Close-up: Scott Brooks, Head Groundsman at St George’s Park

By August 05, 2019
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ESSMA interviewed, Scott Brooks - Head Groundsman at St George’s Park - about the daily pitch operations at the Football Association's National Football Centre. Delegates of our Pitch Management Workshop on 20 and 21 August will have the opportunity to visit the facilities during a two-day tour.

 

  • Which facilities are present at the training centre?

In terms of pitches there are 10 grass pitches of varying construction: 2 Desso Grassmaster, 2 fibresand, 2 SisGrass and 4 natural sand/soil ameliorated. There are 4 synthetic surfaces on-site including a full size (68x105M) 3G pitch with green EPDM infill, a community pitch, an education pitch and a blind football specific pitch.

 

  • In terms of the grounds team and equipment, which resources do you have at your disposition?

The site is maintained by a team of 10 groundsmen and 4 estates workers. There is a gardener to look after the hotel landscaping and a casual groundsperson is employed in the growing season. Every pitch has a full irrigation system and 5 pitches benefit from undersoil heating. Most operations including spraying and fertilising are carried out in-house. Renovation support is provided by Hewitt Sportsturf up to the point of new topdressing, and then our groundsteam takes over to seed and grow new pitches. There is a wide variety of kit on site to allow the pitches to be maintained to the highest standards.

 

  • What is the main challenge your team faces on a daily basis?

The site doesn't benefit from an off-season. Football is played on-site all year round with very little rest period afforded to the pitches when in play post-renovation. The renovation season runs from mid-March to the end of August.

  

I will share with participants how we manage the disease pressures culturally on site and explain the renovation processes and why these are important to creating surfaces that perform to the highest level for the athletes using them.

 

  • Which impact have diseases on the pitches and how do you tackle them? 

With the reduction in the amount of curative fungicides on the market, it is more important than ever to ensure preventative cultural practices are employed on a daily basis. Everything from the control of organic build-up, watering schedules and stress management.

 

  • What is the role of technology with regard of the pitch?

Pitch performance parameters are becoming more and more important in regard to injury prevention. Regular testing and monitoring of the surfaces are important to help understand why the pitch performs in a particular way.

 

  • What can ESSMA delegates expect during the visit?

I will share with participants how we manage the disease pressures culturally on site and explain the renovation processes and why these are important to creating surfaces that perform to the highest level for the athletes using them.

 

Join us at St George's Park

  

 

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ESSMA offers a platform to stadium professionals where they can share, learn and discuss topics related to ESSMA’s areas of expertise: Stadium Development, Operations & Ticketing, Sustainability & SMART, Safety & Security, Fan Experience & Hospitality and Pitch Management.