THE manager of a junior league football team in Bradford is warning he may have to cancel matches due to the state of their home pitch which is regularly littered with horse manure.
Woodhall United was set up in the BD3 area of the city a couple of years ago, and since last September has been playing their home games at the Bradford Council-owned recreation ground at Gain Lane.
Issues such as the grass and markings not being cut and refreshed regularly enough as well as ditches plagued last season, but since June horse droppings have been disrupting play.
The Council said it was trying to resolve what it described as a "general problem" in the Bradford Moor area with illegally tethered and loose horses, adding that damage to the football pitch was superficial and would be repaired.
Manager Aamir Sajad described how a bucket and a shovel were now regularly required before the team could kick-off and they were concerned that if the problem continued matches would have to be cancelled when the season restarts shortly.
He said: "It has become a massive problem since early June. We are training there at the moment, but every time I go up to the pitch there are fresh piles of horse muck. We've never actually seen a horse, but local residents have told us they see one tethered there regularly in the week. We really need the Council to take action or we will be forced to cancel matches."
He described how the under 18s team in the Craven, Aire and Wharfe League were the butt of jokes last season with comments about the grass being too long and the lines not properly drawn. But this latest situation was much worse.
He added: "Our first match on the pitch is a friendly on August 31, followed by our first league game there on September 14, which we will have to cancel unless something can be done."
Mr Sajad said they had already contacted the Council about their problems a number of times.
Phil Barker, Bradford Council’s Assistant Director for Sport and Leisure, said: “There is a general problem in the Bradford Moor area with illegally tethered and loose horses which the council is trying to resolve."
“But as far as the Gain Lane football pitch is concerned, any damage is superficial and will be repaired as we cut the grass and mark out the playing area to prepare it for use in time for the start of the junior league season in September.”