Manchester City Football Club has invested in three new pieces of Toro turf maintenance machinery as part of a £2.5million development programme spanning its main stadium, and Carrington and Platt Lane training grounds.
The club's City of Manchester Stadium has taken delivery of a new Toro ProCore 648 aerator and electric Workman utility vehicle. Carrington, meanwhile, is benefiting from a new Reelmaster 3100-D mower, which is busy cutting the 60,000sq m site - including three newly constructed training pitches - twice or more a day.
The Blues have enjoyed an unprecedented level of investment since new owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan bought the club in a £200million deal last summer. Grounds manager Roy Rigby says that these are "very exciting times".
"I've been using Toro machines for over 18 years now," he comments. "They're very reliable and never let me down. Cheshire Turf Machinery are also great - they provide a really good service. I'm fortunate to have been given a free rein with my budget and so bought these new machines to improve the stadium pitch and Carrington ground."
Because the stadium pitch is six metres beneath ground level, Roy says it's prone to compaction from concerts staged at the venue in previous years. He and stadium head groundsman Lee Jackson bought the new 648 to alleviate these problems.
"The ProCore 648 cuts our workload in half," Roy adds. "We can now aerate the pitch in just four hours. Because it's so quick, we can go out with it mornings or evenings to, say, aerate the turf after heavy rain - we couldn't do that before as it was too time-consuming with other machines and also meant putting a heavy tractor on the surface. Compaction has already been reduced. I'm very impressed - it does the job I wanted it to do."
Photo caption: From left are Cheshire Turf Machinery's Steve Halley, Manchester City Football Club's grounds manager Roy Rigby, Toro's Peter Mansfield, groundsman Gary Conway, stadium head groundsman Lee Jackson and groundsman Craig Knight.