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*Pitch ready for the off

Posted on 23 August 2002  - 12:00

Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs) Football Club is located in North London. The club is also known as Spurs. Tottenham's home ground is White Hart Lane. The club motto is Audere est Facere (To dare is to do).

Grounds manager Darren Baldwin reports that the new playing surface at White Hart Lane is ready and waiting for its first competitive action against Aston Villa on Saturday.

Glenn admitted before our pre-season friendlies against Celtic and Lazio that a slight risk was being taken in playing two games on the new top before the season begins.

But Darren says the pitch is taking shape nicely, even though the pitch encountered a few difficulties with disease during the summer.

"I think we're just about spot on," said Darren. "Weather conditions haven't been too bad, perhaps we could have done without the rain we had leading up to the Celtic game.

"On the whole it came out alright after the Celtic match. Against Lazio there was probably a bit more damage done than on the Wednesday night, which was a bit strange for us because the weather conditions were better. It was probably due to the fact that we had two games in a short space of time.

"The pitch itself held up pretty well. We had a few problems a few weeks ago with disease - one type that is very unusual for this country. But then with the weather we had - very hot during the day and humid at night - it was a disease normally found in the USA and South Africa.

"We had a few problems but we've cured that now - it's now all systems go for Saturday."

Right at the start of this process, Darren revealed that the pitch would not be absolutely perfect from the off, explaining that root development takes time and the surface will come into its own as it gets stronger towards the end of September. The plastic strands intertwined with the turf will greatly assist in the meantime.

"It's still the case, some of the lads found that it moved slightly underfoot. If you look back to 1996 when we last had a new top, the pitch fell apart from day one due to the lack of root development.

"What you got now is the artificial root development of the plastic, so although it's moving, it's only moving slightly because the plastic is there to hold it together.

"It will firm up and become more solid as the roots develop. We've got until the end of September with good growing weather for that to complete.

"Our main goal is to get it before September, but if we don't I'm confident the plastic will still do its job and we'll be fine all the way through."

So a nice Indian Summer wouldn't go amiss then?

"Absolutely. I'm a big believer that the summers we've had here are beginning to be longer or the months are changing, if you like. May and June haven't been particularly great in the last few years and September and October can have temperatures in the 20s - and that's a big help for us."

By Richard Hubbard