"I like shows. I like the fact that I can network with suppliers and my peers, but the fact remains that, if some suppliers don't exhibit, then it is not a complete experience"
You may remember that I had a bit of a dig at Saltex in a recent article, basically because I thought the organisers had lost the plot!
However, as luck would have it, the management here at my club suggested that I "might be allowed" to buy, or at least hire, a piece of kit that I had been wanting for some while, if I could put a good case forward.
We've been having a few problems with our training ground pitch and I'd been hearing good things about the latest Koro Field Topmaker - something called the Terraplane - which sounds like a heavy rock band to me.
Anyway, the upshot was that my deputy and I jumped in the car and drove to Windsor on the Tuesday. We got to the showground at around midday, grabbed a quick sandwich and then headed of to find Campeys, who are the company that sell this particular machine.
After a walk around for about an hour we still hadn't found them, so checked in the catalogue only to find they weren't exhibiting! Now, some of you will be saying "you should have checked before you set off", and you are probably right, but aren't Campeys always there? Well, apparently not!
Annoyingly, I'm probably closer to the company's Macclesfield HQ than Windsor, but the opportunity to perhaps see a few other bits of kit seemed like a good idea at the time.
By mid-afternoon we had seen enough - or not, as the case may be - and set off for home.
On the way back up the motorway, we had a bit of a moan about a wasted day which, in truth, it wasn't completely because we saw another machine that took our fancy, but it's definitely convinced me, this time, not to bother next year. There simply wasn't enough for this football groundsman to see.
And talking of wasted days, I attended the local MAPLive demo day which was, fortunately, only a few miles up the road from me. There were a handful of exhibitors and even less visitors so, apart from saying hi to a couple of my mates from another club, I left feeling rather disappointed.
Now, the Saltex and MAP experiences have got me pondering about our industry exhibitions. Saltex used to be good, MAP certainly wasn't and BTME seems to be on the up again, thanks to BIGGA's efforts so, as always, I'll be heading up to Harrogate in January, unless we have a bit of a cup run, which might scupper things!
I like shows. I like the fact that I can network with suppliers and my peers, but the fact remains that, if some suppliers don't exhibit, then it is not a complete experience. Yes, I can get information from websites and magazines, but I like to shake hands and talk to people. That's, perhaps, the biggest attraction for me.
I was speaking to one of the Pitchcare guys recently who said that the 'one show' idea had been scuppered by, what he called, "hidden agendas'. I guess that means the organisers looking after their particular interests, regardless of what's best for the industry.
For me, that would be the way forward, I think. One show that moves around the country on an annual basis, but with 'everyone' exhibiting so that it was a true and complete industry show. I suppose I can dream ... I'm good at that when I'm striping up the pitch!
Oh, and imagine my surprise when I got home and googled 'Terraplane', only to find they were a rock band from the late eighties!
Keep the faith; and keep cutting the grass, after all that's all you do.