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How Everton FC led the way again when freezing temperatures threatened fixtures in 1958
Published : 08 Dec 2010 00:00:00
Everton's under-soil heating being installed PLUNGING temperatures across the nation have already claimed one Premier League fixture, but Goodison Park is safe from the frost thanks to a spot of forward thinking more than 50 years ago. Always renowned for being a forward thinking club, Goodison was one of the world's first purpose built football grounds, the Toffees became the first club in England to install under-soil heating in 1958. Back then the freezing conditions gripping Merseyside would have led to most football matches being postponed. The ground would have been too hard and too dangerous to play on, and fans would have been left frustrated as the weather took its toll on their favourite pastime. However, Everton changed the winter fixture schedule forever by installing under-soil heating, and these photographs from the fascinating Everton Collection show how the process gradually took place. The first attempt was in May 1958, but that initial system of electric heating wires proved to be a problem, as the drains could not cope with the excess water on the pitch and the official club minute books state: '...the pitch was in a very bad state owing to excessive water staying on the surface, and not draining through, leaving large patches of slush...' It was clearly going to represent a problem to this new, and costly technology as time went on, so in December 1959 an Emergency Meeting was held in response to the poor condition of the pitch.