0 Reading FC groundsman on why he believes new pitches are key to on-field success

Grounds manager Adam Grantham explains the work needed to help keep pitches in pristine shape

It's one of the most talked about things among Reading FC away from the team itself.

Plenty of fans like to have their say (for better or for worse) on the pitch at Madejski Stadium.

With London Irish also playing there, it ensures the pitch is well used and always in demand throughout the season.

After the end to the 2016/17 campaign , the decision was made to pull out the old pitch and install a new one from scratch.

Grounds Manager Adam Grantham, who has worked for the club for 13 years, is in charge of the project and is also responsible for the maintenance of the pitches at Hogwood Park - where the club's training ground is located.

Here he reveals the work he and his team do to ensure Jaap Stam's side have the best possible pitches to play and practice on throughout the season.

On maintaining the pitches at Hogwood

"Hogwood is a very open site. We treat the stadium differently to Hogwood but the size of the pitches are the same.

"The goalmouths are tricky because they are very high-worn areas but the pitches in general have been fantastic.

"The lads do a very good job to try and replicate the surface at Madejski Stadium. But in a stadium environment it's a micro-climate so the dampness hangs around a lot more.

"Year to year we're always trying to do better and see what things we can improve on.

"The industry is always moving forward so we always try to do that within our means."

On working with Jaap Stam and his staff

"We had conversations with the management at the start of the season to ask for their requirements and we've tried to hit their targets every time.

"They are great communicators with my staff and we've held on to the pitches a lot better this year through their help and our commitment - it's a two-way thing.

"The manager is very happy with the pitches and I can't speak highly enough of the way in which the management have worked with us.

"We've worked really well together this year."

On the overall annual maintenance of the pitch

"The current project (construction of a completely new pitch) would happen every 10 years.

"The lifespan of a hybrid pitch [a combination of natural grass and reinforcement fibres to aid pitch growth] is around 10-12 years.

"But you need to clean out vegetation every summer so it's replenished and refreshed.

"That's a year-on-year standard renovation and would take about four to five days depending on the weather.

"It's important to get the seed right at the beginning to help keep it healthy throughout the season.

"It can be tough with the rugby and with an ageing pitch it was due renewal so we're looking for really good results with the seasons to come."

You can read the original article from getreading HERE

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