Please log in or register. Registered visitors get fewer ads.
Ashton: Portman Road Needs a New Modern Pitch
Tuesday, 1st Jun 2021 16:09

New Town CEO Mark Ashton has revealed that a new modern pitch with undersoil heating is a priority for the summer of 2022 and that new stands could follow later on down the line.

During Ashton’s time at Bristol City the club virtually rebuilt Ashton Gate and opened a new state-of-the-art training ground. Asked whether there might be similar developments at Town in the years to come, he said: “I didn’t do the stadium development, I did the training ground development, but I think for sure over time.

“We need to almost have an estate strategy for the facilities. You look at the training ground, it’s a rabbit warren, the flow isn’t right. It’s not conducive to developing players. Good land, good pitches but we need to make sure the infrastructure’s right.

“And I think it’s the same at the stadium. I’m going to make no bones about it, one of the things that I’m going to want to invest in in the next year is a modern pitch.

“We’re not in time to do that for this season but with a modern pitch comes undersoil heating. With a modern pitch probably comes Desso [a hybrid natural grass artificial fibre pitch].

“There’s no point in putting a team together that plays the game in a certain way and by February the pitch has gone.

“But to do that we’ve got to make sure that we haven’t got to slightly move the pitch, we’ve got to make sure the dugouts that people keep telling me need sorting out are in the right position because if you put the pitch in and then have to start changing with the undersoil heating, you’re taking one step forward and three steps back.

“I think we’ll take a good look at the stadium, we’ll want to upgrade it and if we think that the plan is right to develop one of the stands at the right time, or more, then we’ll put a plan in place for that.”

A major renovation of the pitch has been something which has been planned at Town for some years and like some other maintenance jobs had been on a list of things to be done after a return to the Premier League and the cash that comes with it.

“I think you put a plan in place and you work through the plan,” Ashton continued. “I don’t think you should hang everything on the Premier League. The Premier League’s a dream, a dream I think we can make reality here.

“But you’ve still got to make sure that your house is tidy and it’s functional and it’s professional. This football club deserves that, the fans deserve that, and we’ll be doing that on the way through for sure.”

Former MD Ian Milne estimated the costs of the work which is required at Portman Road at £1 million to £1.5 million three years ago. The last time serious deep down work was done at a foundation level at Portman Road was back in 1977.

Bristol City’s new training ground features Desso pitches and Ashton agreed with Milne's estimate of the cost of having the required work done at Portman Road.

“It needs a modern pitch,” he added. “It hasn’t got a modern pitch. The groundsman [Ben Connell], who have had several conversations with, tells me that there’s never been a modern pitch here for as long as Portman Road’s been here and it will need that.

“But that will be a substantial investment and we have to start planning that now for this time next year.

“It’s like putting a roof on your house. If you haven’t got a roof on your house, you’re going to have problems. If we haven’t got the pitch right here at Portman Road, we’re going to have problems. That is certainly something which will be on our agenda moving forward.”

He says the stadium itself could do with being spruced up: “We're going to have fans hopefully coming back now as we come out of a pandemic, and that's been a really tough time for everyone in the country.

“It's been difficult for fans trying to watch on streams,and it's just not the same.

“Portman Road is our home and I want to take pride in it. And I don't mean this to be disrespectful, but you guys are standing here now, and it could be sharper, it could be cleaner, it could be better presented, and it's our home, and we need to take pride in our home.

“We're not going to be able to do everything overnight, but there are things we can do.

“We need to make sure the stadium is clean, it's tidy, it's presentable, it's welcoming, that people can get a drink, the food right, the beer is cold, and when people come back in August, I want them to see a difference.

“And that might be subtle small things, but I want us to take pride in this place because it's our home and I think that's really important.”

Photo: Matchday Images

Please report offensive, libellous or inappropriate posts by using the links provided.

johnwarksshorts added 16:27 - Jun 1
It just keeps getting better.

brendenward35 added 16:28 - Jun 1
This guy means business about time we had someone to take responsibility and get it sorted. Interesting few years ahead and I'm sure by the end of next season we will see the difference. Onwards and upwards

CavendishBlue added 16:36 - Jun 1
Maybe if they dig down far enough they'll find the one Ramsey and Robson coached on.....

