Brechin City announced yesterday (Wednesday), that their home match against Ayr United on Saturday March, 23 would now be played at Station Park as the club fights to get the pitch at Glebe Park playable.
In recent weeks, the club have had a number of home matches postponed despite the best efforts of the groundsman, the committee and volunteer fans trying to get the pitch through a pitch inspection, but the weather keeps proving to be a stumbling point.
Speaking about the problem, club Chairman, Ken Ferguson, said: “We’ve held meetings with everybody we could do. We’ve had drainage experts in, ground care specialist, independent companies looking at the pitch itself. We’ve had the local roads department and the parks department and the water board all to investigate the drainage out with the ground to make sure it was all operating properly.
“The bottom line is the drains are working properly working so it’s not a drainage issue, it’s just that the top five inches of the park is sodden. It’s just like a sponge. It’s retaining the water and not letting it drain down to the drain.
“We’ve taken samples of the soil from various parts of the park and the sub-soil is good, black earth that should drain. But basically the pitch isn’t getting a chance to dry out. There’s hardly been a dry day since January and if we have had a dry day, we’ve had frost at night.
He continued: “The advice that we are getting from the specialist is to basically let it dry out naturally. We did have Dundee United offer to come with their verti-drain machine which has longer tines than our own machine, which we have been regularly draining with. We’ve also had a ground breaking machine in from one of the specialist companies to try and break up pans if there were any to break up. Any machine that could go on has gone on to try and do what it can.”
The club were due to use Dundee United’s machine on Monday, but conditions on the pitch did not allow this to happed. Mr Ferguson said: “The park was too wet to allow the tractor to go on [with Dundee United’s machine]. We can get that done as soon as the park gets to the standard that it can take the machinery.
“Basically, we are in the hands of the God with the weather at the moment.”
Where we got really disappointed is a few weeks ago where the weather was really good on the Monday and Tuesday and the park was drying out very well and it was very near and all of a sudden we got rain again. No matter what we do, we’ve verti-drained it. The grounds man has put in an incredible amount of work in to the park but the water is just not going away.
“It’s a terrible situation for us. The last thing we wanted to do is to lose home fixtures especially at the weekends. It’s a fair shortfall in revenue for us when we do lose these fixtures so we do everything in our power to get the games on. At the end of the day, it comes down to the referee if the decides the pitch is playable and safe for the players and we have no say in that decision.”
Talking about the decision to play this weekend’s match at Station Park, Mr Ferguson said: “It wasn’t an easy decision. It’s not something that we would want to do at all, to move games from Glebe Park. But the reality is that we have a backlog of fixtures and there is maybe the possibility that some fixtures yet to come may be postponed and we are basically running out of weeks to play them. If you’ve got two artificial surfaces in your neighbouring vicinity and those teams are away from home, you have to consider taking the chance to get the games played on the Saturday.
You have to think of the opposition as well, who want to play on a Saturday. So we have to take a conscious decision for all.
Manager Ray McKinnon commented: “We need to get games played, and if that means playing them at Station Park, so be it. I’d rather they were played at Brechin but we need to get games played.”