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Gillingham manager Peter Taylor sees no problems with Maidstone United being accepted into the Conference with a 3G pitch

28 January 2014
by Luke Cawdell

Gillingham manager Peter Taylor

Gillingham manager Peter Taylor

Gills boss Peter Taylor has backed Maidstone United’s bid to play at a higher level on an artificial pitch.

The Ryman League side are aiming for promotion to Conference-level football but at present the league won’t allow them admission with a 3G pitch.

Member clubs of the Conference will vote on Wednesday, on wheter to allow Maidstone United in, if they were to be promoted.

Taylor, who spent a season playing with the Stones, said: “I don’t believe a 3G pitch should halt Maidstone’s progress.

“Football clubs have to put their house in order and make money and it is obvious Maidstone make money by renting it out. I haven’t seen the 3G pitch but knowing (chief executive) Bill Williams, it will be in good condition, because he will make sure it is done correctly.

“I spent four or five months in Holland and they wouldn’t hesitate about playing on a 3G pitch. We are a little negative about it. There is a senior team, PEC Zwolle, who play on an artificial pitch in the top division. They wouldn’t hesitate and England played against Russia on one.

“For a club the size of Maidstone to be stopped in their progress because of it is ridiculous.”

Should 3G pitches be allowed in the Conference?

Taylor also dismissed concerns over injuries picked up on the artificial surfaces, insisting the grass ones can be just as problematic.

“With the state of some of the pitches, a 3G pitch would be better,” he said.

“A lot of senior pros get negative about 3Gs because they think it effects their joints but I think some of the grass pitches are rock hard and not done properly or are there for looks rather than as a football pitch.

“The current brand new 3G pitches are first class and you would never dream that you are playing on an artificial pitch.

“If Maidstone were to carry on winning the leagues and get to the Championship, then I can understand it would then mean they don’t need the money from the schools and hiring it out, you could rip it up. But for them to have to rip the pitch up now, to make progress as a football club, is poor.”

Maidstone co-owner Oliver Ash hopes the matter is settled in the club's favour on Wednesday, to avoid the need to take the matter further.

Read what Dartford manager Tony Burman has to say on the subject here.

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