Anger as car yobs tear up pitches of club’s junior teams

Burntwood Dragons & Phoenix are searching for a temporary home for half of their 32 teams after seeing their Coppy Nook playing fields wrecked by a joy-rider.

The club are searching for more information after the pitches were ravaged – just months on from receiving a Football Foundation grant to improve them.

The driver is thought to have done the damage after entering via Hospital Road on Monday night, coming after tireless work from volunteers to make sure they were in tip-top condition for the new season, which only got going at the start of September.

Burntwood Dragons & Phoenix are now liaising with Lichfield District Council and the Football Foundation. Chairman Laurence Danan said: “We’re already having to think about people not being able to play this weekend and trying to find somewhere else, so it’s extra costs for the club.

“It has a big knock-on effect for the club, especially after all the work of volunteers to make sure we were ready to start the new season in early September.

“We also had a Football Foundation grant to help improve the pitches. We’ve contacted them and they’ve said they will look to help if they can.

“The sad thing is that whoever has done this might well know someone from the club as it’s quite a small community.”

Burntwood Dragons & Phoenix have been going for 24 years, and their sides between under-11s and under-16s are set to be affected most by the joy-rider.

The club are now hoping the council’s maintenance team can get the pitch back into a playable state, but they are likely to have to play elsewhere for the next few weeks or have to cancel matches.

“We’re trying to sort an alternative pitch at the Burntwood Leisure Centre and we’ve contacted the Lichfield District Council,” said Danan.

“The nice thing to come out of it all is that we have received a lot of help and the Lichfield maintenance team are going to come down and see what they can do to help with their big machinery.

“They may be able to flatten it with the rollers.

“That’s the hope and they’ve been a good help, to be fair to them. In the whole club, we’ve got 32 teams and the ones who will be affected by those pitches is probably half.

“From under-11s to under-16s is the affected group.”

Burntwood Dragons & Phoenix first posted the news on their Facebook page, urging anyone with information to get in touch while feeling ‘absolutely sick and disgusted’.

“So much hard work has gone into making sure the place is safe, risk assessments for Covid, to make the place as safe as possible,” added Danan.

“The one thing you don’t expect is someone to drive their car on the pitch.”

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