This piece is an extract from yesterday's The Rugby Road Gates newsletter, which is emailed out at 6pm every Wednesday. To receive our full, free Kilmarnock newsletter straight to your email inbox, click here.

There was only going to be one topic for this week’s entry after the news that broke on Monday afternoon – the pitch.

It emerged on BBC that Billy Bowie had outlined his intentions for Kilmarnock to rip up the artificial surface and return to a grass pitch at Rugby Park. This was not some huge secret, far from it, there had been murmurings of this move in the pipeline for a while. However, the timescale which was detailed in the report was something the wider public had not been privy to before. Contrary to some opinions, the story was indeed new information and not just a case of the media picking up on it late.

The article reads: “Kilmarnock are aiming to revert to a grass pitch at Rugby Park for the start of the 2025-26 season. Majority shareholder Bowie hopes final planning approval for their Bowie Park training facility will be granted so work can begin in the spring. Bowie says the opening of the new facility - located between Kilmarnock and Crookedholm - in the latter part of next year will lead to the artificial surface at Rugby Park being lifted and home matches being played on grass in the 2025-26 season.”

So, the implementation of a new grass pitch at the stadium is totally dependent on whether or not the new training facility is constructed with these relevant timescales. For all connected to the club, they’ve got to hope this is the case given it was aired out in the open by the Beeb. It’s said that building works on Bowie Park should begin in the spring of 2024. There will be a fairly quick turnaround, with competition anticipated around this time next year.

The Herald:

Some love the astro pitch and the frustration it causes among opposition players and managers, but mostly the fans. The usual suspects are known by most of the Killie faithful. However, there is also a large percentage of supporters who will be jumping for joy reading the update about the pitch. After all, Killie was traditionally renowned for having one of the best pitches in the land.

It can only be welcomed in my view. Next year will mark a decade since football was last played on grass at Rugby Park. The initial turf lasted until the summer of 2019 when it was then replaced by a higher-spec artificial surface. As the current campaign wears on, to the naked eye it certainly appears to be on its last legs.

There is a lot of faux outrage concerning astroturf pitches used in Scotland’s top flight. They do look terrible on TV, yes, but for those who attend games, the aesthetics of them are nowhere near as bad. It is clear at times that the ball can move more slowly and for those not used to it, the bounce of the ball would take adjusting to. But to suggest that Killie and Livingston boast a sporting advantage purely because of the surface is a massive exaggeration. Every team that plays on home soil should naturally have the advantage in their surroundings. The pitch is consistently used as a tired excuse by managers for their own team’s failings. When Rangers and Celtic have squads worth tens of millions, if not hundreds of millions, then they should be able to beat Killie no matter what surface they play on. It wasn’t the pitch that defeated the Old Firm on their most recent visits to Ayrshire, it was Derek McInnes’ players.

READ MORE: Kilmarnock can't get too excited until away form is fixed

Top-level football in other countries is more or less all played on grass pitches. While I’m certainly not calling for a ban on them for Premiership teams, I do agree that the move to return to a more natural surface will be of benefit for the image of Killie and indeed the perception of the league. There is also the factor, well-documented by various managers past and present, that the club’s recruitment has suffered. The pitch, alongside the training centre, will be a seismic investment made by Bowie, and one that all Killie fans should be immensely grateful for. It’s a project that will impact the lives of many generations to come.

Thankfully the community aspect of the astro won’t be lost as the academy teams and women’s side will all be based at the new facility instead of Rugby Park. Of course, it’s a great experience for youngsters to play at a 15,000-seater stadium, but thinking of first-team matters, the primary focus of any club, it’s important for them to be based elsewhere during the week. Right now there is no separation to distinguish between a Tuesday morning and a Saturday afternoon, as they’re always at the stadium. Perhaps this does play into the psyche behind the fantastic home form and contrasting dismal away form.

It's understood there will be no official announcement made by the club on the pitch for some time. And while there will be a period of radio silence on the matter, the focus must remain on the team continuing to pick up wins on the hallowed turf, while aiming to improve on the road. It’s an exciting prospect to think of grass returning though, in what undoubtedly looks like brighter times ahead for the club.