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Grass Health Watch 2021

Grass Health Watch 2021: Recently, Mike Heisig from FairWay Awards reported that, so far this year, sports turf grass health in the UK was struggling to keep pace with levels seen this time last year. The data was collated from around 50 satellite readings up and down the country.

The results from the satellite tracking using the Kleffmann Digital Biomass Index (KBDI) shows the UK as whole was 5% behind in March 2021 in terms of grass health/vitality levels compared with the same point in 2020.

Grass Health Watch 2021

Grass Health Watch 2021

Mike Heisig from FairWay Awards digs deeper into the numbers. Mike explains:

“The national figure is an average that disguises some significant regional variations. In the table below each region is based on Met Office Climate Regions and as such each has its own potential attainable health level.”

“Up to the end of March 2021 grass health and vitality was running at a deficit in most regions except Scotland. Of most concern was the South East.”

“Because we know the April 2020 KDVI health levels on the same sports grass areas, we can take these as a estimate of the potential KDVI that we could expect 12 months later at the end of April 2021.

Grass Health Watch 2021

Grass Health Watch 2021

“The next diagram gives some indication of the uplift in health and vitality that were required by the end of April 2021 to put each region of the UK back on track. “

“In the next 2021 Grass Health Watch update we will have the April results and will look forward at where we might get to in May and June which is when we normally expect to experience the highest levels of grass health in the year.”

What about the grass at your club?

You can register for free 3-month no commitment trial of satellite biomass data for your club.

Get the benefits of the Precision Sports Turf Revolution:

  • Spot grass health problems before they are visible
  • Save money on inputs where they are not required
  • Apply inputs according the needs of the grass
  • Make better environmental decisions

Regular updates on grass health through 2021 at www.fairwayawards.com or follow @FairWayAwards on twitter

Join the Sports Turf Revolution contact Mike Heisig: Mike-Heisig@btconnect.com

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Sports turf grass health struggling to keep pace

Sports turf grass health struggling to keep pace: FairWay Awards has been monitoring the health of sport turf up and down the country using a satellite-based system that reads the amount and wavelength of light being emitted from vegetation.

The ratio of different light wavelengths from vegetation gives an indication of the vigour or distress of the grass canopy: more red light is emitted when grass is under stress. Below is an example comparing a fairway in spring (left) and winter (right).

Sports turf grass health struggling to keep pace

Sports turf grass health struggling to keep pace

Having analysed satellite data from 50 golf courses across Great Britain from 2018, Mike Heisig from FairWay Awards comments on recent findings: “We have been looking at the health of grass by tracking exactly the same areas of sports turf from 2018 to today. This gives good insight into actual changes on the ground. What we have seen at the end of March 2021 is that grass health is gradually lagging further and further behind the levels that we saw at the end of March in 2020. Historic data shows that normally in March we should expect to see a major up lift in grass health as it comes out of the winter period.”

“This year however, much of that did not happen and UK grass health slipped back around 5% lower in March 2021 compared with March 2020. Much of this downturn can be attributed to the South East, which seems to be struggling more with grass health levels than any other part the country.”

“Looking ahead at this time of year we expect to see increasing grass health through March and April, leading to a peak in May. It remains to be seen how far grass will recover through the year and what the knock on effect will be for autumn grass management”

The good news is that there is plenty of time for greenkeepers to fine-tune the agronomy to help close the gap. Satellite grass health data is easily accessible and simple to use with huge benefits for turf management.

2021 may be the ideal year to join the Precision Sports Turf Revolution.

Regular updates on grass health through 2021 at www.fairwayawards.com or follow @FairwayAwards on twitter

Join the Sports Turf Revolution contact Mike Heisig: Mike-Heisig@btconnect.com

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Bonding artificial grass, come rain or shine

Bonding artificial grass, come rain or shine: With the temperamental British weather we have, attempting to bond in damp conditions is the bane of many artificial grass installers lives.  Wasted days, hours and even weeks waiting for the optimum conditions to bond the carpet are costing the industry time, money and even penalty clauses as the job gets delayed and pushed back.

