THIS time of year is disheartening to so many in the game as the water table seems to be reaching new levels.

Austerity measures mean council facilities in particular are not being maintained to the standards required The knock-on effect is many poorly maintained, boggy pitches which just cannot stand up to the elements.

There has been many calls for more 3G and 4G facilities to be built or ones that have been built to be opened up for community use, and I echo those calls as they are still scarce in the Bolton, Bury and District area.

We could even help manage those facilities, by ensuring teams and clubs receive information on availability and pricing for training or match days.

All facility providers need to do is get in touch with me.

3G and 4G facilities aren’t the only answer though as ground maintenance can have a huge effect on use and ability of the ground to stand up to the British elements.

Why is it that clubs such as Tempest United, for example, appear to have hames played at their venue week after week with both the first and reserves using the facility?

The answer is abundantly clear if you walk onto the pitch, have a look at the goalmouth, the compactness of the soil, the covering of grass on the pitch and the facility as a whole.

It is well maintained and that maintenence allows for use when others are closed. It allows for a better standard of football to be played and it allows for fixtures to be completed as they are allocated and not crammed into the beginning and end of the season, like many other clubs who can’t get games in between October and February.

That quality maintenance also means ongoing maintenance is light with some verti draining required, feeding and some local damage repair (usually goalmouths etc) but otherwise the pitches are soon ready for the next season.

Little or no maintenance means pitches deteriorate to levels where they can’t be used, or use is light, they rarely get to an acceptable level for a good standard of football to be played and to get the facility up to the required standard, considerable investment is required which usually is gained via lottery or other funding streams.

All this can be avoided in the future, if councils, clubs and teams followed the model set by a club such as Tempest United, a small club in Chew Moor which saw the importance of regular maintenance of there facilities.