AZ Alkmaar, currently third in the Dutch football Eredivisie, has purchased a Jacobsen Fairway 205 to maintain training ground pitches at the new 10-acre facility. Local Jacobsen dealer Voets Tractoren en Werktuigen BV made the delivery.
René Schouten de Jel has worked at the club for five years and is part of the team that maintains the training ground pitches. Commenting on the new facility, he said: "We have four natural grass pitches and four artificial pitches. At the stadium, we have two Desso GrassMaster pitches. Two groundsmen, including myself, are based at the training centre, and we have three staff who maintain the stadium pitches. We recently purchased the Jacobsen Fairway 205 to replace our old machine which was very old and did not meet the standards required from a topflight Dutch football team.
"This is the first Jacobsen machine the club has purchased; we asked three companies to tender, and Jacobsen came out on top. The quality of the product is outstanding, and it was certainly the best value for money. We also received a very good reference from Rob Wilderom at Zaanse Golf Club, which is just around the corner from us. He mentioned how good the quality of cut and reliability was, so we couldn't argue with that. Everything about the mower, from ease-of-maintenance to usability is perfect for us here.
"We have also received very good service from both of our dealers, Van der Pols and Voets Tractoren en Werktuigen BV. This is an important factor to consider when making any purchase; the after-sales support is just as crucial as the quality of the product. The representatives at the company have been very helpful; they always pop in to check on us and provide their knowledge and expertise when required. Overall, it has been a fantastic experience."
The AZ Alkmaar training centre is located near to Amsterdam and opened in the autumn of 2016. The club has 15 teams, and the new training facility features offices, a gym, players' rooms and a restaurant. Highly regarded manager Louis van Gaal, who managed the club from 2005 to 2009, lauded the standard of the facility: "A real environment for top sports," he said when he was asked for his opinion during the official opening. "It is inevitable that, with everything in place like a vision, people and facilities, things will only get better."
AZ Alkmaar are hoping to be contenders for the domestic and international leagues in the years to come. They are currently five points behind Ajax and 12 points behind leaders PSV Eindhoven with six games left to play this season.