Patriots not likely to play in Linden this year

Published 6:02 pm Tuesday, August 23, 2011

LINDEN — The Patriots will likely play none of their 2011 home games at Linden Athletic Field. The decision reportedly came after the Linden Athletic Association was forced to take down the visitor’s side stands at the stadium upon learning the facility could not be insured while the decrepit bleachers were in place.

“It is really unfortunate that Linden has chosen not to play at the field this year,” Linden Athletic Association president Hale Smith said. “We’ve made numerous improvements to the 2,000-seat stadium. But we do not have the funds this year to build a new set of bleachers on the visitor’s side to replace the old ones. We were hoping that the 2,000 seats on the traditional home side would accommodate everybody.”

Those close to the Linden football program indicate that Linden High officials have serious concerns about putting opposing fans on the same side of the field, especially in key rivalry games such as the region contest against Sweet Water.

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The Patriots were set to begin their regular season schedule at home Thursday against Central-Tuscaloosa. That game has been relocated to Tuscaloosa’s Central High School. Linden will reportedly collect the gate proceeds as the home team despite playing the game on the road.

The Patriots other home dates this season were set to see them play Fruitdale Sept. 2, Sweet Water Sept. 16, Greene County Sept. 23 and Brantley Oct. 28.

Sources within the Linden football program say moving the remainder of the school’s home games outside the city is likely, but a site has yet to be determined. Patriot head football coach and Linden Athletic Director Andro Williams was unavailable for comment.

“We’re always open if Linden decides to change its mind or helps us come up with a solution for crowd control or more suitable stands for the visitor’s side,” Smith said.

The Patriots have lost only two games at Linden Athletic Field since 2007.