pitch, and very nice it looks to, but you can bet that if they had left it is the same state as ours then there would have been more than a few questions asked,personally I would not let that firm near my allotment.
[quote][p][bold]sooty001[/bold] wrote: I am no builder but just a normal run of the mill football and rugby supporter, but even with my limited knowledge I would have started the North end first, because everyone who has ever been over RP during bad weather knows that the North end is really susceptible to puddles when it rains. We really don't need to hear excuses anymore we need action, but if this rain continues I can see no end to the postponements.My cousin lives in Wycombe and is coming down for the match on 12th April and he sarcastically asked me if the match would be on or would we be playing somewhere else by then.[/p][/quote]As a footnote to my comment Phil Day,s Sports done Aston Villa,s pitch, and very nice it looks to, but you can bet that if they had left it is the same state as ours then there would have been more than a few questions asked,personally I would not let that firm near my allotment. sooty001

12:32am Wed 29 Jan 14

DOWNTHEPIT says...

Everyone new this was going to happen with the weather that was forecast since xmas .i don't know how experienced the groundstaff are at RP but iv'e done a couple of searches on the net . + there are a number of companies who rent out rain covers for soccer + rugby pitches surely this would have helped . if you don't want water to get on something you cover it ???
Everyone new this was going to happen with the weather that was forecast since xmas .i don't know how experienced the groundstaff are at RP but iv'e done a couple of searches on the net . + there are a number of companies who rent out rain covers for soccer + rugby pitches surely this would have helped . if you don't want water to get on something you cover it ??? DOWNTHEPIT

6:54am Wed 29 Jan 14

Pianoman42 says...

The warnings were there last season. What didn't the County get a new pitch like at Cardiff and Swansea? They always play. I've been to both. Fantastic. And why not plan NOW to do this this summer. It can't be lack of cash...........
The warnings were there last season. What didn't the County get a new pitch like at Cardiff and Swansea? They always play. I've been to both. Fantastic. And why not plan NOW to do this this summer. It can't be lack of cash........... Pianoman42

9:53am Wed 29 Jan 14

Jimport says...

foxy3rd wrote:
Why on earth didn't they do the northern end first , I can't understand why they didn't make sure that end was done. That alone would have got us by for now.
Well he does state that it was physically impossible to do the north end, there's not much else to say about that without essentially accusing him of lying.
[quote][p][bold]foxy3rd[/bold] wrote: Why on earth didn't they do the northern end first , I can't understand why they didn't make sure that end was done. That alone would have got us by for now.[/p][/quote]Well he does state that it was physically impossible to do the north end, there's not much else to say about that without essentially accusing him of lying. Jimport

11:01am Wed 29 Jan 14

county mad says...

The northern end continually collapsed during the drainage work the Argus covered the story in depth and bear in mind the pitch has been in place for almost 140yrs
The northern end continually collapsed during the drainage work the Argus covered the story in depth and bear in mind the pitch has been in place for almost 140yrs county mad

2:18pm Wed 29 Jan 14

Jimport says...

County need a purpose-built football stadium, 10,000 capacity but constructed in a manner allowing for easy expansion should the club outgrow it. Off the top of my head, the old Sainsbury's site seems like a potential site. Very long-term I know, but the future comes along pretty quickly!
County need a purpose-built football stadium, 10,000 capacity but constructed in a manner allowing for easy expansion should the club outgrow it. Off the top of my head, the old Sainsbury's site seems like a potential site. Very long-term I know, but the future comes along pretty quickly! Jimport

3:46pm Wed 29 Jan 14

countyjim says...

