Bacon's Bites: Not everyone is a fan of 3G pitches, could Tiger win another major, and why 'The Met' are surely celebrating former Col U man
PA Archive/PA Images
Mike Bacon takes a look at why 3G pitches are not loved by everyone. Also, are we going to witness a Tiger Woods comeback to rival any other sporting return?
Do you think it has been a ‘severe’ winter so far?
I don’t think so.
But you tell that to some of the grassroots football teams in our region who have gone without a game for months – some before Christmas.
Unfit, waterlogged or frozen pitches are the scourge of modern grassroots football and a report out suggests things aren’t going to improve.
The Climate Coalition says golf, football and cricket face an “unexpected threat”.
The report predicts “cancelled football matches, flooded cricket grounds and golf courses crumbling into the sea”.
All very worrying.
Certainly, I have seen more and more local football games called off in recent years, this season being one of the worst.
The continued drop in participation of adult football doesn’t bode well for the future either.
But let’s concentrate on the weather and what football is trying to do about it to get games on.
Are 3G and 4G pitches the answer?
I must confess I’m not a lover of 3G pitches and I am sure I would have hated to play on them as a player.
But, before everyone from Harlow to Sudbury, Haverhill to Kirkley starts tutting and calling me a dinosaur, in this job I do actually get to speak to a lot of people in the non-league game - players, managers, committe people, and fans.
And I can assure you that while plenty don’t mind them, there are a big percentage of people, especially players and managers out there, who are no big fans of 3G pitches.
Many who dislike them say the 3G pitch is too firm, tough on the joints and can lead to injuries.
They’ll play on them because they have to.
And while I’m not overly-concerned about ‘the bounce of the ball being different’, or ‘the ball running faster’, etc, playing injuries do concern me.
However, there is little doubt 3G is here to stay and could be introduced into the Football League as early as next year.
It has been reported that EFL clubs will vote in June whether to have artificial surfaces back for the first time in 25 years. A good thing? I’m not sure.
Of course, as a home fan or financial officer at a club with a 3G pitch, everything is pretty dandy.
Fewer postponements, means a home game is rarely off, and there is also the chance to bring in extra revenue by hiring the pitch out. What’s not to like?
But are we thinking of the players first, or the wish of generating extra revenue into the club?
Because you see, while I understand the need to get games on and clubs to generate finance, player safety is paramount.
Until I hear none, or very few grumblings over 3G pitches, with players saying it’s ‘the business’, then I’ll sit on the fence with this I’m afraid.
It’s not me who has to put my joints through it for 90 minutes – something for those who don’t play the game to remember.
How would you feel if Tiger Woods won another golf major?
He’s on 14, four behind Jack Nicklaus and that seemed to be the way it was always going to stay.
But, whisper it, Woods is on the comeback trail – albeit one that has been slow and painful.
Woods recorded his best finish in a full-field PGA Tour event since August 2015 at the Farmers Insurance Open last month and some bookies are quoting him at 18/1 to win the Masters in April – that’s shorter odds than Justin Rose and Phil Mickelson.
“I’m just trying to build towards April,” Woods said.
“I’m looking forward to playing a full schedule and getting ready for the Masters and I haven’t done that in a very long time.”
Could you imagine it if Woods won the Masters this year? Or come to think of it, any year?
It would be the biggest comeback of all time, surely?
I’m no big fan of his, but I must confess if he has the mental strength to win another major after all the back surgery and off-course issues he has gone through in recent years, I’ll tip my hat to him.
Former Colchester United man Ian Henderson is likely being toasted among the Met Police this week!
It was his 20th goal of the season for League One strugglers Rochdale in the FA Cup on Tuesday, that set up a fifth round tie at home to Spurs.
The reason for the toast?
The winning goal from Henderson was against Millwall - it means the Lions against Spurs isn’t going to happen!
Big sighs all round at the Met.