A fair question to ask?
By Simon Gumbrill
Recently I have seen and heard of specifications written by consultants for stadium pitch renovations that will involve the clubs using far less efficient techniques than they have available to them!
The specification suggested by the consultants to work to has involved using a conventional method of scarification with all the extracted material being dropped back onto the pitch!
Contractors now have access to the Koro Fieldtopmaker, which in the past 7 years has been the key in the improvement in stadium pitch stability, wear and in keeping the dreaded Poa at bay or subdued, and also to aid in the levelling of the surfaces.This has been proven independently by the published STRI report and more importantly by the continual use by the majority of football Groundsmen.
The consultants may argue a benefit of their requested method, but the inconsistency is that they request the Koro Fieldtopmaker for the training pitches of the very same clubs. The Koro has the standard digging blades and also scarification blades available - all with impressive surface hygiene levels that has made the Poa less abundant in the pitches that have used the Koro on a regular annual basis
The questions I pose are:-
Why, if consultants know of products that can improve stadium pitches, do they not advise it? In all of these cases, neither price nor time has been a big issue.
So, is it that consultants need to keep these pitches at a point of looking good, but a fine line in times of stress?
Do these consultants avoid the proven best methods in the stadium "as too much success may see them out of a contract"?
When any pitch fails or starts to look rough in the playing season the finger is always pointed at the contractor or the Groundsmen resulting in a lot of pressure for both, but not the consultant - perhaps this should change.
If I am off the mark with this observation I apologize but, if insecure consultants are restricting the quality of playing surfaces in the UK and ultimately costing the clubs more money, these words are not out of order.