Last winter, in the teeth of the Beast from the East, keeping the pitch frost-free so that we could fulfill our fixtures was a nightmare. On several occasions, the club asked supporters to lend a hand to get the covers on, or off the pitch – and as those who turned out will tell you: it was a filthy, time-consuming, frost-biting job.
But this season, it’s a different story for Buzzer and his ground staff team; because thanks to the efforts of OASSC, the club has been able to purchase a brand-new set of frost covers, from leading manufacturer Stuart Canvas. They are manufactured from a heavy-duty geotextile material and come complete with reinforced hems and eyelets for pegging down.
The covers saw active service for the first time in the run-up to our FA Cup 3rd round clash against Ipswich Town, so we went down to the Wham, both to catch up with Buzzer and to see what the new addition looked like.
Buzzer began by recalling last year’s piecemeal shenanigans: ‘Before we had these it was a nightmare, it was horrendous. It ended up like a dogs dinner and just when you thought ‘right, we’ve got that area sorted’, you’d see somewhere else and you’d think, ‘oh bloody hell’. In the end it looked as though we’d chucked a patchwork quilt onto the pitch and hoped for the best.’
Those days are gone. As the pictures show, the covers look smart and professional, reflecting the modern characteristics of our club, as the former, ramshackle offering never could.
Buzzer got a bit wistful: ‘I’ve been here for 13 years now’, he said, ‘and I’ve never ever seen this pitch completely covered like it is now. It was a fantastic thing for the supporter’s club to do.’
Not only do they look great, the new covers are a comparative doddle to deploy. ‘It took five of us just over an hour to bring the covers out from the back and get the pitch covered’, he said. ‘Last year, it took a couple of dozen blokes the best part of a day to get the old ones on and off. Three blokes could do it now with these new ones, two to roll them out and one to inflate them.’
Inflate them? Rather than try to explain how that works, there’s a video below for you to look at.
On behalf of OASSC– and Buzzer – it’s a great big ‘thank-you’ to everybody who chipped in last year to enable us to raise the £12,000 it took acquire these covers. Rest assured, they really will reduce the odds on us having to postpone games because of a frozen pitch.
In fact, whatever the weather throws at us this winter, thanks to OASSC, Buzzer’s got it covered.