Maidstone & The Conference: Time To Change Tack On 3G Pitches


Ian began writing Twohundredpercent in May 2006. He lives in Brighton. He has also written for, amongst others, Pitch Invasion, FC Business Magazine, The Score, When Saturday Comes, Stand Against Modern Football and The Football Supporter. Ian was the first winner of the Socrates Award For Not Being Dead Yet at the 2010 NOPA awards for football bloggers.

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8 Responses

  1. Al__s says:

    They’re quickly becoming the surface of choice in Scotland- I’m not sure if the merger of the SPL and SFL now means those that have plastic pitches can go into the Premiership or not (previously the SPL was still against them)

  2. jertzee says:

    The FA are self serving as has been pointed out.
    They only want to protect the big boys and don’t care one bit about anyone else in the game.

    Never has so much money been pouring into the game and yet 3G/4G pitches for smaller clubs are a no brainer that only the blind morons at the FA and leagues above the Rymans can’t see.

    Just like the costs for running referee courses doubled last year to £130 a go, meaning fewer and fewer referees at grass roots level as a result the FA only care about the top flight.

    Has an organisaiton ever done so much to hurt the progress of football at the lower levels anywhere in the world?

  3. Dave Collins says:

    It’s rare to be able to say that the Football Association of Wales is enlightened or ground-breaking, but on this subject it is true. Welsh champions The New Saints have used their 3G pitch in the Welsh Premier and in the UEFA Champions League, and 3G pitches are becoming widespread at top clubs in the Welsh system. I’ve watched numerous games on these surfaces and can categorically state they are NOTHING like Astroturf etc. In fact I often find myself forgetting that the game is not on grass.

  4. peter saunders says:

    hi i remember the horrible plastic pitches of the 80s and used to train on the PNE one from time to time . I think i still have the burn marks on my legs . Were Durham City told they couldn’t be promoted from the Northern League for exactly the same reason ?? I now live in New zealand and clubs here are installing these pitches every where to improve skills and generate revenue from pitch hire .why oh why do the FA block moves to improve playing surfaces and ultimately the standard of play time and time again ???

  5. Locki says:

    The world changes, but the English football authorities do not.

    Being a Chorley fan I remember the old plastic pitched too well; we were robbed in 1986 on the dredful Carpet World surface at Deepdale, but having seen Woodley (Stockport) Sports and Durham City’s pitches I can see the massive improvements that have been made in this technology.

    Durham had the Conference door shut in their face a few years ago, and this shouldn’t be allowed to happen again.

    If the English national team can play World Cup qualifiers on this kind of surface, as we did in Russia, then what if the problem with non-league, Football League and Premier League sides doing the same in the near future, after all ALL the top players train on this kind of surface every week!

  6. Smudger says:

    Caught a game at Maidstone’s new ground and completely forgot that the pitch is synthetic after a few minutes. Whilst every sentinel human being can see the advantages to these pitches at all levels of the game, you can guarantee the FA’s shortsighted self-serving greed and complete lack of insight or rationality will mean they will never receive wider use until long after other countries have adopted them

  7. Steve says:

    Like many at Maidstone I was completely against the installation of 3G when we moved into our new ground, but like the overwhelming majority I have been won round. The pitch plays superbly no matter how wet, unlike many grass pitches that become mudbaths or have to be abandoned altogether. No matter what night of the week I go into town, the floodlights are on and the pitch is being used by a multitude of community teams. One day we will wonder why we even thought about opposing such a sensible proposition. Must the FA always be several years behind the pioneers of football?

  8. Steve Pullen says:

    It’s a ‘no-brainer’ 3g surfaces make so much sense on so many levels.
    How many of the doubters have actually regularly attended matches played on a modern 3g surface ?
    I defy anybody watching a game at Maidstone, without the knowledge of it being 3g, to notice any differences in ‘playability’ from that of grass.
    I’m left with the conclusion that the only reasons for resistance from the footballing hierarchy can be those outlined in the above article.
    Not all dinosaurs it seems are extinct.
    Apparently many still live on, thriving in their natural environment, the boardroom’s of footballs’ decision makers!

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