Plymouth Argyle grounds manager appalled by damage to Home Park ground

Plymouth Argyle grounds manager Chris Ralph admitted ’emptied is an understatement’ as he reacted to the damage to the pitch at Home Park after intruders burst into the stadium.

The burglary, which took place on Saturday evening, included a tractor being driven onto the only recently renovated playing surface.

Ralph and his team, aided by sports field contractors Inscapes, will now have to carry out repairs and with the first of two pre-season games at Home Park just five weeks away.

Read more: Home Park burglary: Reward offered to name idiots who stole tractor and drove it on Argyle land

Argyle will face Swansea City on Tuesday July 12 (7.30pm) before hosting Bristol City on Saturday July 16 (3pm).

Police are investigating after individuals breached the perimeter fence before entering the field team’s storage garage to gain access to a tractor.

Inscapes will make an additional trip to Home Park as soon as possible to re-germinate the playing surface, but there is no guarantee that any damage caused by the incident can be instantly repaired.

Ralph posted a message on Twitter which read: “Gutted is an understatement but I work with fantastic people who have already put the wheels in motion to repair the damage.

“A big thank you to @Inscapesonline @JRInscapes @rigbytaylor @MarcusH81185912 @Tildenet_Sports @DGMTurfcare.”

Argyle owner and chairman Simon Hallett was one of those who responded to Ralph’s message with words of encouragement, replying: “Well done, team, on a horrible day.”

Ralph had told the club’s official website late last month about the annual fiber sand pitch makeover.

He said: “The first process was to pulverize the ground to kill the grass – whatever is here. The main reason for this is to get rid of the poa, or meadow grass, which naturally sows throughout the season.

“We’re in the middle of a park here, so it’s worse than other clubs, but that minimizes the chances of him taking over.

“We will then pull Koro from the surface, or cultivate it, and remove about 25mm from the surface. It comes off in strips and will eventually look pinkish from the sand. there is no organic matter in it.

“We will then have to fix a few issues that we encountered with the levels.

“Over the years we have lost a bit of shape and it dips slightly, an example of this is the corner of Devonport which Mr Broom found to swim against Bolton.

“The pitch should be like an upside-down saucer, that’s the look we’re going for, so no water standing and pooling.

“We then throw in the new sand, put in the fibrous sand, level it, turn it or plow it to mix it all up, then rake it, sow it and hope it all comes out as a nice, even, green carpet.

“With fertilization and germination it will take about six weeks and should look great.”

Anyone with information about the break-in is asked to contact Devon and Cornwall Police on 101 quoting crime reference number CR/048962/22.

Supporters can also send any relevant information to feedback@pafc.co.uk and the club says a reward will be offered for information.

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