Synthetic turf pitch provision to Scottish Football League club
Annan Athletic FC are currently playing in Scottish Third Division. What makes this football club stand out from other teams in their league is their pitch. Indeed, their home stadium, the Galabank, features since the start of the 2012-2013 season a synthetic turf pitch.
The club is based in the town of Annan, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland. They moved to the Galabank in 1953. On the 3rd of July 2008, Annan Athletic were accepted into the Scottish Football League for the first time, to replace defunct club Gretna. Consequently Galabank began hosting Annan’s games in the Scottish Football League Third Division in the 2008–09 season. Prior to their entry, the Galabank ground needed an inspection from a committee from the league before being accepted. The ground was deemed to be of the required standard.
Far from jeopardizing the fitting standard of the ground for the Scottish League, this recent synthetic turf pitch installation cost £592,000. The finance for this surface includes money seized from criminals in the Scottish government’s Cashback for Communities scheme. Funding has also come from Dumfries and Galloway Council and Sport Scotland. As a result of this installation, Annan Athletic will have nearly no pitch maintenance expenses for a long time, until the pitch becomes old and damaged and needs replacement, which should take approximately 10 years.
Part of the synthetic turf development involved levelling off the slope at the Galabank ground. Club chairman Henry McClelland said that would involve a huge effort at the time: “Essentially what will happen, at the top end of the park the pitch will be lowered by two feet and at the bottom it will be raised by two feet,” he said. The surface is certified 2-star ranking by FIFA, having been tested 3 times by a synthetic turf Institute, the pitch therefore stands out quite clearly in the Scottish Third Division in terms of quality and aesthetics for spectators watching a game on it.