Gipeswic added 16:48 - Jun 1
Pinch me, I must be dreaming!

trncbluearmy added 16:49 - Jun 1
Come on get the basics right, lager is cold, beer ain`t

NormanBlue added 16:54 - Jun 1
Keep the half time hose pipe dragging though for the sprinklers, away fans love the show.

BlueArrow added 17:02 - Jun 1
I hope they have remembered where Kempy's ashes are buried once they start digging. RIP Kempy.

itfchorry added 17:24 - Jun 1
Kempy - Always with us -

Suffolkboy added 17:34 - Jun 1
Plainly has had a good look at what’s been plainly needed for far too long ; but funding plays a great part in decision making and implementation . It’ll be both interesting and exciting to see agin real pride returning ; definitely looks like new blood etc!

Linkboy13 added 18:12 - Jun 1
Talk is cheap. A good pitch doesn't guarantee a good team let's get that sorted first. Peterborough United got promotion and their ground is hardly state of the art. If anything it works in their favour. I for one am not going to be taken in by this sweet talk to impress the fans and sell season tickets. Having said all that im right behind Paul Cook to get it right on the pitch.

Dissboyitfc added 18:45 - Jun 1
Yes Linkboy talk is cheap, but if they do half what they say we will be in a far better place than we have been for years!

The place has looked tired for a long time now, bring it on!

1psw1ch added 20:01 - Jun 1
Happy days ahead hopefully

ArnieM added 20:06 - Jun 1
Am I dreaming all this ? I have to keep pinching myself and asking the question ... am I going to wake up in a minute and find Marcus Evans and Clegg still here, and we have a £100m debt still hanging round our neck.

This is really all happening isn’t it !!!!!!
OMG .. we really do have our Club back don’t we !

have_a_word_with_him added 20:32 - Jun 1
Linkboy you must be a real delight at parties

istanblue added 20:44 - Jun 1
“We need to almost have an estate strategy for the facilities. You look at the training ground, it’s a rabbit warren, the flow isn’t right. It’s not conducive to developing players. Good land, good pitches but we need to make sure the infrastructure’s right''

Literally something that I and some other big brain fans have been saying for years. Even Paul Hurst and Paul Lambert could see that the infrastructure here was seriously lacking. Evans totally neglected things like this in his desire for cost-cutting at every opportunity.

BlueBertie added 07:23 - Jun 2
Linkboy, if ever there was a post not to jump on and be a tw@t it is this one. It may all turn out to be flannel, who knows, but if you haven't felt a smidgeon of positivity from the new CEO's words then I'd question whether football let alone following Town is for you. 🤦‍♂️

IpswichT62OldBoy added 10:00 - Jun 2
Next season is going to be special, in a good way

Razor added 10:10 - Jun 2
Yeah long live Kempy.

Crikey he is even talking about the dug outs----these guys mean business, bring it on!!

RegencyBlue added 10:22 - Jun 2
Basically the new regime are having to pick up all the things which have needed doing for ten years or more but which Evans completely ignored. That man did so much damage to this club!

The new regime is such a breath of fresh air.

Bergholtblue added 12:11 - Jun 2
"Portman Road is our home and I want to take pride in it. And I don't mean this to be disrespectful, but you guys are standing here now, and it could be sharper, it could be cleaner, it could be better presented."

What's he saying here? Was Cleggy's turnstile paint of poor quality?

Linkboy13 added 12:19 - Jun 2
Every body's been taken in by the spin doctor. Stop dreaming and wake up and smell the coffee.

blueinblue added 15:03 - Jun 2
Please add to list: 'Fix leaking stand roofs' !!!!

BlueNomad added 18:08 - Jun 2
Linkboy - how do you know it is spin? What coffee should we be smelling? He has said what they intend to do, and it is consistent with what the new owners and Chairman have said. Yes they have to deliver but they all have done so elsewhere. Wake up and have some hope!!

ashp19 added 07:24 - Jun 3
Cold beer - I’m in!

RegencyBlue added 15:00 - Jun 3
One or two of the Evans fanboys not happy in the comments!

You need to login in order to post your comments

Blogs 279 bloggers

Ipswich Town Polls

About Us Contact Us Terms & Conditions Privacy Cookies Advertising
© TWTD 1995-2021