Welch won’t let grass grow under his feet with pitch battles ahead

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Steve Welch, the Wembley grounds manager, laughs at the mention of tips for growing the perfect lawn. It is a question he has been asked a lot over the years, since becoming head groundsman at Leicester City at the age of 20 in the early 1980s. In 1996 he moved to Nottingham Forest, where he was named groundsman of the year in 2002.

Since August 2005, however, he has been responsible for one of the most famous areas of grass in the world - the Wembley Stadium pitch - even though he has been allowed to get his hands on it properly only since the official handover to the FA in March.

"The specification was already complete before I arrived at the stadium - obviously, as it was such a big project, it needed to have been put into place well before then," he said. "Although I have been able to oversee the construction of the pitch, I haven't actually been able to action any changes and it is only in the past few weeks since handover that I have been able to do my own thing.

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