New home - Higher Usage!
The difference has been our involvement in the UEFA Cup. We have progressed through the qualifying round and currently hold a 3-2 lead over Lokeren in the first round after last week's home leg. Both home games were preceded by the customary previous night's training, although we did allow last week's opponents train for half an hour more than they are officially allocated.
Additionally, we have had a pre season game against Barcelona. In previous years our warm up games have always been away from home.
The pitch is performing well considering the use and the fact that it is so young. In fact, it is probably a blessing that so much use came so early in the season rather than in the colder months.
Regular fertilising and root development treatment has been the order of the day, using alternative applications of both granular and liquid feeds and also Amino Sorb R and F, these being supplied by Rigby Taylor. Also, as the pitch has a potash deficiency, we plan to apply 100kg of Muriate of Potash once a month to rectify this. After this week's applications, we will follow up with 12 bags of 0-0-59 to keep the pitch ticking over in what will be a three week gap before the next game in mid-October.
Now the days are getting shorter we have started to pay more attention to our friend, the shade! With the aid of the louvers in the four corners, the whole of our south end sees an hour and a half of direct sunlight from the East between 8,00am and 9.30 am, and again from the West at around 3pm for a couple of hours. With the sun getting lower all the time, this will decrease as the days go by.
Fortunately, we have the louvers. Without them the pitch would get no sun at all. It's good to know that, when designing stadiums, the architects now consider the playing surface as well as the 'bums on seats' factor. However, I recently went over to Norway with our Technical Manager, Paul Kenyon, to look at other ways of combating the problems of shade and other issues around maintaining grass cover in the shaded areas, but that is another story……….
We also have the pleasure of welcoming some new members to our staff - foxes! They have been digging the softer areas around the edge of the grass area and kindly leaving food, though nothing to our tastes though!
With this long gap before our next home match, and the possibility of another three week break after that, the signs are up. It will give the pitch a much needed rest - and all the staff too!!!