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Club News


20 March 2020

Stadium Manager Ian Darler pens an update on stadium works that have taken place on the pitch at the Abbey this week.

We have absolutely taken on board all the Government advice relating to the Coronavirus outbreak and as a result are working inside the stadium with limited staffing levels. All staff have been working with precautionary measures to stop the spread of the virus at front of mind. However, there are things that we can do to be proactive to be ready for when we hope football will return to the Abbey.

This unforeseen situation has meant that we have had to bring as much work forward as possible.  Normally we get 10-12 weeks to undertake all the pitch renovation work and stadium inspections and maintenance. We have been very fortunate that a number of our suppliers and friends of the Football Club have been generous and donated materials that enables us to get the essential work done. We are hugely thankful to all those involved which has meant that the following work has been done at no cost to the Football Club.

We have had a problem at the north west end of the pitch this season in that all the constant heavy rain has taken its toll on the playing surface. We had made the decision to install a new main drain to harvest the water from the lateral drains. This work was due to have been carried out in the first week of May, but it is now unlikely that we will get the normal close season break of 10-12 weeks. So with that in mind the decision was made to install the drain immediately during this forced break  The drain had to be dug out by hand to ensure that we did not hit any of the irrigation pipes, cables and pre-existing drainage.

The drainage system on the playing surface is essential as the sub-soil is solid clay and creates a barrier preventing water movement. The other negative to this sub-soil is it reduces the life of the porous drains, and our excavation showed the new drains that were installed just four years ago are already showing signs of reduced flow.  The new drain was therefore put in place this week and was essential, as this area is used for the home team warm up and receives intensive footwork and wear.

The playing surface was quickly re-instated after several days’ hard work installing the new pipework and will hopefully be fully repaired in time for the re-commencement of football, which we all hope is sooner rather later.

I have to say a special thanks to Mick Brown and the stadium volunteers who have continued to work hard and assist around the stadium during these difficult times. 

If there are any other companies or suppliers out who feel they can help with donations of materials like paint, paint brushes, timber, screws, please get in contact with me via email at

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