Pitch per­fect for ex­cit­ing new 3G era

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Ashford United - By An­drew Gi­d­ley

Erith Town may have proved par­ty­poop­ers on Ash­ford United’s big day at Home­lands on Satur­day but there was no hid­ing the ex­cite­ment as the club fi­nally staged their first se­nior match on the new 3G pitch. Mal­colm Parker, one of the band of vol­un­teers who helped lay the new sur­face, de­scribed it as “beau­ti­ful” while for­mer chair­man Ernie War­ren, another mem­ber of the work­ing par­ties who spent many hours at the club dur­ing the close sea­son do­ing jobs around the ground, hailed it as “the way for­ward for clubs at this level.” Owner Don Cros­bie proudly re­vealed that the club hosted football ev­ery night last week, in­clud­ing the un­der­18s’ 2-1 Ry­man Youth League Cup win over East­bourne Bor­ough on Thurs­day night Ju­nior matches fol­lowed on Sun­day morn­ing, with Brake Broth­ers host­ing a char­ity match in the af­ter­noon. United new chief ex­ec­u­tive Denise Peach said: “It looks fab­u­lous – it is go­ing to help us no end with the rev­enue it brings in from hir­ing it to sup­port the football. “It helps Don leave a legacy here, which was al­ways his in­ten­tion. “He is tired at this point be­cause he has worked for so many hours. We have both worked for three months with­out a day off. “I pushed wheel­bar­rows around and did any­thing that needed do­ing and just joined in be­cause we are a team, a fam­ily and have got the same goals and pur­pose. I didn’t mind muck­ing in.” Parker added: “Don’s en­thu­siam is in­fec­tious but it wasn’t easy at all. It was car­pet-layer’s work on a big­ger scale. The car­pet rolls were four me­tres wide and weighed some­thing like a ton and a half. It took four men to move them. “Now it’s done, it looks lovely and I and all the other vol­un­teers can feel we have achieved some­thing.” War­ren, an Ash­ford sup­porter since the early 60s be­fore be­ing in­vited off the ter­races to join the board in 1983, spent eight years as chair­man. Now to be seen selling pro­grammes on match­days or, as he was on Satur­day, man­ning a turn­stile to­gether with Parker, he said: “It has been a long time com­ing but it has all been well worth it. “A lot more non-league clubs will even­tu­ally go the same way, pro­vid­ing they can af­ford it.It is the only way for­ward for the club. It looks smart and slick. The old pitch was look­ing tired af­ter 25 years, with not a lot of money spent on main­tain­ing it. “Peo­ple who were here be­fore, like South­ern League chair­man Doug Gil­lard and Alan and Au­drey Lan­caster, would have loved it. “All the work they put in to bring the club here, I am sure it would get their bless­ing. “Ash­ford is a town con­tin­u­ing to grow and the au­di­ence will do the same with suc­cess. All we need now is re­sults, but I am sure they will come. “The play­ers have got to get ad­justed to it but Erith didn’t come to make up the num­bers.”

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