Seagulls 'Fly' Toro at clubs training ground

Rosie Duckworthin Football

PR4129 Brighton & Hove Albion FC
Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club has turned to Toro for vital mowing equipment to maintain its training pitches.

At present Steve Winterburn, the head of grounds maintenance, is running new Toro Reelmaster 3100-D and Reelmaster 5510-D ride-on models to maintain the turf at the Seagulls' training grounds.

East Sussex-based John Shaw Machinery supplied the machines.

The club officially moved to the American Express Community Stadium - or Amex for short - in May 2011, the Championship League club's capacity running to 30,750.

What many may not appreciate, however, is that the Amex is just one part of the club that Steve and his grounds team has to look after, along with the club's old ground at Withdean and management input on the two hectares of training ground pitches.

"At present we have five staff looking after both the Amex and our previous home pitch at Withdean," says Steve. "For the training grounds, we have four, our staff structure dividing so there is a supervisor at Amex and for the training pitches."

Mown with the new Toro Reelmasters to between 20 to 30mm, depending upon conditions and time of year, the training grounds are managed to the same exacting standards as the new Amex stadium.

Having good facilities is absolutely crucial to a club that aspires to ever-improving performance, but it does put a great deal of pressure on the team.

"We are looking for a clean cut in all conditions," adds Steve. "A good finish is a must, so a wet leaf or dry grass under slight stress and less turgid has to be cut equally cleanly and evenly.

In the growing season we cut daily or even twice daily to ensure the ground is just right.

Over the winter period we perhaps mow once a week to keep uniform height. The key is to balance quality of cut with fast cutting performance.

We have to work around training demands and all the other work relating to the grounds and stadium. We cannot waste time."

"We are busy and demand high performance with no compromise in the quality of the mown finish.

I cannot afford to let the team down on the training grounds and the stadium has to play well and look good too." In this respect, Steve says that so far his new Toro mowers have done all that's been asked of them.

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