The Non League Secret Footballer - 3G Pitches

"After seeing a few new  3G all weather pitches cropping up at various non league clubs at places like Maidstone and Harlow, it has got me thinking about how this new and modern type of pitch could be very useful in the non league game and even further up the football pyramid and into the football league.

I know a lot of traditionalists will think that all games should be played on grass pitches and part of me actually goes along with that theory to a certain degree. After playing all my career on the more traditional and natural grass surface, I had the chance to play on one of the new 3G surfaces and I must admit it was a lot better than what I actually thought it would be.

The surface actually made the ball zip around all over the place. I was under the impression it would slow the ball up somewhat but I was pleasantly surprised. Before the game I actually thought the pitch would create havoc on my body and feet whilst playing, but again I was totally surprised and it was no different to playing on grass. Well that was until I woke up the next day and the right side of my body was in a very bad way including a really stiff neck. This was something I've never experienced after a game on grass. I mst admit though that was the only negative I could think of.

Away from the actual playing experience on the new surface, I believe the all weather surfaces could be very beneficial to lower league and non league clubs financially. After the last few winter periods where plenty of games have been postponed due to snow and rain, imagine if the clubs had all weather pitches and how much that would reduce the chances of the games being postponed.

If there is a heavy down pour in the days leading up to a game the all weather pitches would be more suitable to deal with that and means that's clubs would not lose money through the turnstiles, in the bar, club shops and in the food departments at the grounds, due to postponements of fixtures. Especially at weekend fixtures where the attendances are usually higher than say a Tuesday evening game where people may not attend once re arranged due to work and various other commitments.

As we all know in Non League every penny counts so if that means an extra 100 supporters come through the gate because a game has not been postponed then it would be very beneficial and also worth having a 3G pitch.

The opportunities an artificial pitch would open up would be financially beneficial to the clubs also. The revenue that they could make by hiring out the facility to local football teams, or any other sports teams for that matter, could bring in so much money. Even though the price of a full size artificial pitch seems like it would cost a lot of money, by creating a venue where local teams could train or play any time of year would bring in substantial revenue and the facility could be all paid for after a short space of time. From there on in it would only make the clubs more money. Once that happens then the clubs can then put more money into the playing budgets perhaps and then progress up the football pyramid which I believe it is a win win situation.

A good relationship between a football club and its local community is also huge, and if that is in place then once again the club could gain substantial revenue. Another way to create this is also having your youth teams play their games on the pitch also because you wouldn't have to worry about the pitch being cut up or ruined due to the bad weather, and once again having a good youth set up is vital to a lower league club. Having a big draw of a facility like an artificial pitch would definitely be a major pull for young lads and their parents as everybody wants their kid to have the best up bringing in football and this would play a major part in attracting the best young talent, which could be nurtured and make the club some money or even save them some in the future.

Whether or not it happens and more clubs decide to invest in an all weather pitch only time will tell, but for me I actually don't think it's a bad idea at all and an idea that many of the clubs should take into consideration to help improve their club and help boost their bank balance."