One of the most common adhesive systems used for bonding artificial grass to seam tape is a two-component polyurethane adhesive.  These systems give an excellent bond and there are many products, from well known brands, which are available.

Bonding artificial grass, come rain or shine

Bonding artificial grass, come rain or shine

But there is a universal problem with these commonly available products.  They can’t cope with bonding in damp conditions.

This issue has been apparent for many years but now there is a solution to this problem – Henko R300

Henko R300 is a two-component polyurethane adhesive which has been developed by Dutch company, Henko A&T, which specifically overcomes this issue.

This unique formulation allows the adhesive to be bonded in damp conditions, so when the day is wet you can continue doing what you are best at doing – getting the job done

One new client of Ureka said “My colleague told me that Henko R300 would bond in we conditions unlike your competition.  I didn’t believe him and told him to prove it by bonding some grass which was in a puddle fully submerged.  So he did and it cured – I couldn’t believe it!”

Bonding artificial grass, come rain or shine

Bonding artificial grass, come rain or shine

Packed in either a 6.85kg or 13.7kg kit, R300 is easy to mix, easy to spread and gives an excellent strength when fully cured.

Used widely in high performance applications like football and rugby fields, R300 is rapidly becoming the preferred choice for grass bonding adhesive.  Equally, R300 performs well in domestic, leisure and other sports field applications

Henko products are available in UK through their dedicated stockist and distributor Ureka Global Ltd, who also have the full range of adhesives, tools and maintenance equipment in stock

For further details, please contact Ureka Global Ltd on 0117 971 1364, email sales@thenamethatsticks.com, or visit our website, www.thenamethatsticks.com

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It’s all about Grass Seed

It’s all about Grass Seed: Stronger germination and faster establishment are key.

DLF Seed’s ProNitro Coating Technology has been helping greenkeepers and groundsmen achieve stronger germination, faster establishment and lower input costs.

It’s all about Grass Seed

It’s all about Grass Seed

Four years on from its launch, the next generation of ProNitro is now available, featuring DLF’s new Hydroactive Water Management Technology. ProNitro’s targeted combination of controlled release nitrogen and sustainable water distribution optimises the delivery of essential nutrients and moisture to the developing seedling.

With sustainability an everincreasing priority for turf managers around the world, the ProNitro coating ensures available water is used more efficiently.

“The new ProNitro formulation has been conceived and developed as a direct action for input optimization on grasses, improving water distribution in the field. Making the best of every drop of water gives both the grass seed and the fertiliser the optimum conditions for establishment, strong root development and healthy, vigorous
growth,” explained Giovanny Lopez, Lead Seed Coat Technologist for DLF.

In trials, the coated seed contributed to a 34% increase in establishing plants and a 30% improvement in root growth. In addition, the targeted nitrogen application system reduces the leaching of unutilised fertiliser into the environment by more than 50% when compared to traditional chemical applications.

ProNitro combines sources of both fast-acting and slow release nitrogen with water management technology, encapsulated in a smooth outer coating for improved seed flow and accurate delivery. This ensures the new seed receives the full benefit of the available water and nutrition, encouraging the roots and shoots to grow rapidly – particularly important when overseeding into a competitive sward.

It is suitable for use on all types of playing surfaces and is available on a selection of popular mixtures from across the Johnsons Sports Seed range. On golf greens and football pitches, even those with low-fertility, sandy soils, ProNitro provides faster establishment, bringing surfaces back into play quicker. The improved uniformity and sward density also make it ideal for turf producers by reducing the invasion of Poa annua and broad-leaved weeds. Replacing the need for seedbed fertiliser, ProNitro saves both time and money.

Polyon range grows with Advance Grass

Polyon range grows with Advance Grass: Advance Grass, the exclusive distributor for POLYON® controlled release fertilisers are pleased to announce the addition of two new analyses for the 2020 season.

