New 3G pitch could ensure grass is greener for Tudors

Matty Harriott (top) and Dennis Oli combined for Hemel's second goal. Picture (c) Darren Kelly

Matty Harriott (top) and Dennis Oli combined for Hemel's second goal. Picture (c) Darren Kelly

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Hemel Town chairman Dave Boggins has revealed that the club may turn to a 3G playing surface to put an end to the pitch problems which have plagued the club this season.

The pitch at Vauxhall Road has been in a terrible state, and Boggins says that the only realistic ways to combat this are to completely relay the pitch and drainage system, or install an artificial 3G surface.

“One solution is to install a 3G pitch and use it seven days a week, generating income for Mr Brennan to spend and take the team forward,” said the Tudors chairman. “Or we spend £40-50k in the summer, dig up the old drains, renew them if needs be, and put in new sand bands.”

The issue began in 2001, when the club altered the levels of the pitch because there was a large drop from one corner to the other.

However, underneath the pitch there are large areas of thick clay, which have proved to be the main issue.

The club put in a drain every 10 metres along the pitch, and then sand banded the surface – a secondary drainage system – allowing water to flow into the main drain.

That was done when there were four inches of topsoil on top of the pitch, but the grass struggled to grow and form a proper rooting system so the club was advised to put a sand mixture on top of the surface to try and combat this.

By doing so, the sand bands were covered and the water is now unable to get through to the sand bands and into the main drains.

“We believe we would be looking in the region of £250-300k for a 3G pitch, but that’s if we did some of the work ourselves,” said Mr Boggins.

“There is evidence out there that you would recover your investment in around two years. Most of the time success means more money and that means being able to bring in revenue.”

He added: “It would suit our style of play. The team the manager has put together play the best football we have seen around here for 40 years but they need the surface to go along with that. “

Tudors manager Dean Brennan is very keen on the idea of a 3G playing surface. He said: ““I just think from a business side of things for the football club it’s priceless and has to be done. It would allow us to go into the market for a different price of player.

“I’ve looked at the teams who have 3G pitches, and the worst any of them are doing in the league is seventh. I think it’s a no-brainer.”

Mr Boggins added: “It’s probably too soon to hope for it to be in place for next season but you never know – things can change in football very quickly.”

He concluded: “But if it doesn’t happen this year, we have to do something with the pitch to make it better.”