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Pitch Undergoing Deep Renovation
Thursday, 28th May 2015 13:59

The usually lush Portman Road pitch currently looks more like Thorpeness beach as it undergoes a deep renovation.

The Blues groundstaff have removed the top few centimetres of the surface, replacing it with a layer of sand which was then mixed in with the soil below before reseeding.

“We’re having a deep renovation that’s costing £50,000 or £60,000,” Blues MD Ian Milne told TWTD.

“That’ll give us a lovely pitch for two or three years, although I didn’t think the pitch was too bad this season.

“It had a difficult time in February but fortunately we had decent weather. I thought our pitch looked better than the Blackburn pitch did.”

Like all the other Championship clubs vying for promotion, the Blues went through the process of making detailed plans to upgrade various aspects of the ground to Premier League standards.


Portman Road would have been a much busier place this summer if Town had returned to the top flight with undersoil heating, improved floodlights and a larger media area amongst the proposed developments.

However, with the Blues still in the Championship, Milne says only minor work is now taking place.

“There’s the normal day to day maintenance and we have to do the roof every so often and we do that in four bits to keep the cash flow going. That’s a very expensive renovation on the Sir Bobby Robson Stand.

“One thing we did do which has made quite a big difference to hospitality is to improve the TV signal around the stadium.

“We’ve got about 50 sets around the stadium and we’ve replaced quite a lot of them and converted a lot to make sure they get a decent signal.”

Town are holding a number of events on the FieldTurf behind the East of England Co-op Stand over the summer but Milne says ideally they’d like to stage more.

“We’ve got a CAMRA beer festival, we’re trying to get more on the FieldTurf. I’d love to do a music event on there, we still haven’t lost sight of that,” he added.

“We’ve also got a film event, we’re going to have the open day. It’s one of those slow burners, you’ve got to have events on there to show you are doing things in the summer. We’re doing a bit more than we did last year but not as much as I want to do.”

He says there was no interest in staging a big concert on the main pitch this summer, but further gigs in future years haven’t been ruled out.

“Bands and what have you have got to come here," Milne said. "One, that are touring, and two, that want to come here. There was nobody interested this year.

“Maybe next year but no names or anything like that, however, there has been a little bit of interest.”

Having announced pre-season trips to Shelbourne and Cambridge United, Milne says further games are close to being confirmed - “We haven’t quite nailed it down, but there are quite a few exciting matches” - but there will be no staging of the now infamous second Lazio friendly.

When former keeper Matteo Sereni joined the Rome club in the summer of 2003 as part of the deal they agreed to play two friendlies at Portman Road. They eventually and somewhat reluctantly played the first in 2006, when they ran out 2-0 victors, but the second now seems unlikely to ever take place.

“It came up last year and they weren’t very interested in doing it. I think it’s died a death because they’re not interested,” Milne said.

“If they came back and were fully interested and we’d look at it. But there’s no use forcing them to do it. If we took them to court, it’s not the sort of money worth fighting for because you’re going to spend it in court fees.

“There’s going to have to be a change of mind on Lazio’s behalf to want to make it happen. I’m not pointing fingers at them, it’s something that was in the past and it’s not on our desk at the moment.”


Photo: Action Images



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SamWhiteUK added 14:12 - May 28
Don't know about Felixstowe beach - the article mentioned sand.

Our pitch hasn't been very good for the last few years - I believe there was a change of groundsman? Correct me if I'm wrong
1

Flewitt85 added 14:14 - May 28
Felixstowe beach?? Where is the sand at Felixstowe beach! lol

Shame there are no music on at Portman road, iv never been to one but I'm sure it's good atmosphere.

Ooh well, lazio loss!
1

commuterblue added 14:14 - May 28
It's like watching Brazil
1

gazzmac4 added 14:16 - May 28
I think our pitch is still one of the better ones in the league to be fair. When you look at places like Blackburn and Bolton where they were ropey in December!

We had a wobble when it was mega wet in feb but it turned round better in the later games!

Im not going to say that they should or shouldn't do this! What on earth do I know!

Good to hear Milne talking about revenue opportunities though! Feel more comfortable the way the club is being run these days!
2

PhilTWTD added 14:16 - May 28
True, perhaps Felixstowe wasn't the best choice of beach to mention. Any particularly sandy Suffolk beaches I ought to mention instead?
1

topguy added 14:18 - May 28
Im sure lessons have been learned and friendlies are not put in contracts for player sales but if the finger wants pointing you cant but I can they broke their word and did not fullfill a contract.
1

weevil added 14:20 - May 28
Last time I went to see a gig was when the Chillies played there. Got in for free which was always a bonus :)
1

FenboyBlue added 14:25 - May 28
Dirty damp and deep renovation.
0

theblueginger added 14:28 - May 28
I was going to suggest Lowestoft beach, but its full of syringes and washed-up harrier jump jet parts, neither of which i hope to see on the Portman Road pitch anytime soon.

In regards to Milne, i'm liking him more and more. He seems to have a realistic and thought-out approach to things.
2

ElginCityBlue added 14:33 - May 28
Covehithe is pretty sandy from what I remember.

Since Alan Ferguson left, the pitch hasn't been the same. Like the sound of a beer festival!!!
1

Luk38644 added 14:40 - May 28
Surely Thorpeness is a better example Phil?
0

Ryorry added 14:49 - May 28
Dunwich beach is lovely & sandy iirc. Happy days :)
0

ChestnutSe added 14:50 - May 28
There's nothing wrong with Felixstowe beach.
0

PhilTWTD added 14:50 - May 28
OK, at the risk of offending Covehithe residents (I have to admit, it's not somewhere I'm familiar with) I'll amend to Thorpeness.
0

BYRNE_16 added 14:54 - May 28
Dear Mr Milne,

Any chance of having a stadium wi-fi or improved mobile signal around the stadium please?

2

gypo added 14:54 - May 28
It's only resembled Felixstowe beach twice this season when we played the scum.
Sh!t on it
0

cats_whiskers added 14:57 - May 28
When I last went walking on Felixstowe beach I managed to lose a "Stone"
and never did find it again... :-)
1

topguy added 15:05 - May 28
look at the way we and others approach it we as others said what we were going to do if we went up and we are doing some of it, but bornemouth say they are not increasing the capacity rather spend it on players but that must have been a condition of going up even the utd manager says some grounds are poor in the prem all stadia should be at least 20-25k all seater its our show piece league cant get excited about watching a match in front of 10k fans maybe we should put in place more rules of promotion
0

dirtyboy added 15:06 - May 28
I've spent more time than most on Lowestoft beach and never once seen a syringe.

Harrier parts yes, syringes no.
1

cats_whiskers added 15:08 - May 28
At last we can actually get to see a Real Tractor Boy enjoying himself at Portman Road
3

Steve_ITFC_Sweden added 15:22 - May 28
Dovercourt beach is OK, even if it's not in Suffolk! -:)
0

Guthrum added 15:29 - May 28
Southwold - it's even got a blue flag ...
1

BLUEBEAT added 15:31 - May 28
Lazio W@nkers
0

BYRNE_16 added 15:41 - May 28
Frinton......
1

textbackup added 15:42 - May 28
up the chantry blues
0


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