FA’s Top Groundsman Alan Ferguson kicks-off off St Georges Park Event
A press briefing on 19/20 September held at England’s prestigious HQ - St Georges Park was illuminated by the Football Association’s top groundsman – Alan Ferguson.
No better man then than Ferguson to set the context for the two days.
He told the assembled press that one of the big challenges in football wearing his Wembley hat was ‘how do we grow a pitch in a multi-use stadium with huge commercial value?’
He ascertained that: 'Groundsman today have to have a commercial head on.’
In terms of the Wembley context they have to balance the commercial demands against the demands for the England team – and next season Tottenham who will play their Premier League games there for season 2017/18.
He revealed that so far in 2016 over 700,000 people, including 198,000 standing on what would be the pitch, have watched a variety of artists and events.
The recent Billy Joel concert was only days before Tottenham played Monaco in the Champions League and next month there is only a five day turnaround between a NFL game and England’s World Cup Qualifier with Malta.
The demands of maintaining a pitch through the growing season even with the best aids like 24 hour lighting, fans to maintain temperature control and the best turf technology make the balance with commercial requirements hard. Next season though, there will be a window to enable the pitch to be prepared for life in the Premier League and therefore fewer non-football events.
Both Charterhouse and Rigby Taylor are integral partners in the FA's success in providing top class playing surfaces - both grass and artificial surfaces and Ferguson was keen to stress the importance of having the right partners in the job that he does.