The Radyr Rangers have had the occasional training session in Canton, but are hoping to return to their usual pitch (Image: Nathan Smith)

Children to return to football training as pitch gets repairs

Radyr Rangers will be back at practice soon but coaches say the club has been ‘left behind’

RADYR Rangers are hoping to move back to their training ground next week, having had nowhere to train for the past few months following pitch safety issues.

The football club faced “frustration” over the winter when the pitches at Radyr Comprehensive School were deemed unsafe due to flooding and drainage issues and closed indefinitely. 

The club aims to provide children with opportunities to “build friendships and bonds that contribute to the local community”. It has over 300 junior and youth members, most of whom are from Radyr and Morganstown.

Local newsletter the Radyr Chain reported that heavy rain in November and December had led to the pitch being deemed unsafe and unusable.

“Children from Radyr and Morganstown were left with nowhere to train,” it said.

But the club says maintenance has now been resumed on the school pitches and Radyr Rangers are hoping to return to training next week.

“The pitch is apparently being repaired but it’s taken so long,” said John Lunney, 50, who coaches one of the under 14s teams. “I am a bit angry and frustrated.

“Football is such a popular sport and good for physical and mental health. The kids haven’t been able to play a sport they love,” said the 50-year-old software applications consultant. 

Some of the coaches managed to book temporary venues for occasional training sessions, but parents have had to travel further than usual to get their children to the Powerleague pitches in Whitchurch or the Gol Leisure League pitches in Canton. 

The under-13s have been able to train at alternative pitches on occasion (Image: Nathan Smith)

Booking these pitches has been more expensive, and demand from other clubs meant the Rangers haven’t been able to commit to weekly sessions.

Electrical contractor Nathan Smith, 48, a coach for the under 13s, said the facilities in Radyr were “terrible”, but the school had refunded the club because facilities were unusable.

Many high schools in Cardiff have modern pitches for all-weather use, but the club and coaches argue that Radyr has been overlooked. 

“Radyr is undoubtedly blessed with excellent facilities for tennis, cricket and golf. However, we have been left behind our neighbours when it comes to suitable and practical facilities for football,” said the club. 

“There isn’t a decent all-weather facility for Radyr for winter training. Most other parts of Cardiff have much better facilities,” added Mr Lunney.

“The only all-weather is Radyr Comp but it’s so old and I understand neglected with little money put into keeping it maintained.”

Tom Lockyer, a former RRFC player, was selected for Wales’ World Cup squad.

However the club said: “During the World Cup when the pitches were out of use any budding Tom Lockyers, or indeed Gareth Bales, were forced to sit at home and watch football, rather than having the opportunities to get out and play.”

Radyr Comprehensive School and Cardiff Council were contacted for comment but have not yet responded.