Football is traditionally played as a winter sport, the season commencing from August to May. However there will be variations, many pre-season games now take place from the middle of July. At the end of the season many clubs hold tournaments and cup finals; which carry on into June. The closed season should though allow at least an eight-week window to allow for renovation and rejuvenation.
See our Useful Information section for the minimum and maximum sizes of football pitches. Although there are some variations, most Football/ Premier league pitches average 110 x 75 yards (approx 100.5 x 68.5 metres).
Total area of a football pitch will average around 8250 square yards or 6331 square metres.
There must be an additional allowance of at least 1 metre (preferably more) of space around the perimeter of the pitch, for the allowance of corners and throw-in's.
Our monthly diary is not 'set in stone' and is purely designed as a guideline. There are variables involved that will ensure that no working template can be created, the weather, the site location, aspect, soil characteristics, finance available and usage will help to determine your own working diary. If you would like to add comments to the diary please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
However we strive for a perfect pitch that provides a consistent playing surface throughout the season. The basis for a good football pitch should be that it is level and even, free from undulation, allowing players to travel at speed with confidence and for the ball to roll without deviation.
To provide the above, the pitch needs to have a healthy sward. The sward describes the thickness and quality of the grass. One that has only desirable grasses such as Rye and is free from weeds.
The profile or soil medium should be free draining and firm. A firm pitch will provide a safe surface for the players and allow for ball bounce.
It is fair to say that February maintenance is much the same as January, so there is repetition. However the weather has turned cooler again and you may be looking at protecting worn areas from frost. Sometimes the difference between a game being on or off, is the fact that the bare goalmouths are frozen solid. A couple of small, strategically placed germination or frost protecting sheets laid prior to the cold night, could help make the referee offer a positive decision.
Aim to drag mat or brush the surface of the pitch weekly to disperse worm casts and remove dew. This operation can also be carried out using a chain harrow with the flat side downwards. If the weather and ground conditions are unsuitable for machine use, then a useful tip is to get a long length (20yds+) of thick rope (1"+) fixed between two broom handles, and with another person walk up and down the playing area removing excess moisture and worm casts.
If the weather and soil conditions allow, run the cylinder mower once weekly over the surface to lightly firm the ground-do not attempt this if the ground is too soft and muddy. Depending on weather conditions, it may be possible to tip the grass with the mower blades on.
If using a roller instead then follow the above and use in appropriate conditions. Open the ground with a deep slit or solid tine spiker after mowing or rolling. Spiking can be carried out as much as weekly but once a fortnight should be adequate.
If necessary apply approved drainage sand to wet areas. If possible fork area without causing surface disturbance to get air into the ground and help drainage. Then broadcast sand to the area and brush or work in to level.
Continue divotting after games, to put back the grass and retain levels. On large areas if physical hand divotting is not possible the use of a tractor drawn harrow (flat side down) will help to 'knock back' the divots. However if the pitches are wet, more damage will occur using machinery and multiple pitches are best left in this circumstances-or attempt as much hand divotting as is possible. Most professional Groundsmen will divot straight after the game-and, as a rule of thumb 4-5 people will put back the worst damage within an hour of starting. This is a major benefit to the pitch for two reasons, the first is that the grass has a better chance of survival and the roots get a chance to take hold again, secondly if the pitch freezes then it will be flat and free of ruts.
Where there are holes and no divots to replace in them make up a mix of sand/soil or purchase some root zone and walk the pitch filling these holes with the mix. Again professionals will add seed to this mix so when better weather arrives the seed will germinate allowing for quicker sward recovery.
Marking out may be becoming more difficult as the grass is thinning out and muddy areas are appearing. If you use a wheel transfer machine the operation of applying paint may be hindered by mud and sand getting on the wheels. Poor areas may need to be hand painted. The club could consider purchasing a spray marker or a dry line marker for putting down a line.
With plenty of rain and possibly snow, markings will disappear rapidly; so marking out may be a weekly operation. Professionals tend to put a fresh mark on for every game.
Useful tip: As Steve Patrick (Blackburn Rovers) stated recently, "the games keep coming thick and fast, the wear on the pitch gets worse, but the one thing that drives us all on at this time of the year, is that spring and re-growth are now just around the corner".