Ferguson hits back at pitch criticism

ALAN Ferguson today hit back at the widespread criticism of his Portman Road pitch.Ipswich Town's head groundsman says it has gone too far and is starting to affect his staff and his family.

By Elvin King

ALAN Ferguson today hit back at the widespread criticism of his Portman Road pitch.

Ipswich Town's head groundsman says it has gone too far and is starting to affect his staff and his family.

A furious Ferguson said: “Saturday was the last straw. The pitch was even blamed by some for Alan Lee not being given a penalty.

“It is nonsense, the pitch is now even and level and there are no complaints from the players.”

Ferguson, pictured, holds his hands up and admits that mistakes have been made and that the playing surface is not as good as he would like.

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“Yes, I expect to take some criticism because mistakes have been made,” he said. “Some of the work we did was not in the best interests of the pitch.

“The playing surface did not help the team in the autumn and I hold my hands up to that.

“But you cannot compete against nature sometimes.

“We had the hottest summer on record and fresh grass did not grow in the unusual conditions. After we re-turfed in December we then had the wettest January and February.

“We have had quite a bit to contend with, and this should be taken into account.

“Apart from one corner, which cannot be put right until we dig down and improve drainage in the summer, there is not a great deal wrong.

“Saturday's game against Southend was the first one for weeks when we did not have rain in the intervening 24 hours.

“We seeded three weeks ago, and this is now coming through and we are going to sow more seed this week.

“One or two players did express opinions that they were uneasy with the pitch after it was first re-laid on December 5.

“We have been working on it constantly and the players do not see it as a problem now.”

Ferguson was voted groundsman of the year in the previous two seasons, and he is certain the playing surface at Portman Road will return to its former glory in 2007/08.

Top soil experts from the Cranfield University near Luton are doing a survey this week, and Ferguson said: “Without a doubt it will be back to what it was next season.”

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