Jimport wrote:
County need a purpose-built football stadium, 10,000 capacity but constructed in a manner allowing for easy expansion should the club outgrow it. Off the top of my head, the old Sainsbury's site seems like a potential site. Very long-term I know, but the future comes along pretty quickly!
Not big enough Jim and im told that site is sold but cant be used as a retail site for a few more years under the condition of sale
[quote][p][bold]Jimport[/bold] wrote: County need a purpose-built football stadium, 10,000 capacity but constructed in a manner allowing for easy expansion should the club outgrow it. Off the top of my head, the old Sainsbury's site seems like a potential site. Very long-term I know, but the future comes along pretty quickly![/p][/quote]Not big enough Jim and im told that site is sold but cant be used as a retail site for a few more years under the condition of sale countyjim

9:39am Thu 30 Jan 14

Jimport says...

countyjim wrote:
Jimport wrote:
County need a purpose-built football stadium, 10,000 capacity but constructed in a manner allowing for easy expansion should the club outgrow it. Off the top of my head, the old Sainsbury's site seems like a potential site. Very long-term I know, but the future comes along pretty quickly!
Not big enough Jim and im told that site is sold but cant be used as a retail site for a few more years under the condition of sale
Fair enough then, definitely need a new stadium though, it'll have to happen eventually surely!
[quote][p][bold]countyjim[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Jimport[/bold] wrote: County need a purpose-built football stadium, 10,000 capacity but constructed in a manner allowing for easy expansion should the club outgrow it. Off the top of my head, the old Sainsbury's site seems like a potential site. Very long-term I know, but the future comes along pretty quickly![/p][/quote]Not big enough Jim and im told that site is sold but cant be used as a retail site for a few more years under the condition of sale[/p][/quote]Fair enough then, definitely need a new stadium though, it'll have to happen eventually surely! Jimport

3:59pm Mon 3 Feb 14

JimMachen says...

sooty001 wrote:
sooty001 wrote:
I am no builder but just a normal run of the mill football and rugby supporter, but even with my limited knowledge I would have started the North end first, because everyone who has ever been over RP during bad weather knows that the North end is really susceptible to puddles when it rains. We really don't need to hear excuses anymore we need action, but if this rain continues I can see no end to the postponements.My cousin lives in Wycombe and is coming down for the match on 12th April and he sarcastically asked me if the match would be on or would we be playing somewhere else by then.
As a footnote to my comment Phil Day,s Sports done Aston Villa,s pitch, and very nice it looks to, but you can bet that if they had left it is the same state as ours then there would have been more than a few questions asked,personally I would not let that firm near my allotment.
Nice as the pitch at Villa Park may look, I doubt that it had anything to do with Phil Day Sports Ltd.

A brief look at PDS Ltd's Facebook page shows pictures of the work they did on one of Villa's training pitches at their Bodymoor Heath Training Ground just off the A4091 between Wishaw and Tamworth. Nowhere is there any claim to have carried out any work on the pitch at Villa Park.

I may be wrong but I cannot imagine that PDS Ltd would pass up the chance to advertise the fact that they had done work on the Villa Park pitch had that been the case, particularly as they also include photos of remedial work being undertaken at Rodney Parade only six months after their original work was 'completed'.
[quote][p][bold]sooty001[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]sooty001[/bold] wrote: I am no builder but just a normal run of the mill football and rugby supporter, but even with my limited knowledge I would have started the North end first, because everyone who has ever been over RP during bad weather knows that the North end is really susceptible to puddles when it rains. We really don't need to hear excuses anymore we need action, but if this rain continues I can see no end to the postponements.My cousin lives in Wycombe and is coming down for the match on 12th April and he sarcastically asked me if the match would be on or would we be playing somewhere else by then.[/p][/quote]As a footnote to my comment Phil Day,s Sports done Aston Villa,s pitch, and very nice it looks to, but you can bet that if they had left it is the same state as ours then there would have been more than a few questions asked,personally I would not let that firm near my allotment.[/p][/quote]Nice as the pitch at Villa Park may look, I doubt that it had anything to do with Phil Day Sports Ltd. A brief look at PDS Ltd's Facebook page shows pictures of the work they did on one of Villa's training pitches at their Bodymoor Heath Training Ground just off the A4091 between Wishaw and Tamworth. Nowhere is there any claim to have carried out any work on the pitch at Villa Park. I may be wrong but I cannot imagine that PDS Ltd would pass up the chance to advertise the fact that they had done work on the Villa Park pitch had that been the case, particularly as they also include photos of remedial work being undertaken at Rodney Parade only six months after their original work was 'completed'. JimMachen

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