Cirencester Town given go-ahead by FA for 3G pitch
As reported by Danny Hall of the Wilts and Glos Standard
Town play their final game of the season against Kings Langley on April 22 and work will start digging up the grass surface in the first week of May. The project is due to take eight to 10 weeks and be ready for the new season in early August.
The Football Foundation has chosen TigerTurf UK to provide the 3G playing surface with the groundwork being done by their partners McCardle Sport Tec.
"It is wonderful news that the FA has chosen to invest so much money in Cirencester," said Steve Abbley who has been the club's chairman and benefactor for 20 years. It not only sustains the future of Cirencester Town FC but it is a huge feather in the cap for the town because they will have something that is not available in Swindon, Gloucester and Cheltenham.
"Because this is a project that the FA are particularly keen on – in an area where they have identified a real need – they are putting up 70 per cent (rather than the usual 50 per cent) of the estimated cost of a little more than £500,000. We and our partners have to make up the difference. As this will be a community facility and available to all we hope to have the District Council and Cirencester Town Council on board – and all our funding partners need to be in place by the end of this month. We are also in negotiation with a waste management group who provide grants for sport projects.
"If we have to take out a small loan to make up any shortfall we will."
TigerTurf have been responsible for the pitches at the Nottingham Forest Academy and the Burton Albion Community Trust as well as sports stadiums in Spain and Qatar and Cirencester Town will benefit from the latest technology in 3G pitch design.
"TigerTurf have recently introduced an upgraded version of their 3G pitch," said Abbley. "It's a lot more expensive than the original but they won't be charging us any extra because they want ours to be a flagship project and help them market this state of the art pitch. It will be to FIFA 2 standard which means it will be a very hard wearing pitch which can take 80 hours of use a week."
A considerable amount of earth moving will be required to overcome the pronounced slope of the current Cirencester Town pitch with a gradient of no more of 1:100 being acceptable for the new surface.
"In the top corner away from the Arena we will need a retaining wall because the pitch will drop by half a metre there and in front of the stands players will need to take two steps up to the new pitch," Abbley explained. We will also be working on organising a suitable showpiece game for the opening of the facility before the new season.
Which division of the Southern League Cirencester Town will be playing in for 2017/18 is unclear as, despite a recent upturn in results, they remain in the relegation zone of the Premier.
"We're hoping to be in Premier but the jury's still out," said Abbley. "It's been a steep learning curve for Charlie Griffin in his first managerial role and he has found that the biggest thing at this level is that too many kids is not the answer. As soon as he brought in more experience, the quality of performances and results improved."