POLYON®, a globally recognised brand, has become a very popular product since its UK launch in 2016 and through customer feedback on specific nutritional requirements, the following have been added to the AGS portfolio:

Polyon range grows with Advance Grass

Polyon range grows with Advance Grass

28.0.0 + MgO + CaO

  • 4-5 month longevity
  • High N with added Calcium and Magnesium
  • 60% controlled release nitrogen
  • Excellent spring base feed
  • Fast start nitrogen portion
  • 2-3 mm prill

15.0.10 + MgO + Fe

  • 4-5 month longevity
  • Balanced N:K feed
  • Added Magnesium & Iron for colour
  • 50% controlled release nitrogen
  • 2-3 mm prill

With their trademarked green colour, POLYON® give turf professionals all the things they want from a fertility programme: consistent, predictable feeding that lasts for months with one application—all to help you grow healthy and beautiful turf. Even better is the fact that you’ll save money along the way due to its enhanced performance.

Polyon range grows with Advance Grass

Polyon range grows with Advance Grass

Green Means… Best Technology

POLYON® controlled-release fertilisers encapsulate nutrients within a patented polyurethane membrane, feeding the root zone slowly, constantly, daily, for months at a time. The key is the “Reactive Layers Coating” that releases out nutrients via diffusion. The results are astounding: beautiful turf, fewer applications, and no excessive growth, even after irrigation or rainfall.

Green Means… Efficient

Independent research shows POLYON® fertiliser maximizes nutrient-use efficiency. POLYON® fertilisers are engineered to provide 100% controlled-release nutrients with virtually no nutrient lock-off. Numerous university studies measuring leaching and volatilization verify POLYON® fertiliser minimizes nitrogen loss compared with other fertilisers.

Polyon range grows with Advance Grass

Polyon range grows with Advance Grass

POLYON® fertiliser can be applied in advance of plant demand because cool soil temperatures of early spring will slow nitrogen release. Less nitrogen is released to the soil from which it can be lost. As soils warm, plant growth and nutrient demand increase. Warmer temperatures also increase nitrogen release from POLYON® fertiliser to keep pace with plant needs.

For further information please contact your local AGS Area Manager or e mail sales@advancegrass.com

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The Grass is Greener in LaLiga

The Grass is Greener in LaLiga: From the rain of the north to the heat of the south, club greenkeepers in Spain are keeping their pitches in the same high conditions. Using LaLiga’s ‘Greenkeeper’ app, clubs are not only using the best techniques but sharing their data with other clubs.

In Spain, weather conditions can vary dramatically on a single match day, from torrential rain in northern territories to blazing heat in the south, to the tropical extremes of the Balearic or Canary Islands. These factors are beyond control but across LaLiga, the club’s greenkeepers have ensured that a football match will never be affected by adverse conditions.

The Grass is Greener in LaLiga

The Grass is Greener in LaLiga

Using a variety of maintenance techniques, while collaborating with the league’s very own greenkeeper, clubs have created world-class playing surfaces that can withstand all weathers and maintain a consistent visual style. This has become an essential part of Spanish football, both for protecting players from injury and for creating the best possible broadcast product.

LaLiga’s Regulation for Television Broadcasting ensures that every LaLiga match follows the same visual style. It covers camera positioning and graphics used by operators, but a unique element is the state of the grass. Among other requirements, clubs must ensure that the ball rolls perfectly, that the height of the grass cut is between 20 and 30 millimetres across its surface and that the pitch maintains the same shade of green.
Given Spain’s geography, the work required to meet these standards varies greatly. But no matter the club, the results are of the same quality.

“The need to maintain the pitch has changed a lot; in our case we have had to find more protective systems for the summer sun,” noted Vicente Alpuente, director of facilities and maintenance at Villarreal CF. “We are using new varieties of grass and have created new maintenance systems to make this possible.”
A similar level of effort can be seen up and down the country.

The north: Artificial light and unique pitch drainage
The temperate climate of Bilbao and the design of the San Mamés stadium make greenkeeping a distinct challenge for Athletic Club. “As sunlight is reduced in our stadium, it must be created artificially,” says Ángel Muñoyerro, head of the club’s pitch. As half of the playing field does not receive natural light, the club has installed solar lights that help the growth and maintenance of the lawn.

