Old Trafford The Refit
You may have read elsewhere that we are once again re-turfing Old Trafford .
I was very disappointed that we are having to do it once again but the reasons for it were sound and in the end made common sense.
It has been proven that you cannot sustain a good grass surface inside my stadium due to the environmental conditions. There is simply not enough light to sustain healthy grass. That plus the amount of football played in the non-growing season made it inevitable that at some stage this year we would have to turf.
In my report that I had commissioned it did state that the playing surface may need replacing once , maybe twice a playing season.
It was always on the cards that we would need to do it this season. I managed to get through last season but we knew this one would be a more difficult one.
We had included a re-turf in my budget so it come as no surprise to anyone inside the club when the decision was made. We all felt that the turf was now TWO years old and past its best and it was getting harder to maintain a good playing surface.
With the European cup starting again this month it was just a question of timing as to doing it.
I had visited all the major turf suppliers last September so I knew where the best turf was to be had. I am confident that this refit will be just as good as the last one. We used that pitch on 96 occasions. Not all of them first team games but a lot of European training nights, reserve and youth games . So to be honest we had done really well on a 40mm turf laid in January 2000.
This is becoming a job that is being repeated at a lot of stadiums not only here in Britain but in Europe as well. When you get a stadium that holds upwards of 50,000 the pitch seems to be the first thing to suffer. But I am not down hearted, when I left school 32 years ago the problem then was mud,
We over come that with the use of certain size sand in specific order up and down our rootzone. That cured the drainage but then we had the problem of stability. So next someone invented man made fibre's to assist in giving us stability.
Now the problem is shade and lack of air movement caused by high-sided stadiums.
Now this problem is only about 10 years old. After the Taylor report in 1989 we all had to convert out stadiums to all seater stadiums.
That is when this problem really began. In Italy it was after the 1990 World Cup finals when their grass pitches start to struggle. So it is all dated to about the same time.
Yes, we all know that south stands on a lot of grounds have caused problems for donkeys years, but with the all seater grounds came the greater problems of lack of natural light and poor air circulation.
I will write again later in the week to keep you up to date with what we have done and how we have done it.
In the meantime if you do hear anyone giving me and the club stick please remind them that nothing grows in the dark…………not yet anyway!