Desso enters the Lions Den
The Thames Estuary is normally associated with the Thames Barrier and the Port of London, but for Millwall FC and Millwall Community Scheme, it was the start of the journey down the long road to completing their indoor football academy. Within sight of the Estuary, they met with a representative of Desso DLW Sports Systems ('DDSS') to inspect their DD SoccerGrass surface.
Although convinced by the playing characteristics and durability of DD SoccerGrass, they lead the way in the UK by being the first to select DDSS' latest 3rd generation surface, DD Challenge Pro - a surface widely used throughout the rest of Europe. Loo Brackpool, Scheme Director of Millwall Community Scheme, takes up the story.
"We had investigated all the leading artificial turf suppliers and Desso was the only one that offered us the quality that we were looking for. We selected their most up-to-date product in order that we had the best possible playing surface available, but this still gave us excellent value for money in comparison to other leading manufacturers.
"The new indoor arena at the Lions Centre, next to The Den, is a state of the art facility which is unique to the South East London area. Although it will be used by Millwall FC's Academy and the 1st team on occasions, it will also be available for a large amount of community use including local teams and schools.
"Throughout the whole planning and installation process, Desso has been highly professional in their approach and has ensured that the turf is the most appropriate for our needs and achieves the high standards we require."
Whilst similar in appearance to DD SoccerGrass, the monofilament DD Challenge Pro fibre has the addition of Reflex+ technology. This gives the fibre excellent pile recovery capacity. Even after undue pressure/trampling, the fibre immediately returns to its original position. This is a huge improvement on the old fibrillating (splitting) carpets that mat down and cover the surface making the ball roll and playing characteristics inconsistent.
Millwall Community Scheme is a registered charity which aims to provide sporting, education, social and healthy lifestyle opportunities for the local community. It was started in 1985 as one of the first, national "Football in the Community" schemes, and became a flagship for innovation in professional football. In addition to their coaching and education services, the Scheme operates the Lions Centre - a leisure facility next to the New Den, and works in close partnership with Millwall FC in order to benefit residents of Lewisham and Southwark with sport-related activities.