NEW TRAINING SURFACE SAVES STADIUM
F.A. Cup finalists Southampton have avoided major renovation work at St. Mary's by resurfacing their training ground.
Grounds manager David Roberts, who has been with the club for the last eight years, says that although the training pitch was re-turfed last summer, by October there were problems.
"The surface had become dangerous, and most training was referred to the stadium pitch," he says. "The squads have been getting bigger since I started. They were 15, and are now 30 players, and by mid season the stadium pitch was suffering. The question was whether to re-surface the stadium pitch, or the training ground. I thought that relieved of the wear and tear of training, and with good management, the stadium pitch could be brought back."
Having made the decision to re-surface the training ground rather than the main pitch, and awarded the contract to Kestrel Golf and Sports Ltd of Hook in Hampshire, David Roberts travelled to York to inspect Lindum's L.T.6. Sporturf. This is the company's thick turf, grown on an imported root zone with a high sand content and good drainage properties.
"I was looking at the seed blend, the maturity of the turf and the root zone. The new surface had to be capable of withstanding training by our first team, five to six days a week, and occasional use by the reserves. We also needed a root zone compatible with our own," he explains.
Having passed David Roberts' scrutiny, Lindum's L.T.6. went down during the last week of March. Kestrel Golf stripped the old surface, prepared the new, and completed laying the turf in five days.
"We kept the team off for a further four days, but since then it's been used non stop," continues Roberts. "Despite a few problems with drainage, (which we've always had) the new surface has stood up very well. The turf looked brilliant at the end of season, despite the continued wear."
David Roberts and his team implemented a programme of sand banding on the training ground before fitness training began on the eighth of July. Renovations on the stadium pitch must be completed for the first pre-season friendly on August the ninth.
"The fact that we played in the Cup Final meant that the pitch was used for an extra week last season," says Roberts. "It's cut our off season maintenance time to six (eight?) weeks."
For further information on Lindum's thick Sporturf, contact the company on Tel: 01904 448675 or visit their website at www.turf.co.uk