Groundsman looks ahead to a busy few weeks
Christmas is always a busy period for anyone involved in football, but particularly for grounds staff.
This season we play two home games over the festive period and follow that up with two cup games in the early January.
The pitch is bound to take damage, particularly with the weather at this time of year, and Head Groundsman, Dave Saltman, admitted that his team will be working hard to preserve it.
“I sound like a manager now but it is one game at a time”, said Dave.
“This time of the year there’s no growth, so everything is about damage limitation. It’s about trying to get the grass stood back up so that it’s not going to rot in the mud.
“It’s about working after the match, when everyone’s going home, to hoover the debris up, getting the flat areas like the touchlines and the goalmouths stood back up and then leaving the grass alone as much as possible.
“There will be some nutrition and some fertilising that will go down and plenty of aeration, but with so many games coming at us we have limited windows and a lot depends on what the weather’s going to do.
“It might be that we put the frost covers down to protect the pitch and if they are down then obviously we can’t work on it, so it’s about getting the right balance.”
Dave is particularly looking forward to the West Ham game early in the New Year and he is looking forward to showing off the surface in front of the BBC cameras.
“Two and a half years ago we took over and that first season the team got through to the fifth round of the cup and we ended up with a live game against Manchester United, Saltman continued.
“It was great and there were great plaudits that night from Ex-England managers and everybody else about the pitch, and it probably helped Van Gaal keep his job at the time.
“There’s a lot of pride anyway, it doesn’t matter what game it is but it makes it a little bit more special when it’s on television.”