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Northern Ireland’s Institute FC hit by severe flooding at home ground

Riverside Stadium, home to Institute football club in Northern Ireland, came close to being completely underwater following severe overnight flooding yesterday (Wednesday).

The Northern Ireland Football League (NIFL) Championship club, in the second-tier of the country’s football, witnessed its goal posts become almost completely submerged.

The water reached seven feet high in every ground floor room inside the 3,100-capacity stadium, while the field was left with close to five feet of sediment on top.

In addition, the fence surrounding the 3,110-capacity stadium was torn out, as well as several trees becoming uprooted by the flooding.

According to the Belfast Telegraph, the scale of the damage left chairman Bill Anderson almost lost for words.

He said: “It’s really, really gutting. It’s the first time I’ve experienced anything like this at the club. I couldn’t believe it when I got a call last night to say the water was up near the top of the goal-posts.

“There will have to be a lot of work done now to get the pitch back to what it was. It will have a lot of silt on it from the river so it’s going to be a bit of a muck-heap.”

Recently, Institute built a new grandstand, and carried out several other bits of renovation work that were carried out over the summer.

“I’m gutted for the club and gutted for the volunteers who have all put in a lot of work over the summer in terms of the pitch and the refurbishment of the changing rooms,” continued Anderson.

“All we can do at the minute is wait until the water subsides and we can get a look at the damage but from what we can see, it’s a disaster. I’m sure it will be another three or four days before we can see the extent of the damage and how we go forward. It’s left us all in limbo.”

“Institute Football Club will be back but we need to be realistic in terms of taking our time to assess the impact,” said Anderson, whose club missed out on promotion to the Premiership last season.

The Riverside Stadium was due to host the Institute game against Ballyclare Comrades tomorrow evening (Friday), but it has been relocated to Comrades’ Dixon Park.