Over the last couple days in London, I've been able to see some of the best pitches Europe has to offer. It started at the Arsenal Training Center on Tuesday and continued with the famous Wembley Stadium on Wednesday.
Wembley is the National Stadium in the UK and plays host to Championship games from all competitions, as well as being the home of the England National Football Team. It holds 90,000 people and can be recognized by the white arch sticking out of the London skyline.
Wembley Stadium with the distinctive white arch
On the pitch at Wembley.
While there, we met with head groundsman Tony Stones and delivered the Air2G2 he had ordered. While demonstrating that, we also showed a new product, called the Air Spike, which works by hand delivering air into the ground (used for around irrigation heads).
Tony and his assistant using the Air Spike probe connected to the Air2G2
On Thursday, we went to Tottenham Hotspur Training Centre and got a tour around the grounds with groundsman Paul Jones. As you can see below, there was hardly a blade of grass out of line. They were in the process of Koro'ing their pitches and Paul explained to me that they use glyphosate first to kill the grass and weaken the hold the roots have on the Desso fibers in the pitch. This makes the job easier on the Koro Field Top Maker and helps achieve a clean finish on the surface.
Tottenham Hotspur Training Facility
Glyphosate being applied to a pitch at the training centre. It will be Koro'd off in about 12 days.
Clean finish from glyphosate and Koro Field Top Maker
Our last stop on Thursday took us to Emirates Stadium, home of Arsenal FC. The stadium pitch was being used for corporate events and hadn't been taken care of in over a week, so that is why it was very worn out. It will be Koro'd out on Monday.
View from Suite level of the Emirates pitch
We got to look at the pitch, the workshop, and the under-soil heating system they use at the Emirates. Head groundsman Paul Ashcroft and his assistant Reece Watson are very proactive in looking after the pitch, always looking for new ways to do things more efficiently. They have started experimenting with zeolite in an attempt to hold more nutrients in the sandy soil beneath the pitch. They are constantly trying new ideas and techniques to improve on an already top notch pitch. Everything must be perfect at a place like this, and that has shown, as they were the co-winners of the Premier League Pitch of the Year with Manchester United.
Workshop at Arsenal
Controls for the soil heating system at Emirates Stadium.