In January 2010, we saw the cancellation of many Football League and even Premiership games with temperatures in the UK dropping to extreme freezing conditions of -15 to -20 degrees in places overnight. Pitches were completely frozen and totally unplayable. Whilst we were all aware that this seemed a severe batch of extreme weather, the reality was that frost played and still does play an intrinsic part in sporting events being called off. The Football League had already introduced a ruling that all League clubs MUST have full pitch sized frost covers by the start of of the 2010/11 season.
Whilst in 2006, the 500 Club had already purchased a set of frost covers (see the article here) for the pitch some time ago to help ensure that the FA cup 3rd round tie against Newcastle took place, these were not full pitch sized covers and were only enough to cover the end that suffered the most from the frost (the Carlsberg Stand end).
As such, the “Raise the Ground” 500 Club decided that they would like to be in the position to considerably assist with or even fully purchase the frost covers for Cheltenham Town Football Club.
Before the start of the season, Steve Smith managed to contact a company that could provide the club with such Frost Sheets and also he was able to negotiate a substantial discount with this company – we would therefore be grateful if you would take a few moments to visit the site advertised at the bottom of the article as it was them that enabled us to purchase the Frost Sheets at a discount.
Whilst the 500 club still put a large amount of money to this (£10,000) the frost sheets are now at the club ready for use this year when needed and hopefully this will result in fewer postponements, we will wait and see. A few pictures of the Frost Sheets and how they are deployed – they are quite heavy apparently.
The Football League introduced the requirement to have spare goalposts and nets available in case required. the 500 Club therefore agreed to purchase these for the club at a total cost of £ 950.
The Football Management Team approached the 500 Club, asking if we could supply the training ground with a pair of rowing machines, as training equipment at Seasons was of a poor quality or out dated.
This we believed to be beneficial to the fitness of the players, and agreed to the purchase of 2 machines at a total cost of £ 1,660.
Over the last 12 months the membership of the 500 Club had grown in size. After a letter campaign we had reached a membership of around 560, we had never had so much money in our account and in fairness we had no real projects in the pipe line.
We all know that money at the club was tight. The 500 club was approached by the Chairman if we could cover the costs of the yearly service of the pitch and to have some new drainage installed.
One thing the fans of Cheltenham Town Football Club can be proud of is the superb playing surface of our pitch, and it has always been praised by the teams who visit The Abbey Buisness Stadium. I put some feelers out amongst the membership, and it was apparent the fans wished us to spend the £20,000 on the pitch. I think it has turned out to be money well spent.
Picture: Mr R Howells.