Winter pitch protection

PItch Protection: Pictured are the pitch covers being removed prior to Brechin City v Bonnyrigg Rose Scottish Cup Tie in November.
PItch Protection: Pictured are the pitch covers being removed prior to Brechin City v Bonnyrigg Rose Scottish Cup Tie in November.

Brechin City’s Scottish Cup defeat against St Mirren sees the club’s attention turn from the potential of a lucrative cup-run back to the week-to-week reality of collecting league points and improving the Glebe Parkers current position in the Scottish Second Division.

With the onset of winter weather, the wisdom of the club’s management committee’s decision to invest a near five-figure sum in the purchase of a pitch protection system will soon be put to the test.

Speaking on behalf of the club, committee man Grant Hood explained: “There were two key factors at play in choosing to invest in these modern pitch covers.

“Firstly, we undertook a detailed financial analysis to understand the impact of lost income when Saturday games were postponed and replayed midweek.

“Also, we were influenced by a second key issue in that results on the pitch in midweek were significantly poorer than on Saturdays.

“The suspicion is that this is due to the travel burden on our players – even to home games – so, with the club’s best interests at heart, the committee chose, for the very first time, to invest in these pitch covers.”

With no immediate prospect of external investment putting the club into a place where an artificial playing surface might be installed, the next best thing is clearly to protect the playing surface in the lead-up to match days.

The system was used for the first time prior to the Scottish Cup tie against Bonnyrigg Rose last month.

Some locals may also be surprised to learn that Glebe Park has played host to Under-20’s games for SPL sides Dundee United and Aberdeen on numerous occasions already this season.

The system itself consists of 10 heavy duty covers which, with the aid of inflatable inserts, can each be rolled out from the goal line to half-way.

Advice from the manufacturer suggests that the playing surface can be protected from frost down to temperatures of minus six degrees.

Despite the relative ease with which these covers can be laid and removed, the club is still appealing for fans to volunteer their time to assist in what remains a labour intensive process. “We would ask that supporters check the official website and Facebook pages, and help out with the installation and removal of the covers as and when they can,” added Grant.

“It would be terrific to have a wider band of volunteers, so occasional helpers would be hugely welcome too.”

The other key message to convey to supporters relates to hospitality around the club.

Grant continued: “We are convinced that match sponsors and hospitality guests have previously been reluctant to book parties for winter match days for fear of the inconvenience which comes with late postponement.

“The management committee completely understands this, and although we are in no position to make ultimate ‘match-on’ guarantees, it’s crucial that potential guests are aware that the chances of games taking place on the original Saturday match-days have improved dramatically.”

In tandem with the upturn on the field since the appointment of Ray McKinnon and his management team, the club is encouraging parties to take advantage of the 1983 Hospitality Lounge for the upcoming home games against Ayr United on Saturday and Arbroath on Boxing Day.

Entry to the club’s hospitality is priced at only £8 over gate entry and, with pre-booking recommended, enquiries should be made to or via the club’s commercial line on 07817 910548.