Omniturf

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Omniturf was the first artificial surface to be used by an English Football League club. The first club to install this 'plastic grass' surface was Queens Park Rangers who installed the new pitch for the start of the 1981/82 season.[1] Despite much publicity around the supposed unfair advantage the pitch would provide Rangers, they proceeded to lose the opening home Division Two match on the new surface by 1-2 against Luton Town.

The pitch did prove to be successful for Rangers though, as they reached the FA Cup Final in the 1981/82 season (as a 2nd Division club), and then won the (old) 2nd Division Championship the following season.

The innovation at Loftus Road brought mixed results, for while the ball ran smoothly enough over the hard surface, it was unpredictable when allowed to bounce. This caused confusion among defenders and goalkeepers in particular.[2]

The Omniturf pitch lasted at Rangers' Loftus Road ground for seven seasons; the pitch was torn up at the end of the 1987/88 season.

Other Football League clubs which also laid similar artificial surfaces during the 1980s were Luton Town (obviously impressed from the first match), Oldham Athletic, and Preston North End.

One of the few times the surface has been used outside of soccer has been by the University of Missouri, which used it for the playing surface of its football stadium, Faurot Field, from 1985 to 1994. The surface was panned by both Tigers and opponents alike as one of the worst in college football. In 1992, the coaches in the Big Eight Conference issued a statement that Faurot Field's surface was "a detriment to the home and visiting teams and takes away from the integrity of the game played on such a field."[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Jim Gregory R.I.P.". Unofficial QPR Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2009-06-02. 
  2. ^ Lacey, David (2007-10-13). "The pitch may be artificial but the need for a point is genuine". The Guardian.co.uk (London). Retrieved 2009-06-02. 
  3. ^ University of Missouri, Official Athletic Site of the Mizzou Tigers Facilities