ESSMA Members enjoyed an interesting and successful Pitch Workshop in Leicester: day 2 highlights

On day 2 of the Pitch Management Workshop in Leicester City FC’s King Power Stadium and Training Centre ESSMA members learned more about day-to-day ops and player injury management further on the program were two panel debates and a behind-the-scenes tour. 

Simon Gibson, Head Groundsman at LCFC, kicked off day 2 of the Pitch Management Workshop with his experiences in day-to-day ops and pitch management, and of course, not to forget, LCFC’s famous pitch patterns.

"John [Ledwidge] sets out the vision and standards, then myself and the team put that into practice here at King Power Stadium, while Callum [Allsop] and his staff realise this at the training ground. Like John, I take a lead-from-the-front approach in my management style."


Simon Gibson - Head Groundsman LCFC


Next up was Lee Jackson, Head Groundsman for MCFC, with his insights on Player Injury Management. In relation to the typical injuries sustained in different pitch conditions, Jackson advised that after consultation with the club’s physio and sports science departments, the following general findings for all pitches – not only those at MCFC – were deemed to be:

  • Hard pitches: tendon & joint injuries
  • Soft pitches: groin & ligament injuries
  • Wet pitches: calf & muscle injuries
  • Dry pitches: groin & ligament injuries

Jackson’s presentation was followed by a panel debate on Player Injury Management. Together with Richard Gibbs (STRI), the crucial components of turf injury management as well as the impact of pitch surroundings were discussed. Then the IOG (Institute of Groundmanship) with CEO Geoff Webb detailed the pitch standards they are trying to set with the industry and Dan Prest, Head of Member Services, discussed budget control and stakeholder communications.


The last panel debate with panelists: Andrea Fodczuk, Operations Manager Terraplas; Tony Stones, Head Groundsman Stade de France; and LCFC’s Simon Gibson and John Ledwidge was all about “Managing & Delivering Events”. To start the discussion, 2 different approaches were presented towards the crowd; the Commerzbank Arena in Germany and AVIVA Stadium in Dublin, both successfully organising and delivering events aside of football or rugby.


“The biggest challenge to delivering events is heat! With 6-7 concerts every closed season – which are a good thing, as that means money – the pressure is on to ensure the grass survives the heat. We are actually currently looking at testing fans to help with this.”


Tony Stones - Head Groundsman Stade de France

“King Power Stadium only hosts Thai boxing and other events out of season, as the pitch use is football focused. It is only on the last day of the season that we hand the venue over to the corporate department for them to utilise for events for 2 weeks, before the start of the pitch renovations.”


Simon Gibson - Head Groundsman LCFC

To close the Pitch Management Workshop, attendees were given a behind-the-scenes tour of King Power Stadium, including a presentation by New Ground Technology. They explained their patented technology, which can take a logo or a design and ‘print’ it on to the turf gently using only air! Also the SGL rigs were on display on the field.

Participants were then afforded a sneaky peek inside the garage, where all of the grounds staff’s machinery was lined up.


Highlights Day 1


The key takeaways of the Pitch Management Workshop are further explained here.

Presentations of the Pitch Management Workshop are available for all ESSMA Members. Get in touch at contact@essma.eu to receive your copies.

Questions about the content discussed during the workshops? Contact cyril@essma.eu


Join our next ESSMA Workshop, 7-8 June in London!




Posted on 30/05/2017 in: