11:44am Wednesday 12th March 2014
LIFELONG Pontypool RFC fans have pleaded with vandals to stop targeting the historic club at Pontypool Park, saying the attacks are “breaking the heart of the club”.
Club stalwart Terry ‘Tiger’ Simons , who has dedicated his life to the club since watching his first match at the ground aged of 10, and long-serving member John Long have both had to watch on helpless as the club has been subjected to a shocking campaign of abuse.
Previous incidents have included several arson attacks, needles being found on the pitch, and even screwdrivers, nails and knife blades driven into the try line, with with the cherished scoreboard the most recent target.
Mr Simons, who with the help of his wife Jane, has been the faithful kit man for the club for decades said: “This is the fabric of the club, years of history, being destroyed because of mindless vandalism,” said the resident of Pontnewynydd.
“That is the original scoreboard which has been used for some historic matches, including the visit of the All Blacks in the 80s. It’s tragic.”
Mr Simons said the worst part for him though was the damage to the seats in the stand, where a huge number have been ripped out.
“Every time you go you find more missing,” he said. “People used to come here on a Saturday afternoon and sit in the same seat week in week out. Now they come and find the seat isn’t even there anymore.”
Mr Long, who goes to each and every training session as well as all the games, agreed saying he used to repair the seats for a while.
“But there no point now because it would be gone within a week,” he said.
“It is so sad to see how the park as a whole has deteriorated. Youngsters these days have no respect and no control.”
The club is in discussions with Torfaen County Borough Council over securing the site, while they said last week they would be approaching Gwent Police over the possibility of a 24-hour dispersal order at the venue in the interim.
Both Mt Simons and Mr Long said action couldn’t come soon enough.
“I would like to have seen measures put in place yesterday”, Mr Simons added.
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