It’s no secret that 3G Pitches have been changing the game for non-league football clubs. So much so that even grass ‘purists’ are having their heads turned by the latest innovations in artificial turf.
Not only do 3G Stadia Pitches provide a reliable, durable surface that delivers optimum performance – whatever the weather – they offer clubs a crucial source of revenue, through pitch hire and increased attendance.
More important than ever in the wake of the pandemic, generating revenue from 3G Pitches has become a lifeline for many clubs.
As the leading contractor for 3G Stadia Pitch Construction, we know just how much of an impact 3G Pitches can have on the success of non-league clubs, in terms of both finance and performance.
Whether it be Maidstone United recording profits every single season, Sutton United facing off against (eventual Cup Winners) Arsenal in the 5th round of the FA Cup or Harrogate Town earning promotion from National League North all the way to the English Football League in just two seasons – 3G Pitches can make the world of difference.
Sutton United know this all too well, having reaped the rewards both on and off the pitch since their grass to 3G Stadia conversion by S&C Slatter in 2015.
Paul Doswell, who managed Sutton United – and has since become a repeat customer for S&C Slatter with Havant and Waterlooville – was the trailblazer behind the new pitch, persuading even self-proclaimed ‘grumpy old man’, Club Chairman Bruce Elliott, who was initially against the idea.
In an article with the Non-League Football Paper, Elliott explained:
“A part of me thought football should be played on grass. But then you think about it, and you think about it some more.
Then you remember that twice in the last few years we have had a period in the season where there was no football at the ground for five weeks. Even in good weather, it was only suitable to host one game every two weeks.”
The threat of a British downpour on match day wasn’t the only issue with the existing pitch. Natural grass pitches are only suitable for just 2-6 hours of adult use per week, meaning that Sutton United’s reserves and youth teams never used the grass pitch at Gander Green Lane. Even training didn’t take place on site, with the first team having to train in Guildford – all of this costing the club money to pay for external pitch venue hire.
In 2015, S&C Slatter designed and constructed a 3G artificial turf pitch to a high specification with specialist drainage, meaning no more fears of game cancellations due to a waterlogged pitch. With 3G Pitches able to withstand 60 – 80 hours of play per week without impacting performance, Sutton United were able to utilise their home ground for match play and training, bringing everything in house.
Not only did this save the club money in external facility hire, Sutton United were able to become a ‘seven-day-a-week operation’, hiring out the facility to generate additional revenue for the club.
The results of the 3G Stadia Pitch construction at Sutton United speak for themselves. S&C Slatter delivered the pitch within a tight 8-week timescale, ready for the 2015/16 season – which started with Sutton United in National League South – and ended with a league win and promotion to the Vanarama National League.
The club didn’t stop there, with Doswell leading the team to the 5th round of the FA Cup (the furthest they’ve ever been), facing off on their new 3G Pitch against eventual cup winners Arsenal. The same year saw the U’s narrowly miss promotion to the English Football League, as they finished in 3rd place in the National League – the highest position the club has ever reached.
It’s not just about the success of the club on the pitch. Generating revenue from 3G Pitches can be the difference between a club surviving and a club thriving. Sutton’s 3G Pitch itself brought significant financial benefits to the club, with revenue generated from pitch hire, as well as rising attendance delivering additional spend on tickets, programmes, food and drink at the club.
The 3G Pitch installation transformed the club into a hub for the community. This not only generated revenue from hire but helped the club to earn a larger fan base, resulting increased match attendance and ultimately increased match day spend.
Doswell commented to Portsmouth news:
“We ended up with over 1,000 children, boys, girls, parents coming through the gates every week. It was a massive game changer.
It was the secondary spend as well, coming back to watch games and spend money on burgers and programmes. It helped Sutton more than double their crowds, from 700 to 1,500.”
It didn’t take long for even the harshest critics of artificial turf to be swayed. Ex- Portsmouth Striker Ian Baird, Doswell’s assistant at Sutton United had been dead against the pitch conversion. Doswell commented:
“Within a fortnight of it [the 3G Pitch] being installed Ian told me it was the best thing the club had ever done.”
Sutton United are just one of many success stories we’ve been thrilled to be a part of, through the specialist construction of 3G artificial turf pitches. The team continue to compete in the National League, with former manager Paul Doswell recently kicking off his new club’s 2020/21 season on a newly constructed S&C Slatter 3G Pitch.
With 11 teams playing on S&C Slatter 3G Stadia Pitches in the Vanarama National League, National League North and South – and clubs such as Everton FC, Queens Park Rangers and Swindon Town FC training on our pitches – it’s no surprise that we’re the number one choice for elite 3G Stadia Pitches.
S&C Slatter are the leading contractor for non-league football 3G Stadia Pitches.
We have delivered more pitches to the highest levels of non-league football than any other.
We’re committed to providing first-class pitches for top performance, maximum use and longevity, with the certifications and success rate to prove it.