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Milne: State of Pitch Down to Number of Games and Weather
Tuesday, 3rd Apr 2018 12:04

MD Ian Milne says the poor current state of the Portman Road pitch is down to the number of games played on it during January and adverse weather conditions, however, he says the club are looking at ways of improving it going forward.

In addition to first-team fixtures, the Portman Road surface staged two FA Youth Cup ties and a U23s Premier League Cup match
during January with the latter played in heavy rain.

“We’re talking with [groundsman] Ben [Connell],” Milne told BBC Radio Suffolk’s Life’s a Pitch. “He does a great job on there. I think I mentioned before, there were about eight games in January when we normally have three, so that upset the balance.

“Plus, it’s another dull day today and like us, the grass needs the sun. But we are looking at how we’re going to improve it going forward.

“We had an agronomist’s report on it and they said there’s nothing wrong with the pitch it’s just those matches and the weather.”

Former groundsman Alan Ferguson has previously said that ideally the pitch needs expensive work deep below the surface, something which has been long been pencilled in to be done once Town return to the Premier League.

“Of course we’re going to look at the other options,” Milne continued. “I think there are only two natural soil pitches in the Championship and it does cost a lot of money to put a new pitch in and sometimes you have to have a replica pitch at the training ground, so it’s not just one pitch it’s two pitches.

“And with the underground heating, it would cost about a million or a million and a half. It’s a big question. And it doesn’t stop then, it’s still got to have a major upkeep throughout the year.”

Groundsman Connell's Turf Journal, a regular blog on the pitches at Portman Road and Playford Road here.

Photo: Action Images

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nineteenseventyeight added 12:09 - Apr 3
Should be fine after the amount if sh@@ that's been on it this season

bobble added 12:34 - Apr 3
we used to have best team and the best pitch and the best manager...

blueboy1981 added 12:42 - Apr 3
ABSOLUTE BULL .... - Ask EX Groundsman Ferguson for the real reason...... !!!

And why he left ITFC .... ??

Suffolkboy added 12:43 - Apr 3
Well said , Bobble ; this man is downbeat , no sense of responsibility towards the supporters ,and perennially ' late on duty ' !
Step up to the mark Milne ,bring some sense of warmth and dynamism to ITFC,-- PLEASE !

ivegottheblues added 12:43 - Apr 3
My sentiments entirely

blueboy1981 added 12:44 - Apr 3
......... there was a crucial time when the work should have been done - on the recommendation of a TRUE expert. Sadly not heeded, is the truth of the matter.

Taricco_Fan added 12:54 - Apr 3
The same amount of games and weather as every year?

From the outside looking in I'd say cost-cutting is to blame.

Kirbmeister added 13:00 - Apr 3
The blame lies with McCarthy, he didn't select the right seed or arrange it in the proper position on the pitch.

blueboy1981 added 13:45 - Apr 3
........ about your 'standard' Kirbmeister ..... !!

Northstandveteran added 14:57 - Apr 3
The club are aware of the state of the pitch.
The club have said they are looking at ways of improving its condition.
Chill everyone, you can't have everything you want right now!
Since the Mick announcement, those in charge appear, in my opinion, to be making the right sounds and decisions about the club's future.
Rome wasn't built in a day.

Let's remember and reflect where we were just a few days ago.

I'm sure come pre season, the pitch will look immaculate for our new manager and team.

Positive and optimistic.

Orange Army!

tractorboybig added 15:08 - Apr 3
err championship games have increased? certainly its not due to any cup runs? of course the weather in Suffolk has changed dramatically recently? O and its ?

BlueySwede added 15:33 - Apr 3
What?? The state of the pitch is not Mick McCarthys fault?

Len_Brennan added 15:35 - Apr 3
If Mr Milne says that's what the current state of the pitch is down to, then I suppose that's what it's down to.
Although, it would appear that the onset of this localised climate change, the melting of the polar ice caps, rising sea levels and abnormal rainfall all seem to coincide with Alan Ferguson taking up the role of head groundskeeper with the FA.
I remember him calling for urgent investment in the Portman Road pitch at the time; but of course we were waiting the promotion around the corner before spending any unnecesary money.

Kirbmeister added 15:47 - Apr 3
Blueboy - it was an attempt at a joke, not that I care what you think.

H1960 added 15:59 - Apr 3
@ Kirbmeister down arrowed by mistake

Kirbmeister added 16:42 - Apr 3
H1960 no probs. We're all so serious at the moment just trying to inject some humour.

TimmyH added 16:59 - Apr 3
Rubbish...seen a number of pitches on TV of late and better than ours even in league 1/2, nothing to do with the number of matches (we haven't been playing extra in Cup games)!!! or the weather.

Lukeybluey added 16:59 - Apr 3
Well it looks like things can still grow at Portman road judging by the small trees I see growing at the top of the south stand.

Barty added 17:05 - Apr 3
No its mainly due to lack of investment in the pitch

blueboy1981 added 17:22 - Apr 3
....... point taken Northstandveteran - but, if the pitch isn't soon sorted, believe me, it will be past the point of no return.

Also, some may not have noticed (intentionally, or otherwise) that the whole ground is looking really shabbly, compared with how it once looked.

My point is - lets get some standards back, that we as a Club were once known for throughout the world of Football. We still have the proud name - unfortunately the overall Club standards have dropped over the past 10 years.

Lets uphold the name within the game - Ipswich Town Football Club - and ensure it doesn't drop any further.

armchaircritic59 added 17:35 - Apr 3
I could be wrong, but according to someone who knows about these sort of things, the ground is actually built on the site of a rubbish dump. To which i'm adding nothing!

Seasider added 18:15 - Apr 3
Agree blueboy1981.Whilst waiting for the gates to open,so we can rush up To Legends;Notice that there is a bit of ply covering a window that is rotting away.Surely something as little as this can be replaced.

I fact very little has been done to the ground since Evans took over,apart from painting the turnstiles.The pitch is not receiving the attention it did when Alun Ferguson was Head Groundsman,and the plastic cutlery is so flimsy,and often breaks when confronted with a Portman Pie.

Some of this should be the responsibility of the Stadium Manager;although overall it is the MD,and of course money,which is Evans responsibility.

For all the promising noises recently,I still feel that Evans does not focus enough on this football club,as he is too busy looking after his other business interests.

It would be much better if we had a CEO who could actually do something,instead of simply being a mouthpiece for the owner.Or an Executive Chairman,like David Sheepshanks;but was sacked by Evans,who took over that role,presumably to save money.However he doesn't even bother to attend an AGM.Says it all really !.

itfcserbia added 18:22 - Apr 3
Well I can understand this, why invest in the pitch when the players don't pass the ball on it. Mostly...

jas0999 added 18:25 - Apr 3
Who would have thought it ... playing games on the pitch! Well I never!

The reason for the poor pitch is the woeful under investment from the owner. Used to employ a top Groundsman and had pride in it. No longer.

blueherts added 18:47 - Apr 3
Blueboy - yep spot on , like at an old pub that people buy and run down only to then knock it down for houses . Our club is in dire need of some TLC ( not Terry Connor ) but top to bottom restructure and dare I say even a PLAN for next 5 years .
We have one good thing at the moment some very good young academy players and I just pray and hope that ME sees this and brings in a footballing manager and not an over 55 year old who has no vision . I await .....

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