Institute aims to be playing at flood-hit ground before end of year
Institute FC could be back playing at the Riverside stadium in a "couple of months" despite the ground being devastated by floodwater, an ex-chairman has claimed.
The Drumahoe club's ground was hit by severe flooding on Tuesday night, leading to fears the club would not be able to play at home for the rest of the season.
At one stage the water was seven feet high in all the ground-floor rooms inside the club while the playing surface was also severely damaged.
However, Trevor Hewitt, ex-chairman of Institute FC, said he hoped the club would be back at the Riverside within a couple of months.
He told the Belfast Telegraph that clean up work would start soon. "We are just waiting on information from the insurance company to see if we can go in and start clearing up," he said.
"We don't want to touch anything until we get word back from them officially.
"We have electrical people and generator people coming next week and another company to look at a general clean-up.
"(Regarding) the pitch, we had a representative down from the Irish Football Association yesterday.
"There has been a recommendation the pitch is lifted and moved.
"The pitch might have to be ripped up on his recommendations as far as I know. It is like a scene from a mini-tsunami, it is mad."
On whether the club would be out of the ground for the rest of the season, Mr Hewitt added: "It's too early to say, we have to get the professional people in, but personally I think if the right people come in, a couple of months might not be too far away.
"People have said we might be out for the season, but in my eyes we are not, but it all depends on how quickly people can get in and get it done. But the insurance company has been very good to date, it's been first class.
"We need to be playing, we need to be getting revenue in and we need to be home, but other clubs have been very good in reversing the fixtures."
BY MARK EDWARDS