INSTITUTE: Chairman Anderson looking for local councillors’ support

Institute are hoping their Riverside Stadium pitch will be 3G surface in the not too distant future
Institute are hoping their Riverside Stadium pitch will be 3G surface in the not too distant future

Institute chairman Bill Anderson says he is worried that the club will not receive any of the recent £36 million announced by DCAL (Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure).

He concedes now that they are a Championship One club he doesn’t know if the recent big money announcement will benefit Stute.

And the Waterside men are going to step up in their attempts to get a 3G surface put into the Riverside Stadium.

For the second week running the Waterside men had their game called off due to a waterlogged pitch and because of that Anderson believes the club need to get the artificial surface in as quickly as possible.

“When we applied for the 3G pitch, which would be a crucial part of income for us, we were a Premiership club,” he said.

“So the recent announcement from DCAL in regards the £36 million, I need to find out where we stand because we aren’t Premiership team now and I’m not sure if we are going to fall in between 
two stools.

“We may not be able to access some of that £36 million because we aren’t a Premiership team now as they are talking about designated grounds and that’s grounds with over 5,000 supporters. Then if the Sport NI funding goes to sort of lower level clubs, then we may just fall into two stools, which would be problematic for us.

“The proposal of the 3G pitch and that funding from Sport NI we see it as kind of crucial for the future.”

Anderson, who took over as chairman this season, concedes that he’s in a process of trying to find out which department the club needs to lobby and he will be hoping local councillors will help him and the club.

“It’s hard to know where the decision makers are, because NIFL (Northern Ireland Football League), IFA (Irish Football Association), Sport NI and DCAL and in those four bodies there are different people who make the decisions, so it’s a matter of identifying them and then try to lobby them,” he said.

With two games scheduled for the Riverside Stadium cancelled over the last fortnight, Anderson knows times are tough.

“With no revenue coming in over the last two weeks it’s certainly problematic, but I would said it’s hitting all clubs,” he said.

“The difficult economic situation hasn’t help the Irish League in general and yes at times we are finding it particularly tight but we are still managing to get by, but we need home matches to get gate receipts and sometimes that doesn’t even work.

“The League Cup quarter-final tie against Warrenpoint Town ended up costing us, because we had to pay the referee and his assistants’ expenses, but we just get 
on with it.”