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.