A FOOTBALL club is calling on the council to take action after one of its players seriously injured his knee playing on a council-maintained pitch.

Chris Ward, from Canvey, whose son Charlie plays for an under 11s team was assisting Thundersley Rovers coaches during a regular training session last weekend when he collapsed in agony after twisting his knee on the dry, dusty, uneven surface at the ground on Thundersley Common.

Sadly, following several hours in A&E, Mr Ward, who drives for a living, discovered he had sustained a serious knee ligament damage.

The club, which has ten junior teams, had sole control of the ground from 1980 to 2010, paying a small amount of money to Castle Point Council as the club maintained the ground itself.

The club also built and paid for the changing rooms on the ground and regularly reseeded and rolled the pitches.

Since 2010, Rovers chairman Graeme Howlett claims the rent and associated costs charged by the council has risen by 12,000 per cent - but the council has not re-seeded or rolled the surface.

Mr Howlett said the lack of maintenance has left the pitches in a dreadful, not to mention dangerous condition.

Mr Howlett said he first wrote to the council two months ago to express his concern about the state of the pitches and the resulting safety fears, in which he described their condition as “the worst I’ve ever seen in nearly 40 years”.

He said: “We have been involved in a long-running battle with Castle Point Council which has - until now - refused our requests to perform emergency repair work on the Thundersley Common pitches.

“I first went public with our frustration and concerns a couple of months back.

“I made it quite clear that Thundersley Rovers Sports Club would be holding Mr Lynch and the council responsible for any injuries that may occur until essential repairs were greenlighted.”

Mr Howlett added: “The long and short of this is that had they responded to my urgent request for reparative work two months ago, this incident may not have happened. It’s essentially dereliction of duty.

“I have asked them how many more people have to suffer serious injury before they act.”

A spokesman from Castle Point Council said: “It is the council’s view that the pitch is level and safe to play on but there are some areas which would benefit from reseeding because of over use of this public open space during the summer which has meant the grass has not had time to recover.

“The current weather conditions are not conducive to reseeding and we will need to wait until rain is forecast.

“There is a routine maintenance programme in place but where pitches are hired for league matches it is for the referee to determine if the pitch is safe to play on or not. “