Harrogate Town to install 3G pitch in Â£1million investment to community football
Harrogate Town have unveiled a ground-breaking switch to an artificial third generation pitch at their Wetherby Road ground.
Contractors move in on Monday to start work on ripping up the turf at the CNG Stadium with work expected to be finished in late July.
The transformation is part of a £1million investment into community football project and will be funded by Town chairman Irving Weaver.
Town’s new ladies team and development squads will also play home games on the surface and other local teams will be able to hire out the facility.
Town manager Simon Weaver said: “This development is incredibly exciting.
“The CNG Stadium has really become a fortress for us, and now the playing surface will help us give the fans more of the dynamic, fast-paced football they’ve grown accustomed to.
“It also means we can regularly train at the ground, which will give us a real edge going into the new season.”
Town have also agreed a partnership with St John Fisher Catholic High School to build a separate 3G pitch over the summer and are awaiting approval from the football foundation.
Managing director Garry Plant said: “This is a monumental day, both for the football club and the local community.
“The development at St John Fisher will allow the club to play a much bigger part in the community.”
Since buying the club, chairman Irving Weaver has ploughed funds into improving the playing surface at the CNG Stadium.
After levelling the traditional slope, additional drainage work has been undertaken over the last two off seasons.
However, Town had severe problems with the pitch three seasons ago when they had to play a number of ‘home’ matches at alternative grounds.
A number of home matches were also postponed during Town’s play-off challenge this season due to the wet winter.
The grass will be replaced by a high-spec 3G pitch, tested to FIFA’s two-star standard.
The National League Premier voted to approve 3G pitches in January allowing Town to be promoted should they win the league or play-offs next season.
However, the Football League has yet to accept clubs with artificial surfaces.
Maidstone United became the first non league team to transform their playing surface into a 3G in 2012.
Town’s National League North rivals Tamworth have also announced plans to transform their pitch in time for next season.