Home sweet home at Morecambe Football Club

Phil Helmn MGin Football

Morecambe FC have represented the seaside town on the football map for over one hundred years. Head Groundsman Rob Davidson has a keen eye for data gathering.

As any head groundsmen will testify, the job would be straightforward if it were simply maintaining the one stadium pitch! However, Rob Davidson and his team also tend their training ground as well as all the surrounding horticultural aspects of the facility.

"I manage a team of two full time staff, with a casual matchday team of eight," explained Rob, "Like every grounds team, we have busy schedules across the two sites. It's a challenge tending the training ground as it's situated ten minutes' drive away across town, loading our 'kit' into a van and trailer; however, we make it work."

The devil's in the detail

Rob has a keen eye for data gathering, which he uses to modify and 'home in' his operational techniques and inputs. "I gather information from everything we do," he explained, "from the data, I'm able to fine tune what we do to get the best possible outcomes." Rob is meticulous about recording rainfall, temperatures (soil and air), moisture, nutrition and irrigation usage. As a result, he has used his findings to install much needed upgrades to the pitch's drainage system. "We have a traditional system," he explained, "60mm perforated pipe is laid at five metre centres running longitudinally to a 90mm main drain line outside the ground. Back in 2017, the club invested in sand banding across those lines which, remarkably, is still clean to this day. I like to keep the moisture levels between 20%-25%, however, there were still areas of poor water percolation in the shaded areas, so recently we installed gravel bands to these areas to give far more uniformity of readings."


I know that environmental consciousness is high on most grounds teams' list, and at Morecambe they are no different. Rob is meticulous when it comes to measuring his many and varied inputs. "The irrigation system is Rain Bird, with a mixture of 18 heads, both infield and perimeter series 8005, controlled electronically with an ESP-LXD controller," he explained. "We use a R140 rye mix from Origin for overseeding and it has proved beneficial in our improvement vision." Rob continued, "I stick to two different Sierrablen Plus controlled release fertilisers which tickle in the background, I use Proturf monthly throughout the summer up until November, going onto conventional feeds every 2/3 week during winter months. I'm flexible with the use of liquids depending on the time of year, recovery rates and pre-match cosmetics! I alternate from nitrate liquids to urea, depending on the temperatures, and use irons, Cal Mag or phosphites for green up and strengthening the plant for disease protection, when needed."

Where it all began

Rob is a local born, Morecambe 'lad', currently 27 years old; as a youngster, he was a keen footballer, playing for his local club (on the fields where Morecambe FC are now currently situated!). The groundsman 'bug' came early on in life whilst volunteering locally as a pitch day groundsman, enrolling at Myerscough College in 2012, eventually qualifying with a distinction in Sportsturf Level 3 in 2014. Upon completion of his course, he joined the team at Manchester City FC as assistant groundsman and remained with the club for three years. "I learnt so much at City," explained Rob, "It was a tremendous start to my career." From there, Rob moved to Reading FC training grounds, before being promoted to first assistant to work at the Madejski Stadium. "Reading was great," he continued, "but then the opportunity to become the head groundsman at Morecambe arose. I simply couldn't turn it down, and so I joined the team here in the summer of 2021."

Apprentice Elliot Marshall, Head Groundsman Rob Davidson and Skilled groundsman Alex Rickards (Left to right).

Crystal ball

Rob is extremely happy at Morecambe and his devotion to the club and his team is commendable. Who knows what lies ahead, but for now, his eye is firmly fixed on his team's improvement vision and, of course, recording every piece of data along the way! Well done Rob, to you, the team and the club - great stuff!

Club History

Morecambe Football Club (nicknamed 'The Shrimps') was formed on the 7th of May 1920 and, in their early years, shared facilities with Morecambe Cricket Club.

Eventually, the club moved to its own dedicated grounds at Roseberry Park following the purchase of the ground by then President J.B. Christie, the stadium named in his honour. Successful decades followed for the club and eventually, in 2007, the club made the decision to leave Christie Park and move to new grounds in preparation for the 2009/10 campaign.

In summer 2010, the club took up residency at the Globe Arena (now known as The Mazuna Stadium) where they live to this day, currently playing in EFL league two, the fourth tier of the English football league system.

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