Respite for Vauxhall Lane pitch as Lions get the all-clear to return home

Hemel Hempstead Town management duo Dean Brennan and Stuart Maynard. Picture (c) Darren Kelly
Hemel Hempstead Town management duo Dean Brennan and Stuart Maynard. Picture (c) Darren Kelly

The state of the pitch at Hemel Hempstead Town’s Vauxhall Road ground has been a topic of continued discussion in recent weeks – but there is good news for the Tudors players and fans.

Hemel boss Dean Brennan has always maintained a passing philosophy for his side, but the Tudors have been hampered by the sorry state of the pitch, which has been notoriously muddy and cut-up in places.

One of the reasons behind this was the over-use of the turf, with a large number of games taking place on a weekly basis – including ‘home’ games for SSML Division One outfit Maccabi London Lions.

The club has had to play home games away from Arkley since promotion to the SSML in 2010 as that level of the non-League Pyramid requires certain facilities which Rowley Lane had yet to develop.

This has meant a number of groundsharing arrangements – most recently with the Tudors – but the club’s committee this week confirmed Rowley Lane will meet the league criteria later in 2015.

This means that the first-team will now be able to return to Rowley Lane following confirmation that new floodlights and 200-capacity stand will soon be in place.

The news will come as a relief to the Hemel players and management team who have expressed their frustration at the state of the pitch in recent weeks.

Speaking previously, manager Brennan said: “This football club has come miles and miles on the field, but now it has to catch up off the field – it’s really that simple.

“We’ve got to get those standards up, but that’s not my job. With regards to the pitch, there’s absolutely nothing we can do about it.

“Everyone knows that the pitch isn’t good enough – it needs an investment, a heavy investment, and it needs to only be used for the first team.”