‘We can’t af­ford 3G’

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - All The Week’s Action... - By An­drew Gi­d­ley

Paul Cham­bers has pitched into the de­bate about 3G sur­faces, in­sist­ing the cost of in­stalling them is a non-starter for many non-league clubs.

Maid­stone United hold a workshop later this month for those wish­ing to fol­low their lead, as the clam­our for more 3G pitches grows fol­low­ing the re­cent spate of post­pone­ments.

The County Town club’s £500,000 in­vest­ment was made with the ben­e­fit of grants but Cham­bers says that sit­u­a­tion is an ex­cep­tion.

The Home­lands boss said: “I don’t think clubs at our level can af­ford it. The fi­nan­cial cli­mate for every­body is hard enough at the mo­ment, with­out peo­ple say­ing ‘let’s go 3G and spend £300,000 on a new pitch’ – they don’t know what they are talk­ing about, it’s non­sense.

“Who is go­ing to pay for it? If some­body wants to put their hand in their pocket, then yes but ob­vi­ously it’s never go­ing to hap­pen.

“Maid­stone are dif­fer­ent be­cause they get crowds of around 2,000 ev­ery home game.”

Cham­bers added: “The weather is part of life, you al­ways ex­pect matches to be called off. It’s not been that bad this sea­son. I know we lost a few in De­cem­ber but nor­mally a few go in Novem­ber as well but we got through then.”

United’s game against Erith Town was the only one to sur­vive in Kent on Tues­day night, thanks to the com­bined ef­forts of grounds­man Steve Hack­ett and op­er­a­tions man­ager Colin Hally­bone. But Cham­bers ad­mit­ted he was dis­ap­pointed the game against Can­ter­bury City was called off last Satur­day.

He said: “The ref­eree said we couldn’t play be­cause he thought it was go­ing to rain and I couldn’t be­lieve that.”

Hythe skip­per Dave Cook played for Ash­ford in mid­week, con­tin­u­ing his re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion fol­low­ing phys­io­ther­apy for ten­donitis in his knee. Reach­fields boss Scott Porter said: “Dave needed 90 min­utes and so it was a one-off to help Paul out and ben­e­fited every­body.”

United will be mon­i­tor­ing the el­e­ments, ahead of the South­ern Coun­ties East League home game against Holmes­dale on Satur­day. Ol­lie Finch and Sam Fisher are avail­able af­ter one-match bans but de­fender Jor­dan Miller misses out through sus­pen­sion.

Pic­ture: Gary Browne FM2973818

LIFT OFF: Ash­ford get an un­ex­pected leg-up against Dart­for­dians in their Lon­don 3 South East clash at Kin­neys

Field on Satur­day. Ash­ford won 21-10 to keep their place at the head of the ta­ble. Re­port, page 74

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