Aston Villa has invested in a new fleet of Toro equipment to ensure the pitches at its new training complex are maintained to the highest of standards.
First opened in the 1970s, the club's Bodymoor Heath training complex has undergone an £18 million transformation, which includes the creation of four new first team practice pitches, one of which is the mirror image of the club's Villa Park stadium pitch. The original training grounds are now used by the academy teams.
Although the new facilities were officially unveiled in summer 2007, Bodymoor Heath's four pitches were only established in spring 2008. Jonathan Calderwood, grounds manager of both the new complex and Villa Park, says that Toro was his first choice for maintaining the new pitches.
"The new purchases went hand-in-hand with Bodymoor Heath's re-opening as we needed new kit to look after the pitches," he explains. "We just preferred to stick with Toro. We use a mix of machinery, but the grounds team is familiar with Toro and is very happy using it. They're great quality machines."
Jonathan's new fleet includes five new Reelmaster 3100s, two ProCore 648 aerators and two heavy-duty Workman utility vehicles with sprayer and spreader attachments. A Reelmaster 2000-D triple mower that was bought for the main stadium two years ago has also been relocated to the new training complex.
"Millions have been spent on the new pitches and we have a duty to maintain them in line with that level of investment," Jonathan adds. "We know what our Toro kit is capable of and so we have the confidence we can achieve exceptional standards of maintenance thanks to these machines."
Toro commercial turf maintenance products are distributed throughout mainland UK by Lely (UK) Limited, 1 Station Road, St Neots, PE19 1QH. Call 01480 226800, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.toro.com for further details. Toro commercial products are distributed in Ireland by Lely Ireland Limited, Kilboggin, Nurney, County Kildare. Call 00 353 (0)45 526170 for further details.
Photo caption: Back from left are Villa's Jonathan Calderwood, Lely's John Pike and dealer Bob Pilsbury from Abbey Mowers, with the club's grounds team.