May 28, 2022

The discouraged coaches had no choice but to leave their Parker Avenue pitch unfit to play, with some calling it “like a swamp.”

Club chairman Jason Quigley said: “We have the same problem every winter and nothing is done about it and we are paying for the privilege of playing on it.

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“It’s not like the level of play is bad enough, we have to walk around every night before training and clean the dog’s dirty and broken glass because people use the place where we train.

“Everyone from coaches to parents and children are frustrated and discouraged and we have enough.

“I have been contacting councils and councilors about this since I started in 2009 and nothing has happened yet.

“It’s a disgrace. You go to the likes of Ballybogey and Bushmills and they have facilities for all seasons and they can play all year round.

“We have 180 kids eager to play and yet we go through it every year and the pitch gets cut. It can’t take the weather and it can’t take the elements.

The youngsters of Portsmouth FC would love to see 3G or 4G pitches installed which enable youngsters to play in all conditions.

Mr Quigley said: “Let’s move on. We’re happy to try funding. We know the council doesn’t have the money to pay for all this, but even if they say we can. They are willing to pay one percent for this but unfortunately we are not getting anything from them.

“It is possible that some of these children will not return. They are trying to escape from the dung and there are tears because they were falling in the mud then they were getting wet and freezing cold. There are seven year old kids, it would be different if they were on 3G pitch which is not a problem and this is a very good environment.

“It’s frustrating for us as a coach to go there and try to kick the ball by bathing the kids in the mud.”

Addressing the councilors representing the Causeway DEA, the club chairman added: “Please come down and take a look at it for yourself and see what we do on a daily basis. Talk to coaches, parents and children.

“These kids are talking to their friends who are saying that I was training in Coleraine on 3G or show grounds but we don’t have that luxury, we can’t even find a place to do training sessions there.

“We don’t really want to take the kids out of the portage and not everyone has a car and then we have to consider the extra cost of the parent’s travel.

“It’s very frustrating that since 2009 when I started 2022 we still have this problem. What’s the point? Would you like your kids to play in a situation like this? I doubt it. “

The DUP Causeway DEA councilors expressed their commitment to helping the youth of Portsmouth FC, adding that a meeting with club and council officials has been arranged in the coming days which is an ongoing process. Is the next step.

Councilor Mark Fielding said: “I have been working with the club on various issues since 2011 and will continue to support them now and in the future.

“It’s very clear that there is a need to address issues with existing facilities to ensure that they meet a standard that meets the needs of clubs and locals.”

Fellow Causeway DUP Counselor John McAuley added: “After being contacted this morning by Portsmouth FC Youth about the state of their facilities, I called on the club and council to seek short-, medium- and long-term improvements. Has talked with the officers.

“I have been involved in local football for almost 20 years now so I am well aware that winter training is a problem for many clubs and continues.

“The good news is that resolutions are poss
ible and have been obtained in other areas of the borough in the past.

“I am committed to helping Porterish FC youngsters achieve the same results for their facilities.

Maurice Bradley, East London Dairy MLA, said: “I was talking to council officials two years ago as part of the council’s consultation process on the Bole’s pitch strategy on behalf of the Coleraine and the District League.

“As part of the overall strategy, it was acknowledged that the borough lacked 3G facilities and Parker Avenue was paired with other sites.

“I would be happy to meet with the Porterish Football Club and Porterish Youth at any time to discuss facilities.

“I’m meeting with council officials in Parker Avenue and other areas, hoping to achieve roll-on, roll-off goals.

“I believe the facilities are important, the facilities allow the clubs to grow and improve the sports fans.

“But, in the short term, I would urge Portsmouth Youth members to lobby their local councilors.

“After being involved in football for many years and campaigning for better football facilities in the old Collierine Borough Council area, I have been working to improve facilities for Portsmouth youth and all over the Causeway Coast and Glenz Borough Council area. I also support clubs. “

Meanwhile, SDLP MLA Cara Hunter posted on the club’s social media that she would “write to the Department of Communities and Sports NI to see if there are any funds available to address this ongoing issue.”

When contacted, a spokesman for the Causeway Coast and Glens Council said: “The club’s designated training pitch was declared fit for purpose earlier this week.

“Council officials will visit the site today to assess the ground conditions and, in the interim, will engage with the club to offer an alternative location.”

The Local Democracy Reporting Service contacted the other councilors, but they did not respond when contacted by the press.

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