Newcastle Ground-Staff Second Only To Arsenal


The Newcastle ground staff are re-laying the St. James’ Park pitch ready for the start of life back in the Premiership.

Deputy groundsman Andrew Tully

The ground-staff first of all stripped off the top layer of the turf, and then planted new seed and began the watering process immediately.

It was only a matter of days before new green shoots were showing through,  and the pitch was almost ready for its first cutting.

As well as winning the Championship by 11 points, having the largest home average attendance of 43,388 (4th highest in England) and Kevin Nolan being the Championship Player of The Season, the Newcastle club also won the Championship Pitch of the Year award, for the magnificent St. James’ Park pitch.

That award was presented to the club before Newcastle’s last home game of the season.

And for the the last two years in the Premier League,  the Newcastle ground-staff were second only to Arsenal in the Premier League Groundsman of the Year award.

So our lads are just about the best in the business of  getting a football pitch ready for the season, and they don’t get the huge credit they deserve.

Deputy groundsman Andrew Tully, who comes across as a totally dedicated individual, talked today of what it means to relay the famous Newcastle pitch:

“This time of year is extremely important for us because we start work on relaying the pitch.”“Our process starts with shaving off the top 10mm of vegetation on the old pitch, keeping the base nice and level, re-seeding and watering.”

“We put about 60 tons of new fiber elastic material on the pitch.”   “In six days the green starts to come through again and then the pitch is ready for its first cut after 10 days.”

“Ideally the weather would be warm and wet. If it’s dry, however, we have to sprinkle the entire surface with water three times a day.”

“Within about six to eight weeks you’d probably be able to play a match on there, but we’re lucky this year as we’ve got a little bit of a longer summer.”

“We take immense pride in what we do and for two years in a row now we’ve come runners-up to Arsenal in the Premier League groundsmen of the year award, so it was nice to eventually get our hands on the top prize, albeit in the Championship.”

“A lot of hard work goes into what we do, it’s a real team effort and it’s always nice to get compliments from players, managers and referees about the playing surface.”

It will be great to see just how good the St. James Park pitch is when we play our first game at home in the Premiership – some time in August.

And when you see how terrific the pitch looks, remember the hard work and dedication that has been put into it by our excellent groundsmen.

Comments welcome.



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14 comments so far

  • G

    May 26, 2010 at 1:13 PM

    Comment #1

    There really is no news at all today is there Ed? lol. Interesting peice though it is.

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  • boater

    May 26, 2010 at 1:13 PM

    Comment #2

    Macheda? the champagne charlie who couldn’t score for manure last season? You must be joking,

    Anyone watch the japan vs korea match? The south koreans are looking damned tidy,, fast, technical and never stop for 90mins. They got a golden generation of young players now and I fancy them for a decent run this summer.

    Would LOVE to see us making a bid for their star man Park Chu-Young of monaco. He’s been tracked by man utd for past 2 years – Ferguson has talked about him a lot.

    23 – regarded as the best player in asia, big strong lad 6ft .. free kick specialist, plays in behind a striker or on the wing.

    Looks like EXACTLY the player we need.

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  • boater

    May 26, 2010 at 1:15 PM

    Comment #3

    Ground staff? Cheyl Cole? ED the quality threads are coming thick n fast today eh. there’s also a sale in fenwick’s — could be worth a story?

    Anyone watch the japan vs korea match? The south koreans are looking damned tidy,, fast, technical and never stop for 90mins. They got a golden generation of young players now and I fancy them for a decent run this summer.

    Would LOVE to see us making a bid for their star man Park Chu-Young of monaco. He’s been tracked by man utd for past 2 years – Ferguson has talked about him a lot.

    23 – regarded as the best player in asia, big strong lad 6ft .. free kick specialist, plays in behind a striker or on the wing.

    Looks like EXACTLY the player we need.

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  • MacToon

    May 26, 2010 at 1:23 PM

    Comment #4

    Wembley could do with some help with their pitch tbh, groundsman have been top class at SJP for a long time now.

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  • wanyno009

    May 26, 2010 at 2:06 PM

    Comment #5

    News just in !!! Wheater from Boro will be joining Newcastle on Friday !

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  • MacToon

    May 26, 2010 at 2:11 PM

    Comment #6

    yes wanyno009, we heard 🙂

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  • wanyno009

    May 26, 2010 at 2:13 PM

    Comment #7

    Just checking 🙂

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  • MacToon

    May 26, 2010 at 2:19 PM

    Comment #8

    Can’t believe boro wanted Smith in exchange and even more bizzare, we haven’t swapped him lmao.

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  • Chris F

    May 26, 2010 at 3:10 PM

    Comment #9

    maybe a slow news day, but Ed’s right about credit where credit’s due.

    You can’t expect your team to play good football on a plowed field, so to have the second best playing surface in England is testament to the fantastic job done by our groundskeepers.

    When you consider the state our pitch used to be in after a few months use in recent years, it’s even more of an achievement.

    Does no one else remember when come March/April the corners and 6 yard boxes looked more like areas of the somme than a playing field?

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  • Chris F

    May 26, 2010 at 3:14 PM

    Comment #10

    and what’s this about wheater?

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  • AngerOfTheNorth

    May 26, 2010 at 3:22 PM

    Comment #11

    Smith’s a smashing lad… However if Boro want him as part of an exchange deal, throw him into the deal. I really don’t see him being able to hold down a place in our midfield at Premier League level. He’s not a good enough passer or tackler and isn’t overly quick or great at reading the game.

    We can then bring in a specialist defensive midfielder, probably for a lot less in terms of wages and fees.

    I doubt Smith would be willing to go though.

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  • Bucks mag

    May 26, 2010 at 3:48 PM

    Comment #12

    Fair doos our pitch is always amazing.
    If that Wheater story is true, I’m not that happy. Complete one season wonder (07/08) – has done nothing since.

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  • GeordieTartanArmy

    May 26, 2010 at 5:45 PM

    Comment #13

    Wheater defonitely should sign for toon
    Defense next season:
    RB: new signing covered by simpson
    CB: stevey taylor covered by williamson
    CB: collocini covereed by wheater
    LB: enrique covered by kadar
    ONOUHA COULD FIT IN SOMEWHERE IF RUMOURS ARE TRUE
    Tozer, Tavernier and Dummet should all get a chance in our first league cup clash

    Nolan and Smith are great but need to be offloaded as they are not good enough and will ring in around in between 6 and 10 mill altogether
    Strikers swapped in for best and lovenkrands
    ryan taylor sold

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  • baro

    May 26, 2010 at 9:27 PM

    Comment #14

    wanyno009

    Hey where did you get this David Wheater news? Would reallly like to know.

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