A further particularity of the San Mamés pitch is that it is made from hybrid grass, a popular plant for semi-closed stadiums that provides greater stability underfoot to reduce injuries to players. “A hybrid surface is essential for maintaining the same quality across the pitch and dealing with changing conditions,” added Muñoyerro.
The winters are particularly cold in northern Spain, nowhere more so than Pamplona. Therefore, thermal blankets are needed to help stimulate the grass in Osasuna’s El Sadar stadium. The renovations that are being carried out on the stadium have also restricted the entry of natural light in certain parts of the playing field, leading to the club installing artificial lights.

Another significant challenge in this region is rain, which can be consistent for many months of the year. To combat this, clubs have designed an intricate drainage system to ensure the pitch maintains acceptable levels. In the layer just below the pitch, there are around 30 centimetres of porous sand, allowing water to pass through. Beneath that is around 15 centimetres of gravel, through which the water passes and is funnelled into tubes that push the water away from the pitch.

“The current systems is nothing like it used to be,” said Osasuna’s grounds manager Juan Carlos Sanz. “Before, you’d finish working on one side of the pitch and the previous side you’d worked on would be a quagmire. Now, football can be quicker and more technical because the pitches don’t interfere with the play.”
Central Spain: Adding nutrients for harsh winters

As the highest capital city in Europe, Madrid has its own set of climate challenges including low winter temperatures, which are felt by the seven LaLiga clubs playing in the area.

Eduard Rovira, greenkeeper at Getafe CF’s Coliseum Alfonso Pérez, comments: “In winter it is difficult to maintain the pitch, because the soil temperature drops below 6 degrees. With the altitude of Madrid, the grass becomes dormant, meaning it doesn´t easily regain nutrients after being used.” It is there necessary to change plants before the cold arrives, growing a more durable grass that can survive the frost that settles over Madrid.

Just 5 kilometres from Getafe is the Butarque stadium of CD Leganés. Here, the control over the grass is exhaustive with the club taking daily measurements of soil moisture. The application of natural products, including algae, is also used to increase the natural d efences of the grass.
To maintain the colour, the club has had to find creative solutions, which include the application of nitrogen or iron. “In winter, maintaining a good colour is particularly difficult because the plant stops growing,” said Víctor Marín, communications manager at the club. “In this period add thermal blankets along with these nutrients as it reinforces the cells of the plant.”

The south: Summer heat demands fertigation and mowing
In Sevilla FC’s Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán stadium, a more common problem is high temperatures. Carlos Benegas, greenkeeper at the club, noted: “Our work involves decreasing the density of grass to avoid the growth of fungi and increase oxygen flow. This improves the absorption of water and nutrients that the plant needs to survive here.”
An important phase begins in March, when temperatures increase and the grass begins to grow quickly. “We end up mowing the pitch more than once a week,” Benegas noted. Using a vertical cutting blade, the pitch is kept flat, enabling better grip for the players and ensuring a smoother roll of the ball.

At Granada CF, the introduction of the LaLiga’s guidelines has transformed the level of care applied at the Nuevo Los Cármenes stadium. “Maintenance has changed hugely in terms of investment, protection systems and tools used,” noted Javier Rodríguez, director of operations and infrastructure at the Andalusian club.

The club has employed a method of fertigation, recommended by LaLiga, which involves the injection of nutrients to help efficient and regular growth. “Because of the climate here, we use a hybrid of ryegrass and bluegrass which can deal with extreme temperatures,” said Javier Rodrígez, director of operations and infrastructure at the Andalusian club. “In the hottest months, we minimise impact by good mowing and watering, but we keep this at regular intervals so as not to not stress the grass too much.”

The islands: Varying nutrients to manage desert winds
Over 1,300km from the Spanish mainland, the conditions on the Canary Islands are entirely different from the rest of the country but the same requirements are still being met.

“In summer, we apply a product to the pitch that allows us to lower the temperature of the grass on the ground,” said Santiago Sosa, greenkeeper at LaLiga SmartBank side Las Palmas. “But when the months of September and October arrive, due to the influence we have of the Sahara, there is a dust that settles here.”

