Unlucky Glentoran FC were left red-faced again this week after changing room problems forced an away side to shower in a local leisure centre.
Burst pipes at the Oval last Saturday forced visitors Portadown — who had just beaten the financially troubled Glens 1-0 — to use shower facilities at the Connswater Community Centre, formerly the Ballymacarrett Recreation Centre.
The cost of the damage is believed to have run into thousands of pounds. The ground’s Milk Bar facility is also understood to have been damaged.
The incident is the latest blow to the east Belfast club, who are under pressure to pay off debts being demanded by HM Revenue and Customs.
A spokesman said the club “offered the facilities of a leisure centre” to their visitors, adding: “Burst pipes unfortunately meant the water supply was cut off, causing damage to the infrastructure.
“Given the holiday period, we had to wait to get spare parts to fix the problem.”
William Kirkwood of the Fred Roberts Glentoran Supporters Club said it was “embarrassing”.
“This couldn’t have come at a worse time,” he said. “Everyone knows the financial problems of the club, and this obviously adds to those problems. Hopefully this was a one off and everything will be ok on Saturday when the Glens are home to Dungannon.”
UUP councillor Jim Rodgers — a former director at the club — was “horrified” to hear of the mishap.
He added: “Many sports clubs are suffering similar problems. Belfast’s parks facilities are badly hit, and while staff are working hard on this, some facilities look as if they won’t be available.
“Sports clubs in general, have all suffered during the cold spell.”