Artificial pitches – you either like them or loathe them.
Opinion remains divided over the innovative 3g and 4g surfaces that have infiltrated the Irish League in recent years.
Cliftonville and Crusaders have embraced the ‘artificial’ revolution in recent years.
It has been a welcome development for the progressive North Belfast clubs, bolstering revenue streams along the way.
And on Saturday the Danske Bank Premiership welcomed another 3g surface to its ranks with Ards kicking off a new era at the revamped Clandeboye Park.
Speaking to Niall Currie prior to the club’s first outing on the 3g pitch against Portadown on Saturday, there was an tone of caution in the normally confident Ards manager’s voice.
It was a step into the unknown for the Premiership newcomers, who up until the weekend had been playing their home games at Ballyclare Comrades’ Dixon Park ground.
“For me, football should be played on grass. But we have this new surface and we will get on with it,” Currie said.
“It seems to have worked for Cliftonville and Crusaders, and their home records have been pretty good in recent years.
“They are used to playing on artificial pitches, and hopefully we can adjust and make Clandeboye a fortress for us.”
Currie was guarded in his expectations as Ards prepared for a new chapter in their proud history books.
But fast forward to 4.50pm on Saturday and Currie and his players were celebrating a 3-1 victory over Portadown.
It was a vital win for the basement battlers – one that saw them draw level on points with Warrenpoint Town at the bottom.
Currie will hope it is the catalyst as they look to climb up the table.
Ards have struggled during the opening weeks of the season, but they have only played five home games to date – four of which were rerouted to Dixon Park.
Saturday’s win should give Currie plenty of hope as he looks to the rest of the campaign.
They have now returned to Clandeboye. They have got some of their identity back.
And maybe their new artificial pitch will give them some genuine hope in their bid for survival.