Despite the heavy rainfall over the last two years, Tranmere Rovers have not had a game called off following the reconstruction of the pitch during the early days of the pandemic. Also, the club has recently received plenty of compliments regarding the quality of the Prenton Park pitch which, after 29 games, has retained its grass coverage despite the weather and the challenges of the lack of light in the winter months in NW England, exacerbated by the shadows from the Kop and Main Stand.
The club caught up with Head Groundsman Liam Hutchinson as he explains the reasons for the successful maintenance of the Prenton Park pitch.
"We wanted to give fans an insight into how we are using the new SGL LU 120 lighting rigs for our pitch at Prenton Park and explain the key benefits of using them.
"The lights essentially add light, heat and energy to the grass plant to facilitate its growth and repair when natural sunlight and heat are not sufficient through the winter months. They provide my ground staff with the support we need to be able to produce a high quality surface all year round. The lighting rigs and related lighting schedules are tailored to give the correct kilowatt hours required according to the algorithms that calculate we will retain at least 75% grass coverage based on the geography etc.
"The new lights cover just over 15% of the pitch every 48 hours with them placed one by one in a straight line across the pitch lengthways as shown in the photo above. The lights are then moved into the next area of the pitch and over the course of 12 days and nights the whole pitch has been covered with light. The photo was taken the week beginning December 13th leading up to our home game vs Leyton Orient"
Chairman Mark Palios added: "We took the decision to carry out the restructure of the pitch during the height of the pandemic as part of our attempts to continue progressing the Club's infrastructure despite the impact of covid19.
"Since then, we have invested £150,000 on upgraded pitch lighting to ensure that we can keep the pitch maintained to the highest standard possible. As Liam has explained above, that investment has allowed him and his team to produce one of the best playing surfaces in the EFL.
"Whilst we're enjoying our current form on the pitch, it is always important that we are continuing to improve matters off the park."