Vandals fill Mangere United soccer pitch with holes
It's the equivalent of someone digging up Eden Park as far as Mangere United is concerned.
That's the reaction of Mangere Centre Park Sports Association president Noel Robinson to damage to the No1 pitch at Centre Park in Mangere overnight.
Auckland Council contractors discovered the damage this morning.
They found the main pitch pockmarked with holes and divots running for the length of the ground.
Some holes were as deep as 20cm.
''It looks like they used a spade or a hoe. It had to be a broad-bladed instrument. It's just hard to believe the amount of stuff they chopped up,'' an upset Robinson said.
''It might be vandals or it might even be a bit of retribution from someone. You never know.''
The damage is so bad and so widespread that Robinson thinks Mangere United's Northern Region Football League match against Melville tomorrow won't go ahead.
''My impression, having looked at the damaged area is that the ground would be too unstable for a game tomorrow.
''It's got to settle. Some player slides in there or rips the turf out with his boot and God only knows, he could end up with a twisted ankle, even worse a broke ankle.
''It's going to be the council's call because I'm not even sure whether they can get it all done before knockoff time tonight.''
The former New Zealand Football Association president has had a gutsful of vandals.
He has seen Mangere United's former clubhouse at Centre Park destroyed in an arson attack.
No one has ever been arrested in connection with that fire.
Nor has anyone been arrested for a recent burglary in which the club's bar was nearly emptied.
''The biggest thing is the annoyance factor,'' Robinson said.
''The council has spent a hell of a lot of money on that No1 ground to bring it up to international standard for Oceania Football events. It's now a very good ground.
''For this to happen it's the equivalent of someone digging up Eden Park as far as we're concerned.''
Police say they have yet to be informed about the incident.
- Manukau Courier