The Groundsman

April 2012

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Page 23 of 59

24 FEATURE the Groundsman April 2012 WEM-BER-GLEE! FA Group Stadium Operations Director, Greg Gillin, and Head Groundsman Tony Stones, explained to Colin Hoskins how Wembley National Stadium has blended turf technology with groundsmanship to achieve a high-quality pitch that meets the contrasting demands of sports players and the need for business revenue The installation of a Desso surface and a clever combination of groundsmanship skills, plus a good measure of turf technology and science, has put an end to the criticism and negative headlines that Wembley suffered over the performance of its pitch. Four years after the £757 million stadium was built, and now eleven playing surfaces later, Wembley seems to have at last got it right. "We've changed our model from using 'lay and play' turf surfaces to the Desso surface and actually growing grass here," says The FA Group's Stadium Operations Director, Greg Gillin. "By necessity this has also meant making slight changes to our business model. For example, during the 2010/11 season, 149 hours of sport were played on the pitch in addition to music concerts, plus other events. We now carefully consider the events we stage and try to leave a little more time for pitch recovery in between events, W embley' s Head Gr penalty shoot-out, after which T oundsman T o ny Stones on the Desso pitch – photo taken 12 hours after the Carling Cup final; 120 minutes of foo ny and his cr ew moved in to divot and clean by r o o tary mower to r e-establish an immaculate surf tball plus a ace Photo : Colin Hoskins

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