Town chairman “frustrated” at ground switch from Shay

The Shay Stadium, Halifax
The Shay Stadium, Halifax

Town chairman David Bosomworth admits it’s “frustrating” that the Shaymen were forced to switch their FA Trophy clash with Dartford to Droylsden’s Butchers Arms ground from the Shay on Saturday.

The club had to move the game after Calderdale Council couldn’t guarantee the pitch would be playable at the Shay.

Bosomworth said: “It was pretty evident the Shay pitch was struggling. We approached the ground staff and the council to say ‘what are the chances of playing a game Saturday or Sunday?’

“The big problem with the Shay is when the air temperature comes up, no sun gets onto the surface on the South Stand side. To fix that is really difficult and because we couldn’t get an assurance we could play, even on Sunday, we had to make a decision.

“We looked round various grounds. We looked at Bury, Rochdale, Oldham but for various reasons they weren’t available.

“Farsley were at home so we couldn’t use their ground. Harrogate Town were at home so we couldn’t go there.

“Guiseley we couldn’t get hold of and then Droylsden was another option and they said the pitch was playable.

“It’s been a catalogue of things to work with but we needed to play because the FA were getting really concerned the game wasn’t getting played.”

Bosomworth is hoping there will be more work to improve the pitch at the Shay over the summer but is disappointed at its current condition.

He said: “We’re frustrated that work that might have been done three or four years ago on the pitch never got done and we are where we’re at now.

“We’ve done one stage last year and there’s a likelihood of more work getting done this close season.

“It’s frustrating because it isn’t ideally set-up for rugby and soccer - I think we all accept that.

“Particularly for our needs because we play on the surface and in rugby it’s a lot easier to play on different circumstances, but we accept all that.

“All we want to do is get games on.”

Bosomworth is also hoping there won’t be a repeat of the move to Droylsden, and that Tuesday’s FA Trophy quarter-final against Wrexham will be played at the Shay.

He added: “I’m hoping it’s a one-time thing. We’ve got a good record at the Shay and it’s when you get to the business end of the season and lots of big games coming up so you want to have home advantage for that.

“We had a conversation with the ground staff on Saturday and they feel the pitch will be ready for Tuesday.

“We don’t think there’s any rain forecast so it seems clear from a weather point of view.”