New pitch makes the cut!
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).
Our new playing surface at the Lane, laid using the very latest in modern pitch technology, had it's first trim on June 17 and word from Grounds Manager Darren Baldwin is 'so far so good'.
The club opted for a pitch where strands of plastic are interwoven with the turf to produce a tough, durable and, most importantly, flat playing area - Liverpool implemented a similar surface last season with considerable success.
Our pitch is now taking shape nicely, ready for its first taste of match action against Celtic in our pre-season cracker on August 7. While Darren reports that all is going well, there was a slight mishap and the old adage of pouring oil over troubled waters does not apply to pitches as well...
"Yes, touch wood, everything has gone pretty much as planned," said Darren. "We had a few minor problems with machinery and one breakdown of the actual Desso machine that inserts the plastic - resulting in a hydrolic hose that went and poured oil over the pitch!"
Happily, this was not a lasting problem for Darren and his team.
"That was easily rectified, we just dug out about four barrowfuls of sand where the problem was, put in a new mix and away we went."
Spurs adopted a different procedure to Liverpool in implementing the grass and plastic mix that Darren hopes will lead to a flatter surface.
"We did something slightly different to what we anticipated. We were going to grow the grass first and then stitch the plastic, which is what they did at Liverpool, but they suffered a few ridges in the pitch caused by the weight of the machine.
"So I went out to Dublin to have a look at the plastic being stitched first rather than the grass. I was quite impressed with what I saw and I took the decision that we would do that here.
"What it meant was delaying the actual seeding process by about two weeks but, having said that, we caught up with the construction of the pitch and were only 11 days late in seeding off of our original plans - so we've actually gained a good few days in the end."
So with the pitch laid and cut, what it needs now is a spot of tender loving care from the ground staff.
"Absolutely. June 17 was its first cut, that's a key point and from now it will be cut pretty much every other day between now and the first game of the season, which is Celtic on August 7.
"At certain times during the summer and just after it's been fed it will be cut every day and we will reduce the height down to the match height of 25mm before the first game."
So what are the ideal conditions for the continued successful development of the surface?
"In all honesty I just want warm, sunny weather - bright days. The irrigation we can control if it rains, but we don't really want it too hot - around about 20-22 degrees is plenty warm enough.
"Having said that and being really picky, I'd rather it be warmer rather than colder. The forecast for the foreseeable future is quite good for what we're looking for.
"So far so good, everything has gone well. As I've said before, we'll always have problems at the South End because it's not physically possible to sustain grass cover in that environment.
"It's up, looks lovely and hopefully everything will continue to go well between now and the kick-off in August."
By Richard Hubbard
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