May 27, 2015
Bristol Rovers supporters might be interested in various aspects of this story about the problems faced by Exeter City.
This season the pitch at The Memorial Stadium is not undergoing major renovation work.
Supporters will appreciate that the mild Winter and Bristol Rugby relocation have been significant issues.
(Article below is adapted from the Exeter Express and Echo.)
Exeter City’s interim chairman Julian Tagg has revealed that a significant amount of money is being spent to improve two pitches at their Cat & Fiddle training ground.
When the club sold Matt Grimes to Swansea City for £1.75m in January, Tagg revealed that a third of the cash from the transfer was going to be spent on improving the club’s infrastructure.
The facilities at the Cat & Fiddle have been a source of frustration for first team manager Paul Tisdale.
It often gets waterlogged during the winter and last season the club were unable to train there during January and February and results in League Two suffered.
Have a look at the pitch renovations on YouTube here:
However, improving the pitches will also help the club’s youth development. The long term aim is to upgrade the club’s academy from a category three to category two status and having been criticised in an audit from the Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP), for the state of it’s training pitches, it was recognised that was something that needed improving.
“At the Cat & Fiddle it is well documented that we struggle to train from October to February and we have to go onto rubber crumb pitches,” said Tagg.
“What we are doing now, particularly for the academy, is to put a significant amount of money into improving two pitches at the Cat & Fiddle.
“That will enable the first team to train out there more often and the academy can play on pitches that are up to the standard required by the EPPP.”
However, to get the club’s academy up to a category two status, City will need to invest in an indoor arena with a 60×40 yard pitch and also have rubber crumb surfaces to train on during all types of weather.
Tagg said this was going to take a little more time to achieve this.
“There is a working party looking at it right now and getting the plans, organisation and quotes for the improvements needed,” he said. “To get to a category two status we need an indoor 60x40yard pitch.
“There is also the need for a rubber crumb pitch for the academy, the first team and the football in the community.
“There is a lot work being done on what the Cat & Fiddle should look like in a dream-world scenario and then, as we always do at Exeter City, we will work on one project at a time.
“And, while a third of the money we got from the sale of Matt Grimes’ transfer won’t go anywhere near to covering the cost of this, it will be a good start towards the kind of improvements that we want, need and have to make.”
The first team pitch at St James’s Park is also being resurfaced. It looked in good shape at the end of last season, but Tagg added that it wasn’t up to the standard estates manager Clive Pring or Tisdale wanted.
“At the moment the pitch is being resurfaced, which happens every year at St James’s Park,” he said. “It is well documented the problems we have with the pitch, but year-on-year Clive (Pring) and his team improve it.
“Some people might ask why take the pitch up as it was so good at the end of the season? But it is still not what Clive and the manager (Paul Tisdale) want so they are working to improve it and there is money being spent on that as well.”