“We have to manage the impact of this to maintain grass quality, which involves a lot of mechanical labour” he continued. “We use a range of products and vary the percentages of nutrients we apply, depending on the temperature, to maintain the intensity of colour.”

Greenkeeper, the LaLiga app that helps improve lawn quality
Through the varied and difficult task of maintaining their pitches, LaLiga clubs have one advantage in common. Through the Greenkeeper application, developed by the league, staff can track and input all relevant information about the pitch, from local weather conditions to irrigation programmes being used.
Through generating digital reports and sharing them before a match, clubs can prepare adequately for any stadium visit.

“Greenkeeper helps me see what conditions the team will play when we travel around the country,” said Sosa. “There is also a database showing the conditions that other teams are playing in. We know about the hardness of the pitch, the height of the grass, or if there has been a recent planting. All of this means we are ready to play the best match possible.”

Overseeing all of this is Pedro Fernández-Bolaños, grounds quality manager at LaLiga, who has the unique job of managing 42 pitches at once. Working alongside all LaLiga clubs, Fernández-Bolaños is the point of contact that can advise on new techniques for maintaining the pitch or capturing relevant data, improving conditions for the league.
“With the reforms we have introduced, three key objectives have been met,” he says. “The first is to improve the safety of the players. In the last five years, the number of non-contact injuries has gone down significantly. Secondly, the quality of play has improved as the ball moves much better, even if it’s raining. Thirdly, the stadiums look better aesthetically, which is all important for our match broadcasts around the world.”

For Rodríguez, this collaboration with LaLiga puts Spanish clubs at an advantage. “The techniques we are using are industry-leading and the ability to share this data means we can always make the best decisions,” he added. “It’s a unique feature of LaLiga.”

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Vandals Cause Grass Pain

Vandals Cause Grass Pain: Volunteers at an East End football club have blasted vandals who repeatedly trash its pitch for five years.

Cosmos Football Academy, in Tollcross, which trains kids as young as four-years-old, raised concerns with Glasgow City Council about the repeated problems.

Vandals Cause Grass Pains

The club says that as well as smashing glass bottles on and near the pitch, teenagers have been ripping up the grass with their quad bikes.

There are also problems with dog fouling on the area which is leased to the club and is not public ground. The swing parks at either end remain public property.

Groundkeeper Billy McNaught said: “The park is subjected to vandalism from kids on motor and quad bikes who rip up the grass.

“We don’t have a problem with them using the park – we just ask that they respect it.

“We are asking the council for signs to be put up across the park telling people to look after it.”

Club secretary Claire Lindsay also highlighted problems with gangs of youths loitering during training and intimidating coaches and players.

Most of the issues seem to come with young people who are early to mid-teens.

She said: “We want the public to know that this is a leased park – it is not a public park.

“We train kids from four to 12-years-old but most of the problems we have are with 14 to 16-year-olds.

“When you are training the kids, you can hear the youths at the other end of the park. Their actions cause a lot of damage to the grounds – it isn’t fair.”

The club is currently on an annual lease from City Property, run by Glasgow City Council, but hopes to get at least a 10-year minimum lease which would help bosses apply for grant funding to maintain the facility.

Mr McNaught added: “If we do get a 10-year lease we can get the park fenced off and shower and changing units installed provided we were successful in getting a grant.”

Councillor Thomas Kerr visited the pitch to try and help find a solution for the club.

He said: “I got in touch with the officers to see if they could arrange a visit. There had been some email correspondence, but I thought it would be better to visit and see the issues first hand.”

A spokesman for the council said: “We had a very positive meeting with Cosmos and agreed to a number of actions that we hope will help them run football on their pitch. We will be putting up signage to make it clear the pitch is for the sole use of Cosmos to make it easier for them to manage the space.

“Nearby drainage gullies will be cleaned out to help protect the pitch from the risk of flooding and we will enhancing the cleansing operation around the

park.

