Football clubs forced to clear mounds of grass after Fife Council left pitch unplayable

Mounds of grass left on John Dixon Park in Markinch.
Mounds of grass left on John Dixon Park in Markinch.

Fife Council has been criticised after football clubs were forced to clear mounds of grass from their pitch ahead of the new season.

It is claimed that John Dixon Park in Markinch was left in an unplayable state following a long overdue visit from Council grass cutters last week.

Youth side Lomond Colts had to clear the pitch themselves to ensure their match could be played, while Markinch Amateurs were idle on Saturday but had been hoping to train on the surface.

Shane Fenton, secretary of the Markinch Highland Games, believes the Council is failing in its responsibility to maintain the pitches.

“This is how Fife Council left it after allowing the grass to get far too long before they got round to cutting it,” he said. “You could actually bale it.

“The smaller pitch on the other side of the park which was being used by one of the Lomond Colts teams at the weekend was the same.

“With the parks obviously unplayable committee members had to arm themselves with rakes and brushes to try and get them in some kind of condition to play a game.

“The football teams pay the Council good money to maintain the pitches and make sure they are playable, on this evidence they are clearly not doing their job.”

Mr Fenton claims this is not the first time that sport has been disrupted in the park in similar circumstances.

He recalls a few years ago that the Markinch Games committee faced the prospect of having to cancel the event owing to the mess left in the park after the Council had cut it.

“The Games that year were only saved when the committee put out an appeal for locals to come to the park with their own mowers to cut the grass to make it respectable,” he explained. “In fairness to the Council in recent years they have had the Games arena in great condition.

“This latest episode, however, is just showing total disrespect to the sports enthusiasts of the town, particularly on the eve of a new football season when the park should have been looking immaculate.”

Stephen Duffy, team manager of parks, streets and open spaces with Fife Council, said: “We do our best to maintain a high standard of playing conditions on all our sport pitches throughout Fife, and work with football teams where possible to achieve this.

“Unfortunately due to the extreme wet and warm weather conditions over the past month grass cutting has been very difficult to stay on top of.

“We will endeavour to maintain good standards throughout the season for all sport areas and apologies where we have slipped on this occasion.”