COLERAINE FC have officially announced the installation of a 4G pitch.
The work will commence in June straight after the conclusion of the 2020/21 season.
It marks a significant financial investment by the club which will benefit the whole community.
The installation will transform the Coleraine Showgrounds, with the 4G surface meeting the guidelines required from world governing body FIFA.
The work will be carried out by Clive Richardson Limited, with plans in place if fixtures need to be switched at the start of next season.
Coleraine Chairman Colin McKendry believes the investment will provide the perfect opportunity to be in the heart of the community, as well as helping the club move forward both on and off the pitch.
“It is massive for the football club but also the local community,” he said.
“This is a community club and we want to open it up to everyone and all different sports.
“We have our own Youths set-up here so we want this to be a community hub and we believe the investment will stand us in good stead moving forward.
“Everybody has been appointed and the project will begin in early June, so this isn’t a wish list any more, it is happening.
“We want everyone to buy into it and be a part of it.
“Of course, there is a twinge of sadness because this is all I’ve ever known at The Showgrounds, but the pitch has run its course and has never been replaced.
“I look forward to seeing The Showgrounds with a hive of activity six or seven nights a week.”
Coleraine boss Oran Kearney highlighted the importance of being able to train at The Showgrounds and acknowledged how his side have got accustomed to playing on a 4G surface throughout the years.
“I’m here a long time now and it’s been something we have tried to achieve for a huge amount of years,” he said.
“We all know the benefits it will bring off the pitch, but as a team, we train on the 3G at the University and we have had plenty of good results on that surface.
“I think our current pitch plays well in September, October and November time as its slick and the ball moves well on it, but there have been other games we have found it tough as we can’t move the ball as fast.
“We have good physio facilities here, we have good fitness facilities here and we have a sauna, which gives us a really good platform, but training at the University just isn’t home.
“The injured players who can’t take part in training can now bring a bike out and watch the session and still feel a part of it.
“Training on this arena non-stop will hopefully give us an added advantage.”
Clive Richardson Limited – who have previous experiences of working with pitches across Northern Ireland – insist they can’t wait to get started with their new ‘exciting project’ on the Ballycastle Road.
“Clive Richardson Limited are delighted to be appointed by Coleraine Football Club to deliver a new pitch at The Showgrounds in time for the 2021/22 season.
“CRL have developed a number of the premier stadium pitches across the island of Ireland in recent years, including The National Stadium at Windsor Park, Crusaders FC’s Seaview Stadium, Dundalk FC’s Oriel Park home and The Brandywell, and look forward to working with the Club to redevelop another one of the iconic local stadiums.
“The synthetic pitch which we will construct will be to the highest FIFA Quality Pro standards and will be the same as pitches recently installed by us at Aston Villa FC’s Bodymoor Heath Training Ground and Crystal Palace FC’s Copers Cope Training Ground.”
Commenting, CRL Managing Director Clive Richardson said, “We look forward to commencing work on this exciting project and delivering a finished pitch which will contribute immensely to the future of both the club and the local community.”