ADAMS Park could be dug up and replaced by an artificial pitch within two years.

That is the opinion of Wanderers and Wasps owner Steve Hayes, who says replacing the grass pitch with a fourth or fifth generation artificial surface would create untold revenue streams, making it a financial no-brainer.

He said: “The amount of money it costs to keep a really good pitch is way in excess of £75k a year, and all you can do is play football and rugby on it. With an artificial surface we could be staging all sorts of events – concerts, you name it – every night.

“I could have school kids playing on it right now, we could have community events taking place on it right now.

“I know traditionalists would say we want to play on grass, we want to play in the mud, but you have to look at progression.”

Laying an artificial pitch costs about £500,000 and lasts eight to ten years. On that basis, waiting until the new stadium is built would seem a logical step. But Hayes says the potential revenue streams could make it profitable at Adams Park over just two or three years The switch would also allow Hayes to get all the Wasps and Wanderers teams playing out of one home.

At the moment Wasps A are based at Henley while Wanderers’ reserves play home matches at Maidenhead.

Hayes said: “It would be bringing more people to the club and the benefits are substantial, but it has to be perfect for football and rugby.

“A few years ago I went up to look at the fourth generation pitches that Newcastle Falcons train on and it was immense. The bounce was true, you could run on it, scrummage on it. It’s not like the old Astroturf pitches you had at QPR and Luton.

“It’s nothing like that and if you look at what they do in American Football, my understanding is that the fourth generation pitches are actually safer for the players than grass.”

The debate has its source in rugby, with Premier Rugby concerned about the effect poor pitches have had on the quality of rugby in the Guinness Premiership.

Sale and Leeds were mud baths and sand pits for much of the season, but no pitch escaped untouched during a particularly fierce winter.

Premier Rugby chief executive Mark McCafferty said: “Notwithstanding the fact that it was a particularly hard winter, some of the pitches were not acceptable.

“The product is very important to us and we want to ensure consistent surfaces in the hope that they will lead to higher quality games.”

Improving the product is crucial for Wasps and Wanderers too, neither of whom sold out Adams Park last season.

Hayes said: “We are in the entertainment business. Supporters want a lot for their money and rightly so. Danny Cipriani is going to Australia to play running rugby on hard pitches. We can’t change the weather here – it’s easier to change the surface than the weather – so let’s not shut the door on these things.”

Blues manager Gary Waddock has experience of playing on artificial surfaces from his time at QPR.

He said: “It was shocking then, but they’re not like that now and with advances they have made I think it will be the way forward for football and rugby clubs.”

Premier Rugby has a five-year strategy to improve the game and Hayes has no problems with that sort of time-scale.

He said: “I’m not saying we’d definitely do it but if the governing bodies agreed I think we could probably do it for the season after next.”