Wednesday 11th June is not a day that everyone will remember for any particular reason, but for myself it was the last time that I cut the pitch at Maine Road before our move to the new City of Manchester Stadium. Since the first 'End Of An Era' game on the 13th May until the final one on the 12th June, the pitch will have seen a further twenty games and four training sessions for the Academy-totalling use of the pitch in this four week period to 63 hours, which is nearly as much as the pitch was used for the nine
The pitch itself has just been cut, rolled, divotted and marked out in this time, due to the high volume of games, meaning the last aerating and fertilising was done at the start ofMay. Despite this, it still looks in good shape.
Considering the high use, and the fact there seems to have been more penalty shootouts than in any world cup in history, there is very little difference in the goalmouths as only the new grass that we seeded and were emerging from mid-March seem to have been lost.
All that is left for us to do now is pack up all our things that we are taking with us and move over to the new stadium this weekend. This year has been a good one for us and many people have said it's a shame to leave the pitch behind as it has never been this good in anybody's living memory it seems.
Personally I would not like to see how the pitch would perform for another season as its an old pitch and has had no form of major reconstruction work since the mid-seventies, even then the work was confined to the diamond, not the four corners. It possibly was the only premier league pitch not to have had a full reconstruction during its lifespan. The pitch is now rife with poa annua and really that is what has helped the pitch recover well in the last few weeks from the continual use ensuring a good grass cover all the time.
One good thing about the unpredictability of the pitch, in my opinion, is that it has made us better Groundsmen. We could rarely tell how it would perform-sometimes if you showed it a hose it would flood, and at other times if it poured with rain for days, it could remain bone dry.
It is for reasons like these that make us glad to be moving to a new, gravel carpet based, fully constructed pitch .So it's goodbye Maine Road, its been fun, eventful, stressful and enjoyable, but one thing it has never been is boring!