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Not pictured: The fox farm behind Tannadice (right)
Dundee FC play at Dens Park, the ground to the left in the above picture [unless a) I've failed at embedding correctly or b) you've gone ahead and messed around with the map]. If, in the future, Google Maps updates to a satellite photo taken in the last month or so, you'll notice something quite different about the pitch condition.
A family (den?, nest?, fleet?) of foxes have taken over the stadium at nights causing a fair bit of damage to the pitch. The foxes apparently enter at night and have dug up the area in front of the goalmouths and urinated all over the pitch, killing the grass in spots.
The club have admitted to a minor defeat in getting rid of the foxes, erecting temporary fencing around the goalmouths, to be removed for matches, until they can get around to removing the invaders--sometime next year. Yes, there are forms to be filled out and people to be contacted. Those people can't get here until Tuesday, and DFC will be totally out of town that day. DFC will then try to reschedule and the process will begin anew, until 2010.
Actually, there has been no mention of exactly when the pest control people will be able to address the problem, but for now the club is looking at starting the season with the temporary fencing in place, and possible prayers to keep the foxes out. In the meantime, new turf has been laid at the stadium to cover the problem dead spots, a move which in no way will be defeated by new fox urine on the pitch.
Intriguingly, this is not the only recent pest infestation in Dens Park, and the foxes may have been attracted to the stadium because of the last one. Dens Park used to be a playground for rabbits, and the lingering scent of the rabbits is thought to have attracted the foxes in the first place. Quote Dens Park Stadium Manager Jim Thompson: "We used to have a rabbit problem, but the foxes seem to have solved that. Maybe we need a bigger predator now to deal with the foxes." As the fine fellow at Sports Rubbish points out, next summer, expect Dens Park to be overrun by lions, and then reanimated velociraptors the season after that.
Somewhat surprisingly, there has been no mention of anything untowards happening at Tannadice, home of Dundee United, across the street from Dens Park. The conspiracy theorist in me would like to think that fans of the Terrors actually introduced the foxes into their rival's home, but that appears to be unfounded. For now, at least.
Also, I avoided any jokes about the name of Dundee's stadium and the type of home foxes make. If you would like, try out your best one liner in the comments.