How Man Utd groundsmen maintain award-winning Old Trafford pitch

How Man Utd groundsmen maintain award-winning Old Trafford pitch

“From the training ground to the stadium, we have 23 natural pitches and five synthetic pitches to look after,” said Sinclair.

“They all need to be renovated and prepared for 1 July and pre-season training, and then we have the stadium pitch itself to work on for the first match in August. It never stops. If anything, the constant challenge we have, to make sure the pitches are right, gets harder during the summer.”

THE SCIENCE BEHIND THE PITCH

This season, United’s first team have played at Old Trafford 26 times across the Premier League, two domestic cups and the UEFA Champions League, and the pitch has also been used for Champions League training sessions and three Under-23 matches. Tony provided an insight into what goes on behind-the-scenes to ensure the turf remains in good nick during these long campaigns.

“I know supporters will come on a match day and they’ll see the bright white lines and the shaded patterns and the chequerboard effect, but to make the pitch look like that takes a lot of hard work and a lot of it is a science.

“Our pitch at Old Trafford is a Desso hybrid, so there are basically 20 million pieces of stitched-like nylon material, 20cm deep, 1.5cm apart and 2cm from the surface. So this stitching makes up 3 per cent of the pitch. Samples are taken away every week, so we can check if we are low in nutrients and micro-nutrients. If we are, then we have to decide how to amend those elements. We use artificial grow lights which kid the plant into thinking that the conditions are adequate to grow.”

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