Guest Blog from: – Artificial grass in Football – In World Football, it is yet to be seen whether or not artificial will have an impact and will be widely used as a playing surface for major competitions. The FIFA secretary general, Jerome Valcke has previously said that he believes that the men’s world cup could be played on artificial grass “sooner rather than later.” With that being said, this would be a massive step forward for football and the direction that it is heading in relation to top quality playing surfaces. Despite pressure from fans and football professionals to use natural grass for the game, influential people on the FIFA board are highlighting the positives for many clubs and countries to change playing surface. Women’s football might be the first to use artificial grass in a major tournament, much to the dismay of a certain group of players – FIFA have announced that the Women’s World Cup played in Canada will be played on an artificial surface. In Canada due to poor conditions for natural grass this is what the board have agreed on, as it is the first time artificial grass has been in a high profile tournament it is sure to be a spectacle and likely to dictate how much we begin to see artificial grass appearing in world football. Looking very alike natural grass, artificial grass in made up from a combination of synthetic fibres that are made to simulate real grass. Often used for residential areas such as gardens, artificial grasses apparel is often like very well kept natural grass – which means an appealing looking lawn with low levels of maintenance. Companies like Forever Green Lawns supply artificial grass for residential areas, however now we are seeing artificial grass becoming useful for much more than just residential areas. Sports arenas are now looking to use artificial grass as it offers a far more sustainable solution to their high maintenance fees. In Canada’s case, FIFA have ruled that natural grass will be hard to maintain in a good condition for the duration of the world cup in with Canada’s climate – this means that artificial grass will be used to avoid patchy areas on pitches. Obviously, when using artificial grass there will be positive and negative facts and opinions. Some of the positives that come when using this surface are the fact that you can use it in most conditions, more so than natural grass. On top of this, the pitch won’t suffer from becoming patchy like natural grass would do, countries without the most suitable climate to maintain top quality natural grass can now use artificial grass as an alternative. This in turn will benefit teams in lower leagues with lower budgets, offering them the opportunity to switch to a surface that plays and feels like natural grass however doesn’t require the same amount of attention. This means that they will save money on maintenance and play on a good surface. On the other hand, some people will argue the negatives and no matter how significant of insignificant they are, you are likely to hear some of them. Purist supporters will offer the argument that artificial grass is new to football, and that the tradition of playing football on natural grass should be kept. Artificial is sure to change the game in one way or another, however it may not be a bad thing – despite this you will inevitably hear people feeling that the ‘beautiful game’ shouldn’t be going in the direction that it is. Players, most likely will be concerned with how the ball reacts to the pitch. We can see this in other sports such as tennis – clay vs grass courts – and how the ball reacts differently on each one. Also, in golf – where the length of the grass effects the running speed of the ball on putting greens etc. This will prompt questions on the differences in behaviour of the ball on an artificial surface. Despite seeming like an odd thing to question, that is an important factor to players at the top of their game as the smallest tweaks to playing environments are likely to have bigger effects. With all these questions surrounding playing surfaces, it is important to remember how it is sometimes more viable to suffer the negatives so that countries with climates unsuitable for natural grass can hold major competitions in world football. The woman’s world cup is likely to show up any faults that might have been overlooked.
LRB Trophies are delighted to supply the Claret Jug Trophy to the new York Union of Golf Club ‘Juniors vs Seniors’ competition. As the official engravers for the Union, we are delighted to help promote young and new talent to the area. Business Partner Steve Butler, has been invited to present the trophy to the winner on Sunday 22nd March at Pike Hills Golf Club – more news to follow soon. York Union History: The York Union of Golf Clubs was formed in 1931 and started with just four clubs, Easingwold Golf Club joined the Union in the early 1960’s and Malton & Norton & Kirkbymoorside Golf Clubs joined in the 1990’s. Various other clubs have joined since making the current total of 14 members in the North Yorkshire area. The stated objective of the Union is to “further the interests of amateur golf and to encourage social contacts amongst members of the affiliated clubs by means of Amateur Championships, competitions and other events organised by the Union”. Over the last few years, LRB Trophies has engraved and supplied trophies to a number of member clubs and will be extending it’s services to all the member clubs as and when required.
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Sadly for over nearly 3,000 workers, Christmas was not a enjoyable time. The courier company City Link went into administration on Christmas eve. Unless a last minute rescue package is found, they look set to be made redundant by new years day. For those who have used City Link to send their parcels, customers are being urged to collect parcels from depots on Monday. The companies online tracking system will tell you where the parcel is. If you have used them to send numerous parcels far away, I’m afraid you face many miles to go and get them back. City Link was founded in 1969, and had been acquired by restructuring specialist Better Capital for just £1 in 2013. The company had been running at a lost for some time. It had recently upgraded its fleet on yellow and green vans to Mercedes Sprinters, but this had come at a huge price. It was also in a difficult sector in the parcel industry. I send 40 to 50 parcels each month, but only used City Link twice in three years. Their prices were too high compared to similar companies and drivers would turn up hours after the allocated collection time. Another company facing a worrying time is the chocolate maker, Thorntons. It’s retail outlets had been doing well in the run up to Christmas, but its new centralised warehouse in Derbyshire, had major teething problems that had created delivery issues. Online sales had been heavily hit. The company had already started a store closure programme which shut half of its 350 shops, this lead to 500 jobs being lost over the past four years, at the moment they still employ almost 4,000 people and made a pre-tax profit of £5.97m in its last financial year.
Plans to improve rail journey times in the north have been announced. We first heard details back in 2011 that around £300 million will be spent on the electrification of the Transpennine route, with work due to take place in the Selby area in the next 3 to 4 years. The station and Bawtry Road bridge will need major work doing to it to allow for the extra height needed for electrification. As part of the national High Speed 2 project, an extension (High Speed 3) will join the big cities across the M62 corridor. Estimates have suggested a running speed of 140 miles per hour will reduce timings on current journeys to 30 minutes. Chancellor George Osborne, launched the news soon after the proposed £43billion High Speed 2 rail link from London to the north, and suggested that even more cash is spent on new rail links between cities such as Manchester and Leeds. Extending the project from Leeds to Selby Train Station and maybe onto Hull is part of the proposals. With our direct link to London, the Hull to Selby and Selby to the main line at Temple Hirst sections need to be included as well. The Chancellor has also promised to fix the roads which is a huge investment in itself. The disgraceful state of the bypass has been discussed already, and we await resurfacing plans in early 2015. The governments idea is to create one large ‘global northern city’ to recreate the various sections of our capital city, London. The proposed link from Manchester to Leeds would be based on the existing rail route, but speeded up with new tunnels and infrastructure.