Fringe Box



Guildford City FC Manager Quits Over Poor State of the Pitch at Spectrum Leisure Centre

Published on: 29 Apr, 2023
Updated on: 29 Apr, 2023

The manager of the first team at Guildford City football club has resigned, citing the “horrendous” state of the pitch the club hires and uses at the Spectrum leisure centre in Stoke Park.

Pete Ruggles, who has quit as first team manager of Guildford City football club over the state of its home pitch at Spectrum leisure centre.

In a statement on the club’s website, manager Pete Ruggles lashes out, saying: “The pitch is absolutely horrendous and it’s hard to see how to turn it around and play a brand of football I wish to be associated with.

“It’s a massive shame because if Guildford were to have access to a facility like Westfield, Knaphill or Sheerwater, you would attract players so easily and create a great atmosphere. It’s clear to see both the potential of the club and the obvious frustration of everybody involved.”

The club’s chairman, David Knight, gave his comments on the website, saying he was sorry to hear of Ruggles’ departure, adding: “We had told Pete that stability was key this season, and this has been achieved.

“However, some of the facilities available to the club have proven disappointing to the management team.  We, as a club, are equally frustrated, although we do work very hard to provide as good a match day experience as we can.

“In any event we thank Pete and his management team for their hard work this season. They will always be welcome at the club, and we wish them all the best for the future.”

Fans of the football club have been commenting on its Facebook page. One of those is the club’s vice-chairman, Kevin Parker, who wrote: “No local training facilities in Guildford – we had to beg, steal and borrow to get Winston Churchill  [school] in Woking at 9pm on a Thursday for one hour, to train.

“That is just one example of the lack of support we get from Guildford Borough Council. Don’t get me started on the lack of pitch maintenance at the Spectrum and the state of the arena. I will save that for another day!

“We pay [the] best part of £200 a game to hire the Spectrum and if it wasn’t for the efforts of volunteers and [the] committee cleaning, repairing and maintaining it, no game would be played there.”

One stalwart fan of many years summed up the mood, in that Guildford Borough Council, who looks after the outdoor arena and pitch at Spectrum, does little, by telling The Dragon: “All they do is cut the grass. The hammer throwers leave large holes on in the pitch every week, which are dangerous.

“Our MP Angelia Richardson is going to take it up with the council after the elections, and we are holding a committee meeting next Wednesday at the Royal British Legion, Northway, Guildford.”

Guildford City FC plays its home matches at the Spectrum leisure centre, Stoke Park.

Guildford Borough Council has responded, issuing a statement, which reads: “We work with the football club, and other users to maintain the pitch to as high a standard as possible.

“We are sorry if at times the club has not been happy with the standard of the pitch. As a multi-use facility, it needs to accommodate a variety of sports, which may not always be a complimentary arrangement.

“Added to this, March was the wettest on record since 1982 which has caused some issues due to softer ground. Nonetheless, we continued a thorough maintenance routine whenever possible.

“We would welcome further input and discussion with the football club, should they have concerns about how we maintain the pitch.”

Guildford City plays its league matches in the Combined Countries Premier Division South. Twenty teams make up the division and the club has finished the season in 14th place.

The club won its final game of the season earlier this week, a home tie, beating Horley Town 4-3. The match was actually played at Sheerwater’s Eastwood stadium.

See also: Council Statement Leaves Me Dumbfounded

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Responses to Guildford City FC Manager Quits Over Poor State of the Pitch at Spectrum Leisure Centre

  1. Derek Tucker Reply

    April 29, 2023 at 5:14 pm

    GBC knows full well that it doesn’t care about football in this borough.

    It’s embarrassing to see all these wonderful facilities that Woking Borough Council can supply to all their areas yet a town the size of Guildford can’t be bothered.

  2. Dave Fielding Reply

    April 29, 2023 at 7:48 pm

    I first became aware of this when I saw a tweet from Angela Richardson MP implying that the Lib Dem administration was to blame. Let’s hope Angela’s little bandwagon, if she has one, doesn’t further dig up the pitch.

    Out of interest, have the officials of the football club considered ground sharing with Godalming FC? I appreciate it’s outside of the borough but it seems a reasonable option.

    • Kevin Parker Reply

      May 1, 2023 at 6:34 pm

      If David Fielding knew anything about the club you will know that we did share Godalming’s ground for some timeas Godalming & Guildford.

      He is though correct to say it is not in Guildford hence why we moved back to the town. Why do we have to ground share outside of the borough? If that were the case we may as well fold the club up.

      Kevin Parker is the vice chairman of Guildford City FC

  3. Andrew Backhurst Reply

    May 2, 2023 at 10:47 pm

    A few seasons ago a new running track at the Spectrum was required to replace the worn-out one, this work was carried out during the autumn and winter months, so as not to impact the athletics club who are the primary tenants.

    Due to the nature of the work, Guildford City FC couldn’t play their games at the Spectrum and spent the season on the road borrowing grounds to play our home games from rival clubs across seven of the eight boroughs of Surrey.

    The only borough we didn’t play in that season was Guildford. Embarrassing isn’t it? Well it should be.

  4. Dave Fielding Reply

    May 4, 2023 at 6:32 pm

    In response to Kevin Parker, I don’t know that much about Guildford City, I’ve been to about a dozen games at the ground and read the social media.

    I’m also not clear what is expected of GBC Clearly there is unhappiness unhappy with the pitch: if this was rectified would the complaint end or is the club looking for GBC to find space for a new facility, just for football, much like Walton and Horsham. If so, would GCFC be prepared to joint fund or would it expect the ratepayers to pick up the cost?

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