“Community Enforcement will increase patrols to address anti-social behaviour in the area and also we’ll undertake some other bits of general maintenance that will help improve the overall environment.

“Cosmos deserve a lot of credit for the work they have done to improve their pitch and to encourage young people to get involved in football in the Tollcross area.

“This is the kind of community-driven initiative that can really make a difference to an area and we will be supporting their efforts as much as possible.”

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Countrywide Advances With Solutions For All Grass Professionals

Countrywide Advances With Solutions For All Grass Professionals: Further to the announcement made in October regarding Countrywide Farmers restructuring and subsequent exit from the Turf & Amenity market, we can now confirm the company has transferred the whole T&A division to an alternative provider, enabling the Turf and Amenity team to continue to service customers under new ownership.

From 1st November 2017 all current Countrywide T&A business will be managed through ADVANCE GRASS SOLUTIONS Ltd (AGS) based from their new HQ in Reading, Berkshire.

Countrywide Advances With Solutions For All Grass Professionals

Sam Honeyborne, Managing Director at AGS confirmed “We are all extremely excited by the opportunity that this new business presents and confident of a seamless transition from Countrywide, as we continue our growth plan in the UK amenity sector. The T&A team has made excellent progress in the past five years and has adapted to suit the evolution of the market, with the increased customer appetite for a high level of long term agronomic support. I would like to thank Countrywide for their help and guidance during this transition and assure our loyal customers and suppliers of service continuity throughout.”

AGS will provide a UK exclusive range of high quality turf maintenance products to include Sustane, Growth Products and Polyon in addition to established brands such as DLF Seeds, Farmura, Aquatrols and Bathgates. Technical support combined with exceptional customer service will be the company’s ethos. Sam offered an example of where he believes improvements can be made “Haulage and delivery has been problematic in recent years in the industry and most of our competitors presently outsource this requirement. Initially we are committed to delivering directly to our customers in the South but ultimately coverage nationally by 2020. Sam added “This will incur extra costs but will greatly improve our customer service and that is our number one priority”

Growth Products, who sponsored an award at the IOG dinner in November recently confirmed AGS as their UK exclusive distributor for amenity turf, horticulture and speciality agriculture. GP’s CEO, Clare Reinbergen was very confident about the future saying “We are extremely impressed with the AGS business plan and look forward to supporting Sam and the company’s key objectives. AGS’s field based technical team are undoubtedly one of the most comprehensively qualified and experienced units in the UK and will continue their reputation for sound advice and product recommendation.”

Sam Honeyborne was also pleased to announce that Sustane Natural Fertiliser market share in the UK continues to grow and has prompted the recent appointment of Russell Riley as Sustane’s UK Business Development Manager effective from November 2017. “Russell will do a fantastic job and I wish him all the best for the future” said Sam. “Our exclusive contract with Sustane means we will be working very closely with Russell to further increase customer awareness, at a time where chemical use is under growing regulatory pressure.”

AGS is presently developing a high quality web site and this, in addition to the AGS 2018 Product Guide, will be available in the very near future.

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APEX Zero-turn Cuts Time As Well As Grass

APEX Zero-turn Cuts Time As Well As Grass: Designed and built with the professional in mind, Ariens Company has recently introduced the new APEX zero-turn mower to the UK.

The Ariens name has been built on a reputation for engineering excellence and the APEX zero-turn continues this tradition with its ‘built to last’ quality. Well-crafted components, Hydro-Gear® transaxles and a robust 4-point cutting deck bring you commercial performance. The APEX features an industry-leading frame design, with large formed tubular rails serving as the backbone to support the loads of the machine.

APEX Zero-turn Cuts Time As Well As Grass

The highly durable 10-gauge steel deck is 14cm (5 ½”) deep with a reinforced leading edge providing the airflow needed to tackle tough mowing conditions. It boasts fifteen cutting positions in 0.6cm (¼”) increments. These are easily selected using a foot-operated deck lift and vertical pin system. There is a Constant Belt Tension System to ensure the belt is always at the right tension to minimise wear and heat, while providing enhanced belt life with minimal adjustments necessary. The category leading large tyres provide superior traction and ride quality.

