Should an artificial pitch be laid at the County Ground?
The return of artificial pitches to the Football League has been backed by club chairmen in League One and Two. The BBC has reported that at a meeting on Thursday they gave a strong indication they would vote in favour of permitting 3G (“third generation”) surfaces from next season, before the League takes a formal vote in November. This theoretically could lead to a 3G pitch being laid at the County Ground.
Some will remember the plastic pitches at Loftus Road, Deepdale, Kenilworth Road and Boundary Park. Those awful surfaces seemed long-gone after artificial surfaces were banned from English professional football in 1995 over issues with ball roll and bounce and fears over long-term injuries; but could now return, even at the County Ground.
Just yesterday, the Swindon Advertiser reported on Town’s groundsman, Marcus Cassidy, being decisive in turning the County Ground into a “fortress” this season in the words of Louis Thompson. The midfielder praised Town’s approach to invest in the natural grass playing surface adding “I think that comes down to the groundsman (Cassidy), what he’s doing with the pitch. It really helps us when we’re trying to play out from the back and cuts out any errors you can put down to the surface.”
Town have always been renowned for presenting a quality playing surface, but is it time to rip it up and go artificial? One obvious issue is the move towards allowing 3G will apply to Leagues One and Two, so any promotion chasing team such as Swindon will undoubtedly have second thoughts about installing a 3G pitch.
However, mindful of Town’s playing style, the introduction of 3G surfaces elsewhere, particularly grounds where poor cut up surfaces have hindered a passing style, could be seen as benefiting the away side; or at least providing a level playing field…
We’ve two questions for you below. Firstly, give your thoughts on whether you support the introduction of 3G pitches in Leagues One and Two; and secondly, your thoughts on the benefits or otherwise of installing an artificial pitch at the County Ground.
Also, you can elaborate on your answers using the comments section below…
Pic from guardian.com