The Doc’s Prescription - Plastic Pitches

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One subject certain to ignite passion among football fans is the ever increasing use of synthetic, or as we used to call them, plastic pitches!

These artificial surfaces might not be used by very many big football clubs but their training ground will always include one or two and in this country they are the preferred local model for most councils.

There’s hardly a kid growing up today in England, Scotland, Wales or Ireland that isn’t taught his or her skills some of the time on what we now call third generation or fourth generation pitches.

I had an earlier introduction than most people to plastic pitches when on tour with Finn Harps in the USA in the mid seventies, as we played on pitches that were described as astroturf but were actually harder than concrete.

Astroturf then came to the Football League when Oldham elected to go plastic in 1986.

Today’s plastic surfaces are a long way from that type of surface but most managers still prefer grass.

In the Irish League only Crusaders and Cliftonville have gone plastic while in the League of Ireland only Dundalk have chosen the synthetic route.

As a boy there was no greater thrill than to run out on Maginn Park’s billiard table-like grass surface in Buncrana during the famous summer cup era but given our weather profile, the reality is that we may well see the head rule the heart on this one as more and more clubs opt for plastic pitches.

Read more from the Doc in the Journal every Tuesday