Work to begin on new pitch at Montrose for 2015/16 season

Gable Endies groundsman Ronnie Marquis.
Gable Endies groundsman Ronnie Marquis.

Things have been looking up recently for Montrose after retaining their league status and their management team Paul Hegarty and John Holt.

Now a new state of the art playing surface is only weeks away as work is set to begin on replacing the existing surface at Links Park and the club are keen to point out that fans can still be part of this exciting project by becoming a pitch sponsor.

The current artificial surface, laid in 2007, has come to end of its natural life and the new one will literally be greener than the old one.

Groundsman Ronnie Marquis explained: “Small rubber pellets are used on these types of pitches to help keep the blades upright. In most cases these pellets are a natural black colour and this is what gives the pitch a dull, shiny finish. This time, our new surface is going to have green pellets to give it a much more natural look.”

As well as providing an excellent surface for the professionals to train and play on, the artificial blades have transformed Links Park into a community hub with its use seven days a week by local schools, clubs and groups and it is of course home to the ever growing and developing Links Park Community Trust.

Whilst not as expensive as the original project, the new surface doesn’t come cheap.

Club Chairman Derek Sim said: “The original pitch cost over £350,000 back in 2007, but much of this was enabling works for the top carpet to be laid. It is only this top surface that needs replacing which will cost us in excess of £100,000 and will once again be supplied by Polytan Sports.

“This is a significant investment for the club that will set us up for the next eight to 10 years and a lot a work has gone on behind the scenes to get us to this point. We had to push ahead as the pitch had failed the standard FIFA Two test imposed by the SPFL so the only unthinkable alternative was to have played our home matches elsewhere next season.

“The club is extremely grateful to the Scottish Football Partnership for a grant of £40,000 towards the pitch and Links Park Community Trust are also actively seeking funding as their contribution towards maintaining this excellent facility that is used and enjoyed by the whole community.”

The remaining project funds will come from a combination of club monies, loans and sponsorship via the innovative Pitch Sponsorship Scheme.

The scheme allows fans to sponsor a 5m x 5m area of the pitch for the lifetime of the surface for only £135 and in return they will receive a framed certificate, have their name appear on a pitch side board, be regularly acknowledged in matchday programmes and stand a chance each season to win Corporate Hospitality for two in a lucky prize draw.