Thursday, April 08, 2010

The green, green grass

Time for the traditionalists to build up their reactionary barricades to try and halt the march of progress.

Yes, the artificial pitch debate is back.

The SPL are said to be "open" to the possibility following the dire weather over the winter.

In part this is just the typical over-reaction we always get when a bit of snow falls.

I'm quite easy about this though.

The fourth generation pitches are a world apart from Luton's 1980's astroturf or even Dunfermline's plastic pitch of a few seasons ago. I was there when Hibs played at East End at the grand unveiling of the pitch and winced with everyone else when an exuberant Hibs fans decided to finish an inappropriate streak with a full body slide in front of the away end. Agonising.

But things have moved on. CSKA Moscow entertained Inter Milan on their artificial turf on Tuesday evening. That was Champion's League quarter final not a mid table clash between Hamilton and St Mirren.

It's hard to look at some of the artificial pitches available now and not wonder why we are still subjected to pitches like Fir Park. There must be an argument that playing on a surface where the ball could actually move freely along the ground would improve our game.

Money in it for the clubs too. The initial outlay would be offset by lower maintenance costs and the ability to use the pitches all the time, both for training and as a source of revenue.

I'm sounding like an artificial pitch evangelical. I'm not particularly. But if it means improving the quality of the game then we should at least be moving the debate forward.