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Pitch change blow to our widening ambitions

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Chris Jardine | 13:52 UK time, Sunday, 10 October 2010

It's been a bit of an up and down last seven days at Galabank this week. We had a decent result away to Berwick at the weekend, but the club received some bad news regarding a failed grant appeal from the Scottish Football Partnership.

The club had applied for financial help to get the pitch widened at Galabank. As it stands, the pitch falls below the required width and it was part of the requirements when we were accepted into the Scottish Football League that this had to be rectified within a period of time.

It's a disappointment for the club as there will now be possible sanctions as I can only now assume the work won't be completed in the specified time.

The club has worked really hard to develop Galabank since we found out about our successful application to join the league and the widening of the pitch is the next stage in that development.

I think it's also important for the playing staff as well. I've spoken previously about our problems in home matches as it's such a tight little park and it can be really hard to break teams down if you fall a goal behind. Hopefully, the new dimensions will help us improve on that as our away form has been pretty decent this season.

The club held its annual meeting last week and it was made clear that the club saw a further way forward in their development by installing a new artificial all-weather surface. We have had experience playing against the likes of Montrose and Stenhousemuir in the past and they are both very good surfaces.

Don't get me wrong, given the choice, I would play on grass every time, but I think in this day and age football clubs need to be confident that games are going to go ahead every week. I think I'm right in saying that Airdrie went around six weeks without a home fixture over the Christmas period last year; that's a scary thought for anyone.

Installing this surface at Galabank allows you to generate income 24 hours a day if there was that demand. Okay, it's highly unlikely that's ever going to happen, but I hope you get my point.

As well as the income, it allows the team to train on better facilities throughout the year. There are times when we struggle to properly practice our set-pieces because our training facility isn't big enough.

Obviously, we adapt things, but it's not ideal. Over Christmas and New Year, we were training indoor on badminton courts for a month because every outside facility was unplayable. An artificial surface not ideal for players, in my opinion, but I certainly think it's the way forward for the smaller clubs like ourselves.

Before last weekend's game, I'm sure we would have taken a 2-2 draw away to Berwick. I'm sure the manager was disappointed in the actual performance, but a point at the league leaders is something we would take any day of the week.

I think our form is a little concerning right now and hopefully the break this weekend will do us the world of good. We've picked up results, so that's always positive, but we can't kid ourselves on as performances in three of our last four matches haven't been too clever. The Clyde match aside, we've been pretty poor and things need to improve throughout the team.

The manager gave us the weekend off at the last international match and we actually thought we were off this weekend as well. We were told to make plans if we wanted, but then a game at Stenhousemuir in a closed-door fixture was arranged.

A couple of the boys have actually headed off for some sunshine and it might open the door for some of us to get a game in and hopefully impress. I was actually supposed to be away from Friday until Monday, but I've put things back a day and I'll just head off after the game. I've not made it on to the pitch at all in the last six matches. So, if the club arranges anything right now, I'll be there.


  • Comment number 1.

    I'm a Raith Rovers fan, and we ended up having to play 3 times a week to clear our fixtures at the end of last season, thanks in part to our great cup run. Not ideal as we were involed in a bit of a relegation battle at the time and we needed points from those games to stay up. By the end of the season the pitch had very little grass left on in.
    I would imagine that it's better to play on a sythetic pitch than a sand covered quagmire.

  • Comment number 2.

    Last year when you were playing, you very rarely criticised the team. This year you have a dig EVERY week, even though the team is doing better than last year. It feels like you are using this blog to hammer the players, who are in ahead of you. Also championing the smallest things you are doing. Personally if i was the manager i would be a little worried about your influence, unsettling the squad.

  • Comment number 3.

    Hi Chris

    How wide (or narrow) is your pitch ?

    Also, David Longmuir said recently that League clubs are against regionalization, surely a 3rd Div North and South would reduce travelling costs and increase gates.

    Are Annan one of the one's against regionalization ?

  • Comment number 4.

    so, the club has been stalling on widening the pitch for a couple of years now, but then they vote to bring in a new surface at the agm? maybe i'm jumping to conclusions, but it sounds like they were hoping to be let off the hook/secure some kind of league assistance or bailout?
    there's no shortage of construction companies in d&g - surely one of them would jump in to add an extra couple of yards to each side of the pitch in return for some prominent advertising/marketing associated with doing it for free?

  • Comment number 5.

    Phil - I don't think that's true at all to be honest. I think if you look back at my blogs from last year and the year before that I have always been honest in our performances, whether in or out of the team. Only 3 weeks ago I praised our performance at Clyde. I'm speaking about our performances just now because I'm worried that we are going to suffer a blip very soon if they don't improve. I'm not saying anything behind anyone's back as these are things that we have spoken together about as players and management staff. Overall things are very positive at the club and we are picking up positive results and long may that continue.

  • Comment number 6.

    piorek - I'm not sure of the actual dimensions but it is very narrow and can be very difficult to break teams down if you fall behind.
    I haven't read the comments regarding regionalization; is this regarding cup competitions piorek?

  • Comment number 7.

    camp6ell - I actually thought that the club had been given 3 or 5 years to get everything up to standard but perhaps that was wrong or things have changed.
    I will try and find out some more information from the club at training this week so that I can hopefully answer your question better.

  • Comment number 8.

    Glen Haig - I still think given the choice I would prefer grass than an artificial surface every week. Maybe that's just because I'm getting on a bit though and I can feel the aches and pains a wee bit more on the synthetic stuff!

  • Comment number 9.

    Chris - No it's regarding the Leagues. David Longmuir mentioned it last week when he was telling of the discussions ongoing between the SFL and the SPL. He said as an addition that there was 'little support' for regionalization of the SFL.

    Quite surprised really when there is so much to gain especially for a club like Annan which is on the extremities. Therefore wondered if Annan were one of the clubs against.


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