Newcastle coach Ernie Merrick slammed the state of Spotless Stadium on Friday night as the Jets picked up their first win of the season.
Merrick’s men prevailed 2-0 over Western Sydney Wanderers but it was the state of the pitch that grabbed almost as much attention as the victory.
The coach found shards from plastic cups and a screw on the ground in a brief inspection prior to kick-off, labbelling the conditions a disgrace.
“I just had a couple of minutes to pick up some of the rubbish oon the football pitch. I’m not sure you could call it a football pitch it’s more like a carpark,” he told Fox Sports.
“I just had a couple of minutes to pick up some of the rubbish on the football pitch — I’m not sure if you could call it a football pitch, it’s more like a carpark out there.”— FOX Sports Football (@FOXFOOTBALL) 23 November 2018
Ernie Merrick was understandably unhappy with the Spotless Stadium pitch: https://t.co/YWLgvurK1V pic.twitter.com/9ai0iCVXHX
The stadium was the venue of a concert a week ago and debris from the stands had blown onto the ground in the past 24 hours.
Merrick said he was worried about the safety of players: “Of course I am but the match commissioner says it’s playable and so it’s playable.
“We’re happy to play as long as we don’t get injured but that’s pretty bad.”
To add to the insult, Jets’ Daniel Georgievski was subbed late in the game with a groin injury partly attributed to the unstable surface that proved tricky for both teams.
Staff still out on the pitch picking up shards of plastic... Not sure why it’s been left til now, less than an hour before kick off, to try clean it up. pic.twitter.com/OPwjfjLN1e— Carly Adno (@CarlyAdno226) 23 November 2018
Post match Merrick told Fox Sports: “For safety and to play the best possible football to entertain the crowd you can’t play on a pitch like that – it’s a disgrace."
He even found a moment to commiserate with his Wanderers counterpart.
“I just feel sorry for Markus Babbel playing on a pitch like that.”
Former Wanderer and Fox Sports pundit, Robbie Cornthwaite, said it could have been a lot worse.
“With all the shards of plastic on the field, if Georgievski picked up a little groin injury it’s probably quite lucky that’s all that’s happened,” Cornthwaite said.
“Potentially it could have been a very serious injury to someone.”
Wanderers have moved their home game to Spotless while Parramatta Stadium is being redeveloped.
Meanwhhile Spotless announced today that they were withdrawing their sponsorship of the stadium.