Apparently the debate has started again about the pros and cons of a main pitch within stadia being plastic. Certainly technology has changed from the days that pioneers like QPR, Oldham and Luton took that decision on installation.
It seems a long time ago that I secured funding on an artificial pitch and floodlighting at Werneth School (my first!); quickly followed by a 3G being put in Woodley Sports FC’s Stadium, after I had success in assisting them to achieve a Football Foundation grant for stadia improvements. At this time, the Football Association agreed to treat it as a ‘pilot’ before determining future policies at differing levels of football leagues’ hierarchies.
The Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG) comments: “While artificial turf facilities have a place in community sport, the bigger problem is what do you do with the 20,000 plus grass pitch sites where football is played week in, week out”. A valid point but the future will have to comprise both natural and synthetic turf in specific locations.
At semi-professional to grass roots levels ‘plastic’ can make a prudent choice – not least for reduced maintenance consideration, regularity of play compared with a seeded alternative, ability to hold multi-activity programming – and as a corresponding ‘income generator’ when pondering on commercial aspects of running a club.
To see how things have changed it will be worth visiting Stockport Sports Village when it opens in some 12 weeks’ time. A myriad of quality ‘Field Turf’ pitches and suitable synthetic surfacing for football and tennis alike. I introduced, Stockport Sports Trust (now trading as Life Leisure) where I am a Founder Director, to facilitate this Scheme and be appointed Operator.