The much-loved pitch at Stangmore Park will be no more come the end of the season as Dungannon Swifts become the latest club to switch to an artificial playing surface.
he expanding nature of the Tyrone club forced the Board to make the pragmatic decision to lift the turf at the end of the season and lay a new 3G pitch in time for the new campaign.
“We’ll start work after our last home game of the season, and we hope to have it finished by July,” said Swifts Chairman Keith Boyd.
“Everyone loves the pitch here, but it’s old now and there are just too many games needed for it because of the number of teams we have now.
“Like every other club in the Premiership, we have opened up to the community and we now have 15 teams when once we maybe had two or three.
“You can’t have all those players using the pitch for all the training and all the matches, it’s not sustainable, so we needed a 4G facility.
“There are few facilities around Dungannon, so we decided the best option was to go ahead and lay an artificial surface ourselves.”
The funding will not come from Stormont’s fabled Sub-Regional Stadia project that was the subject of much debate this week, as instead the Swifts have availed of a low-interest loan from UEFA to replace the pitch.
“We couldn’t wait for the Sub-Regional funding because we couldn’t depend on getting it, so we moved on and decided to do it ourselves,” added Boyd. “The money is coming from a UEFA loan and the pitch will be up to UEFA’s standards, but we will have to pay the loan back.
“I like a grass surface myself, but unfortunately the club has to sustain itself somehow.”
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