Clutching at Straws


I read recently that the Football League are having talks about allowing the use of plastic pitches in League Two as well as in the National League.

At present Sutton, Bromley and Maidstone in the National League play on artificial surfaces. However, and it is a whacking big however of immense proportions, under current league regulations, should any of these three teams gain promotion either automatically or via the play offs, they will not be allowed to take their place in League Two unless they guarantee to replace their plastic pitches with grass prior taking their place in League Two.

Should they they fail to comply, they won't be able to remain in the National League but will face immediate relegation instead to the National North/South ...and here's me thinking that we had some barmy rules and regulations from the Government, the Borough Council, the F.A., the E.U. as well as the committee of our local working men's club. A bit strict, nay, savage to say the least, and I'm now beginning to think that Darlo 1883 got a rough deal by being denied access to the playoffs last season because they did not have enough covered seating accommodation.

After much thought the cynic in me now views this whole issue in a more positive, but selfish light from a Hartlepool United perspective. It is estimated that the cost alone of replacing plastic with turf is in the region of £250k. Even with the enhanced payments from the Football League after a successful promotion this would not cover the overall outlay unless the club in question had substantial resources of their own to pay for this, along with the other expenses that come with the running of a football club at the next level.
"Darlo 1883 got a rough deal by being denied access to the playoffs last season"

As the league table currently stands Sutton are top of the table with a 39 point haul, 8 points more than Pools. Bromley are in 8th spot, five places higher and 4 points more than Pools. Maidstone are in 14th place trailing Pools by one place and two points. Basically if none of these clubs have the desire or the cash to replace their existing playing surfaces, as it stands it would technically see Pools move up two places at Sutton's and Bromley's expense and not having to worry about Maidstone behind us snapping at our heels.

This is the level of desperation I have now reached. Clutching at straws on a massive scale, due to Craig Harrison and his team not getting their cushioned backsides in order and getting on with the real job of making a fist of a credible promotion campaign without our having to rely on the misfortunes or hindrances of other teams to assist us.