Pitch problems are killing us, says County chief
NEWPORT County AFC say they are ‘devastated’ after last night’s clash with Fleetwood Town became the club’s fifth home fixture to be postponed since December 21 due to a waterlogged pitch.
The Exiles have played only one League Two fixture at Rodney Parade since December 1 and chief executive Dave Boddy admits that the issue is now causing real problems.
The postponement of matches against AFC Wimbledon, Oxford United, Dagenham & Redbridge, Plymouth Argyle and now Fleetwood have cost the club around £180,000.
If the situation continues that will impact the club’s ability to pay players’ and staff wages and on the field Justin Edinburgh’s men have fallen eight points off the play-off places because of the disruption.
Boddy revealed to the Argus on Thursday that the Football League had written to the club but he now says that there is no pressure from the ‘sympathetic’ authorities and sanctions are unlikely at this stage.
Newport Gwent Dragons, who share the ground with County and Newport RFC, are due to host Edinburgh in the RaboDirect Pro 12 tomorrow but that game is subject to a 9am pitch inspection today.
And the Exiles’ home clash on Tuesday against Wimbledon is also in danger of being postponed again.
County did explore the option of switching that game to Wimbledon’s Kingsmeadow ground as the reverse fixture is yet to be played but the Dons rejected that proposal.
“It’s devastating,” said Boddy. “This situation is killing the club.
“We were in a very positive position in the table and in terms of cash flow on December 21.
“But now we’re falling behind our play-off rivals and we’re £180,000 down on where we should be.
“We’ve ridden that situation up to now but we will have to assess where we are in the coming days.
“We’re in a very difficult position that would crucify any business.”
But Boddy moved to dispel any fears that the club could be punished by the Football League for the number of postponements this season – their first back in the League after a 25-year absence.
“The Football League are acutely aware of the situation and are sympathetic, as are other clubs,” said Boddy.
“The League say they will try to help us as much as they can and we’re not under any pressure from them.
“We approached Wimbledon about reversing Tuesday’s fixture but that would mean them losing a potentially big Good Friday gate.”
The Fleetwood match has been rearranged for Tuesday, March 4, but County are running out of dates to fit in any more postponed games.
Boddy told the Argus that playing home games away from Rodney Parade was “not an option” but the Exiles are now in talks with the Dragons about bringing in rain covers on Monday.
He added: “We’re doing the best we can in a very difficult situation.”