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Ferguson Calls for Youth Cup Break
Ferguson Calls for Youth Cup Break
Monday, 8th Feb 2010 18:49

Town groundsman Alan Ferguson says he would like to see a winter break for the FA Youth Cup to prevent damage to pitches. Ferguson’s Portman Road surface was less than its usual self when the Blues took on Middlesbrough on Saturday in the wake of last Tuesday’s Youth Cup defeat to Fulham.

Ferguson wrote in his blog for Horticulture Week at the end of last week: “Most groundsmen will tell you that the damage from a kids’ game is much worse than the damage from a first team game. This is because the kids tend to slide in more often.

“We duly picked up quite a bit of damage. It will repair but the pitch won’t be in its usual tip-top condition for Saturday’s home game.

“Clubs like ours enter into the Youth Cup in good faith accepting we will have to play games in and around the first team schedule at a difficult time of the season if drawn at home. This can be problematic and is something I am trying to change.

“I am in favour of the Youth Cup taking a winter break of two months through January and February. This would allow clubs to reduce the usage during the worst period of the year.”

Ferguson says that he is a fan of the Youth Cup but is unhappy that clubs like the Blues’ fourth round opponents Arsenal are allowed to switch their games to smaller grounds such as Barnet’s Underhill: “The Youth Cup has become a sore subject for me in recent years,” admitted the Scot.

“I think the competition is great and offers the young pros a chance to play in the country’s top stadiums.

“At least that’s how it is supposed to be. In recent seasons many of the big clubs have been given permission to play the early rounds away from their main stadium, only playing at home from the quarter-final, the idea being to protect the pitches during the winter.“

Ferguson says the majority of clubs would be in favour of his proposal, which he says is fairer than the current situation: “Such a break should find favour with most clubs and should allow them to play the games at home and not a third party stadium. It would put us on a level playing field.”

Full-back Liam Rosenior says he noticed the change in the condition of the Portman Road surface at the weekend: “Our pitch has been unbelievably good. But on Saturday it was not conducive to good football.

“Our fans were maybe disappointed at the way we played, but it was not easy and I felt sorry for keeper Arran Lee-Barrett every time he had to take a back pass.

“You really had to concentrate on your first touch and a few of my crosses were not to my usual standard. This is something we are going to have to get used to.”

Rosenior, on loan from Reading until the end of the season, says that despite the Blues’ disappointing 2009/10 Town will be contenders next season: “If we stay in this division I wager we'll get promoted next term.

“The foundations are there, and if we win at Queens Park Rangers tomorrow everybody will be back saying how well we're playing.”

Meanwhile, Coventry boss Chris Coleman has escaped a touchline ban but been fined £1,000 after admitting an FA improper conduct charge relating to the comments he made about referee Michael Oliver’s time-keeping after the Blues’ 3-2 victory over the Sky Blues last month.

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tractorboynick added 21:21 - Feb 8
One game on the hallowed turf and Ferguson is looking for ITFC to move ANOTHER chance for the supporters to see the Academy players in the flesh

some of us have full time work thus enabling us unable to get to Playford Road
to see Reserve games so Mr Ferguson maybe think about the entire band of supporters and not just yourself !!!


jdf987 added 21:52 - Feb 8
I bet he wasn't happy when we scored the pen and they all slid on their knees near the corner flag. Damm kids....

Plumbers_Crack added 08:38 - Feb 9
Tractor Boy Nick

If you read the article again he want's young players to play in the stadiums but wants the competition to have a winter break

Perhaps an

Plumbers_Crack added 08:39 - Feb 9
Sorry hit wrong key

What I meant to say was perhaps an apology was in order due to the way you tore into him

campowasgod added 10:45 - Feb 9
Wow - I did not realise Chavchester Utd got that far in the youth cup - that pitch is a cross between a beach and a ploughed field !
Nick - he wants the youth team to play at FPR , thats the whole point !

hedgy94 added 17:50 - Feb 9
Oh stopp moaning your old fart!

Nscarff added 21:00 - Feb 14
Just to let you all know, i am a groundsman, and i used to work for alan-

1. Alan wants the youth cup to have a "winter break" for the months of january and february. This is because many premier league teams get dispensation and play at other venues untill the quarter-finals (Played in march-april time). For example Arsenal use Barnets Underhill stadium, preventing damage to their own pitches outside the "growing season"

2. In the last 3 or 4 seasons, the portman road pitch has been "ruined" by youth cup games, two against watford and this most recent one against fulham. Its not just alan who complains when the pitch isnt in good nic because both David norris and Jon walters complained to me at half time of the Boro' game.

3. The kids in the youth cup complain, in the previous round the had to play at underhill, not exactly a exciting venue in comparison to the emirates stadium.

4. Just sticking up for a fellow groundsman now- Colchester have a poor pitch due to the club not investing enough into it when the stadium was made. They have no form of pitch protection, such as a pitch cover, under-soil heating or a "Sub-air" system. Also as part of the planning permission when the stadium was built the stadium is used by "the community" for some of the summer. So colchester have about 2-4 to renovate their pitch for the new season, where as most teams have 8-10 weeks.

P.s. You may think im a sad old fart aswell, but i fully understand the problems professional football grounds man such as Alan and Dave Blacknall (Col U head groundsman) have to face- unlike everyone who has just slagged them off without understanding or knowing the work that goes into their pitches. Now i think an apology is due, even if they may never see it!

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