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Bog off! Bradford City say good riddance to pitch problems
City have carried out a £50,000 pitch revamp in an attempt to solve Valley Parade’s boggy wings.
The heavy state of the surface on the flanks has been a constant problem in recent seasons. But extensive work through the summer has left the club confident that the issue has finally been resolved.
Director of operations David Baldwin said: “It’s quite an extreme cost but an essential one. It is our stage and worth paying out a sizeable chunk of money.
“We made as much saving as we possibly could in order to generate some more budget availability for this close season.
“Ultimately if you want to do well and entertain, you try to make available the best provisions possible within the resources.
“It will help with the nature of football the manager wants to play without any shadow of doubt. Hopefully it gives him the best opportunity to get us out of this division.”
Work began in late May to resurface the pitch and lay fibre sand along the sides to help with drainage. It should bring it in line with the centre of the pitch, which had already been treated in the same way. The exceptionally wet weather has helped the grass bed in – and also provided it with an early test.
Baldwin added: “The pitch has historically always been a battle. There’s a 1930s massive 30-foot concrete wall underneath, that runs down almost to the depth of Midland Road.
“The backfill of water that used to build on the main stand side of the stadium has been an ongoing problem.
“We spent a lot of money on the pitch a few years back, taking up 200 tonnes of soil to lay 100 tonnes of fibre sand. But that was predominantly run down the crown of the pitch, from the halfway line out to the penalty area both sides.
“As a result of that, the crown dries out much quicker than the flanks. So that becomes very apparent.
“The perfect solution would have been to dig the whole lot out, blow out the concrete wall and start again. If you’ve got £500,000 and time is no objective then that’s fine.
“We’ve had to do it step by step but ultimately to fix the problem we needed to have fibre sand across the whole pitch. We now have that.”
The new-look pitch will get its first work-out in City’s friendly with Bury on August 4. With Barnsley’s visit the following week cancelled because of the Capital One Cup shift, there is a 17-day break before the next home game against Fleetwood.
Baldwin said: “The pitch is looking quite lush at the minute with the weather we’ve had.
“Most importantly, we’ve got an even texture underneath because the fibre sand has covered every parameter.
“We’re talking about a ten-week period to grow the grass back and let it bed down. That is the minimum limit.
“We’re feeling very positive about it. The groundsman, Mick Doyle, really wants to go for that best pitch in the division award again.”