A JUNIOR football team has a growing reputation for dirtiness but it is nothing to do with the way they play the game.

This season visiting teams and referees who turn up to play Orford under 17s are left shaking their heads at the amount of dog mess on the pitch.

The problem has escalated to the point that Orford manager Keith Garnett is turning up an hour early on match days to pick up other people’s dog dirt.

Padgate resident Keith said he can be faced with picking up 17 piles of muck before every game.

Players have a standing joke to predict how many will be picked up during a league fixture.

“It’s been going on since the start of the season in September and is getting worse,” he said.

“It’s an unpleasant chore but if I didn’t do it the match wouldn’t be played.

“The pitch is just a total mess – I clear a full carrier bag’s worth away and a week later it is covered again.”

Keith, aged 40, condemned the people responsible for allowing dogs to foul the pitch, which lies immediately behind the Orford Youth Centre on Capesthorne Road.

He said: “People have a premeditated idea of what Orford is like and this really doesn’t help.

“It is an embarrassment for me and the club and gives a bad name to the area.

“Sometimes the referee has to stop midway through a game to ask me to pick some more up and I have to prewarn other managers about this massive problem.”

Keith has tried to contact the council which informed him there are bins and signs warning owners to pick up after their dogs.

The council’s parks manager Alan Fitzpatrick said dog owners must be caught in the act.

“Dog fouling is a problem that affects everyone and the council views it as anti-social behaviour,” he said.

“However, legislation requires us to view the owners allowing their dog to foul, making no attempt to clear it up.

“We would ask the public to help by taking details of anyone they see committing this offence and pass it on to enforcement officers.”