Synthetic Turf Laid at St. James’ – Is this an Injury Concern?

The turf at St. James’ Park is undergoing a change – as the old pitch is being dug up and another one – with the very latest technology of fiber elastic turf replacing the old turf. This turf replacement started last Wednesday.

According to the club the new turf is softer and more pliable than the old turf – and reduces impact on the joints.

Hopefully – this will help reduce the number of injuries Newcastle will suffer next season – but we’re still not sure if this fiber elastic turf isn’t a reason for our increased injuries over the past three seasons.



St. James’ Park as Old Turf is Dug Up

We still have no idea why Newcastle have had so many injuries in the past few seasons. It does, however, seem to have coincided with the opening of the new training facility at Little Benton in 2003 – so we wonder if the turf is a reason for our increased injuries.

As we now know – Sam’s Bolton teams had very few injuries and Allardyce has vowed to get to the bottom of the injury problems at Newcastle – find out what is causing it – and fix whatever the problem is.

We all remember that Souness moved the training from Little Benton in 2005 – when he claimed there was proof that pitches there caused the injuries – and the number of hamstring injuries sky-rocketed when we first moved to Little Benton.

At the time Souness said his players had lost over 300 days of football to hamstring injuries over the last two years (2003-2005) – twice as many as the Premiership normal. We don’t think that number has decreased much since Souness left in February last year.

Premiership clubs are attempting to avoid re-laying traditional turf at stadiums, because of the expense of replacing it halfway through a season.

Instead of traditional turf – clubs have been installing synthetic playing surfaces, which bind fiber and grass together – and is much more durable.

However, it has its down side. Players, particularly those who wear boots with blades rather than studs – don’t get the same grip on the surface – and are prone to sliding rather than stopping. This causes greater stress on the hamstring muscle – and hence can explain the increase in hamstring and other injuries at Newcastle because we both play and train on a synthetic fiber turf.

Souness, pointed out that the hamstring injuries problems increased threefold when we moved to the the Little Benton training facility.


Graeme Souness

We wonder if anything has been done on this since Souness left – or indeed whether the new synthetic fiber increases the grip players can get – and so reduces the problem.

When Allardyce looks into our injury problems – we assume he will inspect the synthetic pitches and try to understand – via expert help – if indeed this is a cause of our additional injuries.

This is important – since injuries have decimated our last two or three seasons – and this must stop.

If Big Sam can fix our injury problems – he is another step closer to making us successful again.

3 comments so far

  • lee

    May 20, 2007 at 2:21 AM

    Comment #1

    synthetic or traditional grass only helps if the team proper is capable of challeging the top 4. For that to happen, in the first place we must install a manager with the right credential (like Big Sam) who can then get the right mix of players for whatever money the Chairman gives him. Then we need to play by our proper strength. Big Sam did this at Bolton by playing a defensive brand of football because that was the only way they can achieve conssistent success over 4 seasons. Newcastle can achieve success only if the style of play that we adopt matches our actual squad capability, and squad capability really depends on the manager’s nack of buying the right players. That’s why not many teams succeed… simply because they don’t have the right managers who can get them the right type of players and who can apply the right type of playing-style to their squads. Money (and expensive facilities) is only one factor and it won’t bring success if we misuse it… as had happened since Sir Bobby Robson’s days.

  • Archie Brand

    May 20, 2007 at 3:44 AM

    Comment #2

    I seem to remember that one of the first things that Souness did was move the training to a different area of the training ground to avoid the “fibre sand” area.

    I”m not fully up to speed with the properties but surely fibre sand and the latest fibre elastic turf are different things, and surely , not even our fantatstic Toon management would implement a playing surface which is suspected of causing injuries on the training ground.

    Can any of your lot explain why, when they’re relaying the turf, they don’t level out the slope?

    It cant be a drainage requirement otherwise everyone else would haveone.

    Also , I’m fairly sure we can afford it!.

  • Ed Harrison

    May 20, 2007 at 8:46 AM

    Comment #3

    Lee – no problem from me with what you say.
    I’m just fed up that we use injuries as an excuse – something tells me that will all go under Big Sam.


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