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Game over for soccer teams as workmen cut light cable

10:02 03 September 2012

The pitch has been out of action for more than two months after dark. Credit Keith Emmitt

The pitch has been out of action for more than two months after dark. Credit Keith Emmitt

Archant

Footballers have been unable to use a popular pitch for two months after council contractors accidentally severed the electricity cable supplying its floodlights.

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The synthetic pitch at Whittington Park, off Holloway Road, Upper Holloway has been out of action during the hours of darkness since mid July – leaving hundreds of players unable to use the facility run by Enterprise on behalf of Islington Council.

One of those is Matthew Mitchison who meets with 19 friends ranging from 20 to 50 in age to play every Thursday from 9pm until the facility closes at 10pm.

The group, which is largely formed of parents from Yerbury Primary School in Foxham Road, Archway, pay for a number of months upfront at £35 an hour to hire half of the pitch.

Mr Mitchison, 52, of Carleton Road, Holloway, said: “It’s a good Astro-turf pitch and is used all of the time, right up until 10pm at night.

“But we can’t use it any more at night. It’s dark two hours up until 10pm each night at the moment – that’s 14 hours a week and it’s used by an average of about 40 people an hour which means more than 500 people are unable to use the facility each week.

“They don’t seem to be showing any interest in sorting this out and it’s causing everyone a great deal of concern as we don’t know when it’s coming back into use.

“The nights are drawing in now so the situation is only going to get worse.

“When you get to my age you don’t get that much exercise but a bit of regular football is nice. It’s just disgusting that people have been unable to use the facility.”

A spokesman for Islington Council said: “We apologise to all footballers for the unexpected delay in providing a permanent fix to this problem and are keeping them notified of the situation.

“The pitches are available for bookings and have been well used throughout the summer in daylight hours.

“Obviously, if any teams have pre-booked and paid for after dark sessions and are unable to use the pitch, we will refund their money.”

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