The APEX is comfortable too, featuring an adjustable high-back seat with padded arm rests helping to reduce operator fatigue. The frame on the APEX can also be fitted with a Rollover Protection System (ROPS) for added protection. Powering you through the work is a reliable premium grade Kawasaki V-Twin (726cc) engine – ideal when you have a lot of ground to cover. The APEX zero-turn is available in two models: APEX 48 with a 122cm (48”) cutter deck and the APEX 52 with a 132cm (52”) cutter deck. With its commercial grade DNA, the APEX is a highly durable zero-turn and will outlast most other machines in its class.

The Ariens brand has been family owned for over 80 years and is rapidly growing in the UK with a large network of dealers. To find your local dealer visit www.ariens-uk.com, or for more information contact Ariens Company on 0800 597 7777

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Oxford United Groundsman On A Career In Grass

Pitch perfect: Oxford United’s groundsman on a career in grass: There is a sign stuck to the whiteboard behind Paul Currier’s desk which reads ‘Every day is a holiday for a man who loves his job’.

Five minutes with the head groundsman at Oxford United is enough to know it is not a hollow statement.

Oxford United Groundsman On A Career In Grass

Currier, 58, is in the 40th year of a career which has taken him from school pitches to a host of Football League clubs – including tomorrow’s opponents Northampton Town – via a spell tending the lawns at Northamptonshire Police’s headquarters.

For someone who is quick to admit he was not the most academic at school, it has been quite a journey.

“I’ve always had this philosophy that if you get up in the morning and can’t wait to get to work then you’re enjoying your job,” Currier says, leaning back on a desk chair in his office, tucked under the East Stand.

“You’ve got to be dedicated. It can be seven days a week, it can be 12 hours a day and it’s not one of the best paid jobs in the world.

“But I’m passionate about my football and I’m passionate about my grass.”

Those who look after pitches tend to have a gruff demeanour, forever barking at people to ‘keep off the pitch’.

 But then they have plenty to worry about.

Currier, who reckons he walks 15 miles on a matchday to prepare the pitch, said: “All groundsman are the same, we’re all classed as grumpy sods.

“You have to police it because otherwise everybody will go on.

“They’ll think ‘it looks all right, I’ll go on it’, but you don’t see the damage until Christmas, so you’ve got to keep the traffic to the minimum.

“I have a checklist that I do pre-match, everything’s done, but you’ve still got that worry at the back of your mind.

“You wince when players go into the back of the net and they pull themselves up with it. It just pings everything off.

“The worst nightmare for any groundsman is to be called on while the game is going on.”

Then there are pests and diseases to lose sleep over, but his main obsession is the weather.

Pitch technology has improved markedly in the last 20 years, with the Kassam Stadium among the increasing number of surfaces in the Football League to mix the grass with artificial fibres.

Currier, brought in when the pitch was completely relaid by GreenFields in 2015, checks the forecast every four hours in the winter months.

And here, the Kassam Stadium’s open western end can be either a benefit or a hindrance.

He said: “I’m pretty confident you won’t get a game called off here for waterlogging.

“Because the pitch is so wide open to wind, it can dry twice as quickly as anywhere else.

“You can get a downpour while you’re playing and it won’t affect it, barring the odd splash.

“Temperatures drop and there’s constant shade down one side – because of the South Stand – which is two degrees colder than the other side.”

While he is a West Bromwich Albion supporter, spending so much time at a club tends to create a bond.

But United have had a stronger pull than most, as the first club where he is invited into the manager’s office after games.

He said: “I’m lucky here at Oxford because they treat me as one of the team, there’s a good rapport with the managers.”

Given the expertise built up over four decades, you might presume Currier has a perfectly-tended lawn at home in Northamptonshire.

“No, mine’s artificial,” he grins.

“When I’m at work I’m constantly thinking about grass, so when I’m at home I just like to chill out and relax and go ‘I shan’t be cutting that today’.”

Even for a man who is always on holiday, there are limits.

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