SR opinion: Artificial Pitches Back In?Avatar of TomHalder

The argument of artificial vs grass pitches is, I feel, a subject that every football fan has a strong opinion on. Last week Soccer Reviews had a in depth look into the effects of astroturf on the durability of boots. The Football League announced last month that they are looking into the possibility of bringing artificial pitches back to league football in England. There is a massive conflict of opinions between the people in charge of football throughout the world.

On the surface there seem to be plenty of advantages for lower league sides having artificial turfs in particular. Anyone who saw Tottenham’s F.A cup game against Stevenage on Sunday will have no doubt been scratching their eyes out at the abysmal football being played on the Broadhall Way ‘pitch’. It torn up and impossible to play crisp football on. The standard of the pitch was reflected in the quality on show, with barely 5 passes being made by either side. It was genuinely painful to watch and although it gave Stevenage a chance it was a shocking spectacle for fans and neutrals alike. Entertaining football is a must if lower league sides want to keep attendances up and poor pitches have an adverse effect on the quality of football a team plays.

 

Since moving to Hong Kong I have played the majority of my football of 3G artificial pitches. Previously all my playing time was on grass pitches and I certainly prefer artificial pitches. At lower levels artificial pitches are the only way to emulate the pristine grass surfaces seen at the top Premier League clubs. Clubs in the Premier League can generally afford to throw millions of pounds into the upkeep of their pitches. Smaller clubs don’t have this luxury and as the season progresses their pitches worsen. Broadhall Way is a perfect example. Stevenage are a small club who cannot afford to splash out on a huge budget for their groundsmen. Allowing clubs to install artificial pitches would benefit them financially and should improve the quality of football they can play.

The only obstacle to overcome to implement the use of these pitches would, I imagine, be the backlash from the players. In England especially, there are strong feelings that artificial pitches are detrimental to players abilities, an excuse regularly used by the English national team against Russia and other eastern European nations.  Top clubs in Russian and Ukraine have artificial pitches out of necessity, the weather being just too cold, and I don’t see the issue that English players have with it. CSKA Moscow’s game on Tuesday against Real Madrid was a terrific game of football and the pitch seemed to play a positive part in that.

I had absolutely no qualms about the use of artificial pitches..until I ventured into the back of my boot closet to find my blue/white Nike Tiempos. I haven’t worn them since the Christmas break and I was horrified when I saw the state they were in. On the front section of the boot the leather has worn shockingly, considering I only used them for 3 months. I know people at my club who have had similar issues with their Tiempo IV’s on artificial pitches. I bought my Tiempo’s because I think they have the best stud configuration for artificial pitches. The mix of conical and bladed studs are ideal for 3G pitches. Its a shame because they are the best boots I have ever owned but the durability just isn’t good enough. It’s not practical to buy a new pair of the same boot ever 3 months. This won’t affect professionals, who get sent a new pair of boots regularly, but it will affect club players who have 1 or 2 boots to last them a season. I did however, feel that it was an issue that Soccer Reviews readers should know about. Soccer Reviews looked into this issue last week and we felt that artificial pitches aren’t bad for your boots. In general I agree, but the Tiempo is one boot that definitely has issues with it.

Nike need to address this issue as I think the Tiempo IV’s are the best boots for artificial grass. I also think that the Football League should test the use of artificial pitches in League Two at least. Do you prefer artificial or grass pitches? Have you had any issues with your Tiempo IV’s, or any other boots playing on artificial grass?

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Comments

  1. Felix

    it depend heaps on the conditions, it is near impossible to grow nice grassy pitches there, even the grass at the hong kong stadium cannot survive :( here in new zealand thou, pitches r great, although they usually turn into a bog in winter forcing reschedules of matches lol i guess artificial turf has its goods n bads, as with everything else :)

  2. z

    I have the same T4′s, and I only wear them on grass.
    five months of use have left them unscratched. I’ve played on turf fo practice and games all my life, and never use good leathers on turf. They will rip it apart. I only save my T4′s for grass fields, where they are beauties

  3. Avatar of TomHalder

    @Felix,
    Please never refer to what grows on the ground in Hong Kong as grass ever again mate! I was appalled when I first moved out here, it is impossible to play on. I imagine pitches are pristine in the summer, but as soon as a bit of rain falls then pitches get ruined.

    @z
    You clearly have terrific taste in boots! The T4′s are stupidly comfortable and feel pretty light in my opinion. The issue I have is that almost all my football is played on artificial turf and I can’t stand the feel of cheaper football boots in general. I had never planned to wear my T4′s on grass but when I went back to England at Christmas I must admit they were terrific on grass pitches. Sadly I had to learn the hard way, but I would rather buy a new pair of Tiempos every couple of months than have a different pair of boots for a season.

  4. Jose

    I’ve always had mixed feelings about artificial pitches. While the AG pitches are getting better, I feel you just can’t beat the natural feel of grass. I don’t think the issue here is whether the FG boots can perform on turf, most can (with the exception of some bladed studs, which catch on the turf and can be dangerous for your knees and ankles!). However, turf is tough on cleats. That natural tearing and give you have in grass is no longer present with turf and it puts stress on the cleats. Performance is never the question, but durability is. I feel like as we go forward and the sport gets more economically focused (tough times you know? Especially for amateurs and Sunday leagues like us who don’t get boots and goodies for free from sponsors), we’ll be moving toward artificial pitches to save money. For me I’d like to know when I pass the ball it won’t hit a hole or bump and jump up. As we make this shift it should be interesting how the big companies like Nike and Adidas react. As more smaller leagues and recreational leagues move to cost cutting turf, these companies would be forced to produce more AG boots (they have to cater to the consumer). Hopefully the quality on turf specific shoes will increase! The turf shoes now days are sad. However, I have noticed Adidas has released a AG version of the F50 and 11pro. Hopefully it is a sign of things to come as we move towards the economically friendly synthetic pitch.

    • Mads

      The good thing about adidas making these AG-options is that if the boots are to rip apart in some three months you have your warranty, which should cover that. A mate of mine has only bought one pair of FG cleats (as we play and train almost exclusively on normal grass) for two years now – even though he’s been through v1.10, preds, adizero and ctr360 – simply because they split in one way or another in shorter time than you would expect a pair of cleats to last.
      However in the winter months where the grass pitches are a mess and the weather is bad there is no substitution for a 3g pitch.

  5. mastershake
  6. ben

    I wear nothing but leather on 4g pitches (rubber crumb) and have not had any problems yet I did with plastic boots my t90′s (laser 2′s) peeled at the toes and started to tear after 8 months. I think it depends on how people play and coloured boots on a black pitch is never a good idea.

  7. Ben

    dont see how you manage to do that much damage to them? do you drag your feet along whilst you play :/

  8. DaneGM

    I’m from Scotland so play on Artificial pitches 90% of the year. Gotten used to playing on artificial grass and my boots haven’t really suffered from it, although synthetic boots hold up better than leather in terms of scuffs/scrapes.

    Ideally I’d play on a pristine grass pitch all year round but that would either be extremely costly or impossible.

  9. about the issue with the toe discoloration, my friend has nikeid tiempos with the same issue but we play on real grass, not artifical turf. could be a manufacturer mistake

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