Newport County consider short-term Rodney Parade move

Rodney Parade
Rodney Parade is the home of Newport and the Dragons

Rodney Parade could be set to host football matches for the first time as Newport County consider moving games to Newport's famous rugby stadium.

County have enquired about using the 135-year-old ground as an occasional venue while work is carried out on Spytty Park's "disaster" of a pitch.

Newport boss Justin Edinburgh will visit Rodney Parade this week to assess if the pitch is suitable for football.

"Our arm is being forced," admitted County chairman Chris Blight.

Both Newport Gwent Dragons and Welsh Premiership side Newport play at Rodney Parade but that pitch has had its own problems and the Dragons have been punished by .

But County have been forced to rearranged a number of home games, including their bumper Boxing Day fixture with local rivals Bath City, as their pitch has struggled to cope with the inclement weather.

The Blue Square Bet Premier strugglers also had to reschedule their FA Trophy clash with Carshalton from Saturday to Tuesday as their Spytty Park pitch was frozen.

Now the Welsh club, who beat Carshalton to qualify for the FA Trophy quarter-finals, are seeking possible short-term alternatives to ensure Edinburgh's men can fulfil their potential 12 home fixtures before the end of the season.

Spytty Parkexternal-link is owned and operated by Newport City Council and is also home to Welsh League side Llanwern and Newport Harriers athletics club.

County chiefs, who invested to ensure Spytty Park was to Conference standard, fear more torrential rain and a proposed two games a week on a ground described by chairman Blight as a "disaster" and a "pudding" could make the pitch unplayable.

"A layer above the groundbase hardcore, and below the soil base, has hardened - preventing drainage," Blight has explained in a County newsletter in January.

"There is no doubt about it, the pitch is not fit for purpose and major works will be required."

Newport Rugby Club, who own Rodney Parade, have invited County's management and boss Edinburgh to their 11,000 capacity ground with a view of hosting a handful of County games.

"Our pitch at the moment is not allowing us to play football as it should be played," Blight told BBC Sport.

"It is all down to Newport City Council and I do understand that the problems they have as there is finance involved and we are mid-season .

"If the pitch is not competent at the moment then we have got to look at some alternatives just in the short term while they carry out works on the pitch - it might be for a week, it might be for two.

"But we need to make arrangements to have the game somewhere else if it is needed.

"Newport rugby have been positive as they have invited us over there and you make your enquiries as we must get permission from the police and the Football Conference.

"And it is also very important that we look at the pitch at Rodney Parade so until our manager has looked at the pitch and said can we play football on this, we don't even know if it can be played on."