Football pitches in Amber Valley are to get a £400,000 revamp, it has been revealed this week.
The news comes after Ripley Town FC manager Paul Lavender contacted the Ripley & Heanor News and slammed the state of his side’s Nottingham Road pitch in the town, calling for urgent action from Amber Valley Borough Council.
The manager claimed that the state of the pitch used by the club, one of the town’s top teams, had led to them having games called off and had seen the side ridiculed by players and staff from opposition sides.
He claimed the playing surface had been described as ‘a joke’ by opposition teams and he believed had played a part in a decline in the number of youngsters choosing to play football for the club as they selected clubs with better pitches elsewhere.
An annoyed Mr Lavender said: “As manager of Ripley Town Football Club we are really concerned by the standard of the pitch at Nottingham Road ground in Ripley.
“The pitch has deteriorated over the years and is now a real worry.
“Last season, we had two games called off by referees due to potholes in the goalmouth, and the visiting clubs described the pitch as ‘a joke’ and ‘the worst they have ever played on’. This reflects on the town in general and gives Ripley a bad name.
“With a camping show due on the pitch in July it doesn’t look like it’s going to get any better.
“Good young local players are now choosing to play their football with clubs outside the town due to this problem and this is causing real concern for the future of the town’s football club.
“We are urging the Amber Valley Borough Council to address this problem as soon as possible with the obvious solution being to move the pitch to the newly prepared area on the opposite side of the car park.
“If something isn’t done the future of the club that proudly represents the town of Ripley is in serious doubt.”
Upon putting Paul’s plea to Amber Valley Borough Council we received this response from landscape manager Sharon Sutton: “Amber Valley Borough Council is happy to respond with news that funds of £400,000 have recently been allocated to the renovation of existing community pitches and improvements to the community park on Nottingham Road, Ripley.
“Talking with all of the sports clubs currently using this site is part of the meticulous planning process aimed to ensure that this money is invested wisely to benefit the whole community.
“This consultation is anticipated to start towards the end of July following the conclusion of surveys and feasibility studies currently underway – and all clubs will be contacted at that point.
“We urge any club or individual with an interest in this site to contact us directly with any questions or concerns over its future – and will release more details of developments as they happen.”