To Dale fans everywhere, an update that’s been probably been 100 years in the making and very overdue since the presentation at the Fans Forum in February .
All of you know we have at the Crown Oil Arena experienced severe issues in the last few years with our pitch!
Despite the investment made by the club in 2016 and 2017 laying new surfaces, the problems came home to roost again this season, when along with Tranmere, we were the only two clubs in League One that lost a match to a waterlogged pitch, and whilst we know the rainfall in our beloved town is somewhat above the norm, it is in a modern era of agronomy not acceptable, and we presented at the Fans Forum that fact that this time, the Board have taken every possible step to help ensure the Club can carry out this summer renovations that go way beyond the norm. In tackling the drainage issues at the same time as having a high quality surface that encourages passing flowing football in all weathers.
Yesterday that work commenced, and our intention is to update you all on a regular basis with the work taking place, but as you will see, our contractors, who have installed pitches and pitch systems from Wembley to Old Trafford to Goodison Park to name but a few, moved very quickly last week when the EFL voted to blow the final whistle on the 2019-20 season and arrived over the weekend ready to commence the works.
Please see a few pictures taken that show the pitch at 7.45am yesterday morning - green and overgrown, and then at 11.45am showing how quickly the top surface has been removed. Also a picture is from Friday afternoon via a drone camera showing the serious issue of our drains, cleary visible by camera but not by water, and of course all of this is now being addressed in what is a significant project for the Club.
We will in the next few weeks bring further pictures, interviews with our contractors and our own grounds team, to provide you all with knowledge of the process and hopefully some comfort that “soggy" pitches are behind us. But wanted today to confirm work has started and we are all at the Club delighted, as it’s another step forward on a list of many exciting projects we are undertaking to ensure our continued development and success.
Wishing all well and Up The Dale.
David Bottomley, Chief Executive