Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘pitches’

Plan B

Why do we need an EPL ‘B League’?  An argument that I found rational suggested reinstatement of a more coherent ‘Reserves League’.  This debate appears on-going after FA chairman Greg Dyke announced the publication of his controversial report on the future of the England national team, which has angered Football League clubs

If I read it right, inserting a new league below/combined with the Conference would create another level that County would need to overcome in a desire to return to Football League status.  The pyramid has served us so well for years, why this need for a sudden change, that only Brendan Rogers at Liverpool have I heard support the initiative.  If a combined solution, surely the ‘playing field would not be level’ with the differential between revenues of EPL and lower league/non-league enterprises.

The 72 English Football League clubs have rejected a proposal by the Football Association for the B teams of Premier League sides to play in the lower divisions.  It might be a structure that has been incorporated in other countries – but again I have to say why change here?  Does it really afford an opportunity for reserve players to be better prepared resulting in a more competitive National squad?

A more favoured section of the report appears the indication that it is time to revisit the synthetic surface in certain stadia as a playing surface.

The Football Association has now sanctioned the use of 3G artificial pitches in the FA Cup from next season.  Prior,  such surfaces couldn’t be used after the First Round Proper under the FA’s current rules. The decision to allow third generation surfaces from 2014-15 will be welcomed by clubs who rely on their more sustainable running costs.  They have been favoured to get more usage, community engagement and thus more monies in.

An additional, somewhat humorous anecdote (at least if it’s not your club!) is that maybe the centre circle and penalty spots  may be more durable and prevent the sort of theft experienced at Blyth Spartans.


Plastic football

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.