Cheltenham boss Yates makes his pitch over Tigers groundshare
MARK Yates would be far from disappointed if Gloucester City's groundshare agreement came to an end because of the effect the extra games are having on the Abbey Business Stadium pitch.
But the Robins boss may change his mind after being told that it would mean his playing budget being reduced by as much as £45,000 per season.
So far this season, groundsman Terry Roberts' pitch has staged 50 matches – ten more than it is designed to handle in ideal weather conditions.
With the Robins pushing hard to earn an automatic promotion spot from League Two, Yates said that the surface was making life difficult for his side to find their best form.
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In the immediate aftermath of Tuesday's dramatic 1-0 win over Chesterfield, Yates revealed his frustrations at his side's passing play being affected by the increasingly bobbly.
He said: "That was a big win and we showed character, but I have to say I desperately hope Gloucester don't pay us and leave that pitch alone.
"I will be speaking to chairman and telling him I don't want them playing here because it has affected us.
"It's really bobbly and lively but we stuck at it and we wanted two wins on the bounce. We kept going and got our rewards in the end and it could be a massive three points at the end of the season."
The groundshare arrangement is worth around £45,000 a year to Cheltenham, but Gloucester have fallen behind with their monthly payments, putting next year's arrangement in serious doubt.
The two clubs are still in negotiations regarding the sums owed with Robins chairman Paul Baker saying that he would be 'delighted' to see the Tigers pay up and secure an agreement for another year.
But Baker believes the Robins boss' comments were said firmly tongue in cheek, especially when he considers the impact it could have on his playing budget.
"I have spoken with Mark since he made those comments and I think that they were slightly tongue in cheek," Baker said.
"If you look at a lot of pitches around the country, ours is still one of the better ones. There are some awful ones in the Championship and League One that are worse than ours.
"But Mark makes a valid point that we like to play the ball on the ground and it's not the easiest when the pitches get a little bit bobbly.
"But I think a lot of that is down to the weather this year. Last year we managed to win the best pitch in League Two, despite having a the groundshare.
"However, if you were to ask Mark whether he would prefer to have his playing budget reduced by X amount a year, or have a groundshare I think I know which one he would probably go for."