Type of installation: 3G Football pitch
Location: Harlow, Essex
Kestrel Contractors were contacted by Harlow Town FC who play in the Ryman North, in relation to installing a new artificial 3rd Generation grass surface at the Harlow Arena Stadium.
The club were in dire straits. Crowds were down and revenue streams severely depleted as the natural grass pitch was only capable of hosting two games per week throughout the playing season. The future appeared to be bleak
This was further compounded by the fact the end of season renovation works meant that the pitch could not be used for at least 8 weeks during the summer months.
Not a sound business plan for taking the club forward.
Tom Cunningham the Chief Executive of the club realised that the status quo wasn’t sustainable and that the administrators had to look at alternative ways of moving the club forward whilst involving the community.
3G was the answer. The figures stacked up.
Upon contacting Kestrel he had a revolutionary proposal put on the table.
Rather than build the pitch in the conventional fashion of excavating the existing grass Kestrel with their vast engineering experience in both natural and artificial grass construction came up with a design that allowed both artificial grass to be laid and in event of promotion to higher divisions, revert back to natural grass without needing a complete re-build.
Tom Cunningham takes up the story; ‘Having considered and tried a number of possible ways of securing the long term future of the club and site on a financial basis, the change from grass to 3G was the only possible way the site and football club would prosper as a business and community based Arena as it had been intended.’
Having put the finances in place, the club sought and got approval from the sports trust, landlord and the local council and planning. The FA then recommended a number of companies and as Tom adds; ‘we had a short list of three companies but Kestrels product was always superior and our preferred choice.’
With the finances, local support and contractor in place, the summer build schedule was put in place and the club recognise that they put Kestrel under considerable pressure to get the job done; ‘we were working to a very tight schedule of eight weeks max as we had a huge charity event due to take place, Harlow 5 Aid. I was assured by Billy Martin (Kestrel MD) that this would be achieved, weather permitting. Kestrel was on site on time and delivered exactly what they said from start to finish.’
So 18 months on and currently sitting top of The Ryman Football League North (October 2014), how does Mr Cunningham reflect on the decision made to convert to the 3G hybrid model? ;
‘The Football Club has grown from just a first team this time last year to over twenty teams including a full time academy all the way down to under 7’s. The whole community is now using the Arena. There is a great buzz about the site which we have never had before.’
‘My advice to other clubs out there thinking about building a 3G pitch is this; find the finance ASAP, it will change your football club and give your site a long term future.’