MAGPIES: Simkin not opposed to artificial pitches

Simkin open to artificial idea

Simkin open to artificial idea

First published in Sport Dorset Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Sports Reporter

PHIL Simkin says he is open to the idea of Dorchester Town installing an artificial playing surface at the Avenue.

The Magpies supported a proposal put forward by Sutton United this week to allow clubs in the Football Conference’s three divisions to move away from traditional grass pitches.

Several clubs further down the football pyramid have switched from grass to a state-of-the-art 3G pitch, making postponements caused by bad weather a thing of the past.

And even though Conference members voted 21-11 against Sutt-on’s proposal at an EGM earlier this week, Simkin, pictured, feels a synthetic surface would work for a club like Dorchester.

And it is the financial effects of changing to an artificial surface that Simkin reckons is the biggest advantage.

“My take on it is two-fold,” he said. “I’m not a great lover of artificial pitches but I have to admit these 3G and 4G ones are very good.

“We seconded Sutton United’s proposal because we look at it as a source of revenue.

“If we had a 3G pitch the ground could be used seven days a week, 12-18 hours a day.

“For clubs in our position it is a source of revenue we couldn’t possibly turn down.”

He went on to add: “For clubs like us, an artificial pitch would be a massive source of income.

“Whether you agree with them or not, time moves on, and you wouldn’t have all the postponements.

“Clubs would be better off financially. It would be a massive outlay but there are grants that can go towards it.

“I would be in favour of it for the club’s financial position.”

Calor League Division One South & West outfit Merthyr Town installed a 3G pitch this season after being awarded a £500,000 grant for ground improvements to their Penydarren Park home.

If Dorchester wanted to follow suit then they, like Merthyr, would need to be a community-owned club in order to be eligible for funding.

But that is something of a moot point at the moment with this week’s vote meaning that for now Football Conference member clubs cannot have plastic pitches.

Meanwhile, the Magpies face a must-win battle away at Farnborough today (3pm) with three points needed to keep them in touch with the rest of the teams at the foot of the Skrill South table.

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