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Tuesday 23rd October v. Ballyclare Comrades (home) - Toals Co Antrim Shield QF - k.o: 7:45pm

Letter from Ballymena United Chairman
Uploaded Saturday, 21st Jul, 2018 at 12:29

WE'VE received an open letter from Ballymena United Chairman, John Taggart, regarding the damage done to the newly laid pitch on Friday 20th July.
Dear Fellow Sky Blues,
On behalf of all concerned with Ballymena United Football Club, I write with total disappointment at the damage to the newly seeded Ballymena Showgrounds pitch, as evidenced by photographs distributed to the club both last night and this morning.
With a current estimated spend of £250,000, not including ongoing maintenance and repair, we have to call into question how those in charge of the Showgrounds in Mid and East Antrim Council could quite possibly have come to the conclusion that tyres placed at wide intervals could ever have protected their vast financial investment in the playing surface.
Ballymena United have been very supportive of the Council and the unprecedented scale of the works undertaken on the pitch. At our AGM on the 5th June 2018 a letter from Philip Thompson, M&EA Council Director of Operations, was read to shareholders stating the Council's commitment to "establish a top quality playing surface for football for many years to come". Despite the cost of having to play almost the first quarter of the season away from home, supporters, officials, players and staff have all been looking forward to the greater good of having a pitch that would be the envy of many top flight clubs for years to come. This morning the confidence in the Council's protection and maintenance of the new surface has been unfortunately dashed.
At the AGM, concerns were raised at great length by shareholders about what efforts would be in place to protect the pitch from damage. Supporters were particularly vociferous that the Council should not allow damage to the playing surface after such a capital spend of rate payers' money. I forwarded correspondence to Anne Donaghy, Chief Executive, that same week expressing concerns from supporters and shareholders and seeking assurance that appropriate measures would be in place. Unfortunately, the grass hasn't as much as bedded in and the Council's token attempts to protect the pitch at the very first use of the main arena have resulted in widespread disgust and sadness.
It is the understanding of the club that the main arena is to see further use between now and the anticipated date in which the club has been advised the we can return home, and we strongly call on Mid and East Antrim Council to do its duty to local rates payers and all users of the main arena in ensuring that facilities are protected from regular damage, as the Council indicated it would be.
As always we will continue to work with all for the greater good of sporting facilities in our borough, and will continue to advocate that these must be respected and protected by all.
Yours Sincerely,
John Taggart
Chairman
Ballymena United