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Wembley Stadium: From field of farce to the perfect pitch

26 May 2011 09:30:43

Wembley Stadium: From field of farce to the perfect pitch

ShareConcerned noises from UEFA regarding the Wembley pitch prompted the bold decision by the stadium's chiefs to rip up their original strategy and launch a salvage operation last summer. The re-turfing farce had to end. Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp had branded the surface 'a disgrace' after the 2010 FA Cup semi-finals and he was not alone. What was once the hallowed turf had become a joke. The way it was: yet another pitch is removed in 2009 So, after 11 pitches in three years, Wembley took the plunge and changed direction, digging up the pitch and laying a new one enhanced by Desso technology, which uses artificial fibres to support the natural grass. On June 22, 2010, bulldozers and excavators moved in and hauled out 3,000 tonnes of soil and base material, taking the opportunity to improve their irrigation system before preparing and seeding the new pitch. It was a race against the clock, with the FA Community Shield on August 8 but the new Desso Grassmaster was ready with a week to spare and was awarded five stars by independent testers Proleisure ahead of last month's FA Cup semi-finals. Proleisure were at Wembley to perform their thorough series of 18 tests on the pitch on Tuesday, where it scored higher than Manchester City's surface, which was voted as the best in the Barclays Premier League this season. Wembley's new pitch needed special care and attention after a Muse concert in September, as it no doubt will again after eight nights of Take That in June and July, but it has proved able to recover quickly and has looked in pristine condition all season. Wembley, it seems, finally has a pitch worthy of the home of football.  MARTIN KEOWN INSIGHT: Give Rio Ferdinand a roving role as Lionel Messi's minderIs Wembley up to it? The world will be watching but is our national stadium fit for Europe's kings?  Explore more:People: Harry Redknapp


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