President of the Norths Old Boys club, Ernie Wright.
President of the Norths Old Boys club, Ernie Wright.

Old Boys chief fears for future

NORTHS Tigers Old Boys president Ernie Wright has accused Ipswich City Council of botching the rebuild of Cribb Park, and jeopardising the 62-year-old club's future.

Mr Wright's comments came after it was confirmed it's unlikely the football club will be able to use its home ground before next season despite numerous assurances from council it would be ready for play this year.

While the council has worked hard to provide alternate venues for Norths teams, the loss of revenue from the leagues club is crippling the club's finances.

At a recent meeting between council and Norths, club officials were informed it would now be up to 12 weeks before the flood-damaged fields would be ready for use.

This comes despite Cr David Morrison promising in both November 2011 and again in February this year that the ground would be ready for the Tigers' first home game this season.

When that date came and went, Norths officials were informed developers would use state-of-the-art techniques, including the use of 1m square, 10cm-thick turf blocks to ensure the ground could be accessed two weeks after it was laid, making it available mid-year.

"The members come to us every day and ask 'why are we not on our field'," Mr Wright said.

"Tivoli is on theirs, Goodna is on theirs. I'm glad they are, but we just seem to be left behind.

"No way in the world is it reasonable to lose two years of our club. I'm sick and tired of the excuses they make.

"We need someone to stand up and be counted and get this club up and running again.

The QT understands Norths Leagues Club is in a precarious position, having borrowed money from the Old Boys Senior Football Club - and soon the Junior Football club - to stay afloat.

When contacted by the QT in May, Cr Morrison said "they'll certainly be on this season", something he was unable to commit to yesterday.

"It's still our expectation they will play some games on there this week, but we just don't know. That's the simple answer," he said.

When questioned about the whether contractors planned to use turf blocks rather than rolls, he provided a written response.

"The turf that has been laid is approximately 2.4m x 0.5m (1.2m2). Council never advised that it would be of a certain thickness and would be ready 3 weeks after it was laid," the statement read.

Norths will take little solace out of the Cr Morrison's admission the project was poorly handled.

"If you look back at the project, could it have been managed better? I would have to say 'yes'."



Talented jazz pianist returns to Studio 188

premium_icon Talented jazz pianist returns to Studio 188

Meg began playing the piano when she was "practically a baby”

Thieves steal CCTV footage, but caught on dashcam

premium_icon Thieves steal CCTV footage, but caught on dashcam

Dashcam footage may help police catch the culprit

GREAT VALUE: $1 a week for local news and great rewards

GREAT VALUE: $1 a week for local news and great rewards

Australia's best value news subscription deal is even better