‘We can’t afford 3G’
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.
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