Simon says no to 3G pitches

Hastings United groundsman Simon Rudkins opposes the use of 3G pitches for football matches
Hastings United groundsman Simon Rudkins opposes the use of 3G pitches for football matches

Hastings United groundsman Simon Rudkins has opposed the use of 3G pitches for football matches.

Maidstone United have the artificial surface at their new Gallagher Stadium and Worthing last week submitted a planning application for one at their Woodside Road ground.

Advocates of 3G pitches will point to the fact that they have enabled games to take place throughout the exceptionally wet recent weather, but Rudkins isn’t in favour of them.

He said: “I think 3G pitches are great for training. I’m biased being a groundsman, but even if you have got a 3G pitch, there’s still work to do to maintain it and it’s not the same. Part of football is there’s a bobble now and again. Football’s always been played on grass and always should be.

“When we played at Maidstone (in a Ryman League Cup tie during December) I thought at times the way it bounced and spun off was unpredictable. I don’t know what players feel about playing on them, but in terms of Hastings United having one, I certainly wouldn’t be at the club if we did.

“What a lot of clubs probably don’t realise is getting planning permission for it as well. It’s got to be used every day of the week, including evenings, and residents aren’t going to be happy with that; not only floodlights, but the noise.”

Rudkins - a two-time winner of the Ryman Football League’s groundsman of the year award during his six or seven years at The Pilot Field - also pointed out the initial outlay for a 3G pitch of more than £300,000 and the cost to replace it a decade or so down the line.