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Emirates Stadium Reconstruction and Training Centre Renovations

Jeff Lenihan


It's the off-season for Premier League soccer here, but that's when the work starts at Arsenal's soccer facilities. Much like the off-season in any sport, this is when the real hard grounds work is put in, so that the benefits will show during the season.


The latest techniques in reconstruction and renovation are used to create a clean surface for new grass growth. Machinery from my last internship with Campey Turfcare is used, including the Koro Field Top Maker, Koro Top Drain, and the Recycling Dresser.


Renovating the pitches every year is essential because it enables us to maintain the highest quality playing surfaces that the coaches and players demand. We pride ourselves on doing our own renovations, which is quite a rare thing to see over here in Europe, since most are contracted out."

- Head Groundsman Steve Braddock


While the training centre pitches are being renovated, the Emirates Stadium pitch in London is currently undergoing a massive reconstruction. The 10-year-old Desso Grassmaster pitch has been completely ripped out, as well as all of the sandy soil, down to a depth of 12 inches. A new under -soil heating system will be installed and new Desso fibers will be put in, providing stability and strength for the grass in the root zone.


Over the past couple of weeks, a constant stream of semis has been making the almost one hour journey from the stadium to the training ground to dump the once hallowed turf into a back field here to be recycled into use on another pitch.


Along with the renovations at the stadium and the training grounds, there are also renovations taking place at Arsenal's Hale End Youth Football Academy.


Paul Ashcroft is the Grounds Manager for both the Emirates Stadium and the Hale End Academy. He is overseeing the efforts to rejuvenate the pitches at both sites and give the players pristine playing surfaces throughout the year.



Koro Top Maker used to strip off the surface of the pitch



Koro Top Drain (middle) digs out 3 trenches and backfills with sand provided by the Dakota Top Dresser (left). The removed soil is offloaded into the trailer.



I got to try out the Top Drain on one of the pitches.



Emirates Stadium pitch being dug out (photo via Twitter: @DessoSports)



The (former) Emirates pitch turf sits in piles at the training centre.



New under soil heating tubes being installed



The reconstructed Emirates Stadium pitch



Renovations at the Hale End Academy



Rootzone mix deliveries at the Hale End Academy


Recommended Comments

Guest Scott Durbin


Jeff, how will you recycle the turf from The Emirates field? Can the Desso be sown back in?

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Scott, the Desso fibers will be separated and taken out. The sandy soil will be used for the reconstruction of another pitch since it is still a good root zone mix, which will save money. The Desso has taken 10 years of mowing and renovations at the stadium, so it is a bit weakened and worn out.

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Guest kwame osei


Was the pitch at the emirates too hard as many such suggestions have been made as the number one contributor to player injuries at arsenal ?

If your answer is yes what is been done right this time to change that?

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The pitch at the Emirates and all of the pitches at the training ground are constantly tested using the Clegg Impact Soil Tester. The range the staff is looking for is between 65-85. The readings that have been taken in the past years at the Emirates Stadium and on the first team pitches at the training ground have never been outside that range. Therefore, the stadium pitch is being constructed similarly to how it was last time. During the time when the injuries came about, the pitch underwent an in-house evaluation and was found to be in satisfactory condition.

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