Vandalism and neglect to blame for ‘worst’ pitch
VANDALISM and neglect at a football pitch could see Cheadle Town relegated next season, despite putting in a stellar performance.
Concerns over drainage of the pitch at Thorley Drive have been raised by supporters, while town and district councillors have raised worries over vandalism at the site.
Cheadle Town FC could lose their County League Premier Division status after vandals left a trail of destruction at the council-owned ground, as clubs have to comply with strict conditions in order to play at the county’s highest level of competition.
As previously reported, vandals smashed up the pitch-side shelters, while railings around the pitch – which stop fans from encroaching on the playing area -have also been bent or removed.
Cheadle Town supporter, Jeff Wood, whose two sons, Tim and Oliver Ley, both play for the first team, said: “I’m hoping it doesn’t come to us being thrown out of the league because of the present state of the facilities.
“The dug outs will need to be reconstructed in time for next season, and the damaged perimeter railings be replaced, otherwise the ground grading may fail the necessary requirements and Cheadle Town may be forced into a lower division.”
Mr Wood is also calling on Staffordshire Moorlands District Council to improve the playing surface of the main pitch shared by Cheadle Town and Potteries and District Sunday League side Cheadle United.
He added: “We have the worst ground by far in the league and something needs to be done to improve it.”
Cllr Ian Whitehouse joined calls for swift action at the ground. He said: “Thorley Drive is the prestige ground for the town.
“The district council need to be maintaining it, it is their responsibility to look after that ground and it has been neglected.”
A SMDC spokesman said: “I can confirm that the council had recently obtained quotes to replace the Perspex within the dugouts which had been heavily vandalised, our aim being to ensure the Perspex was reinforced to prevent further vandalism.
“In recent weeks the dugouts have been further vandalised to the point that they now need fully replacing.
“The vandalism has been reported to the police.
“Our aim is to ensure that the new dugouts are in place for the start of the new football season in August, and work is currently ongoing to obtain quotes for the replacements.
“We aim to install vandal proof dugouts to prevent the issues we have recently faced and avoid ongoing repair costs.”
Councillor Mike Bowen, portfolio holder for sport, in the temporary absence of Brian Johnson, said: “I am very concerned about the vandalism at Thorley Drive and I will be doing everything I can to ensure everything is put right in time for the start of the new football season.”
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