ROYAL OPENING OF NATIONAL FOOTBALL CENTRE MARKS HARD WORK BY STAFF AND SUPPORT OF SUPPLIE
WHEN the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge formally open The FA National Football Centre at St. George’s Park in Staffordshire today (October 9th) it will mark the hard work of head groundsman Alan Ferguson and his 12 staff to get 12 pitches to a peak level of perfection.
Set in National Forest, the site covers 330 acres and includes two hotels, a sports science facility and FA offices. The 12 pitches include 10 natural and two synthetic . . . and the synthetic indoor facility is the largest in the UK.
Alan, formerly Head Groundsman of Ipswich Town FC, has masterminded the three stages of development -construction, operational and completion.
“It has been an enormous project to co-ordinate all of the grass areas as well as the utilities, floodlighting and irrigation but we have come through the construction side and are now in the operational phase,” says Alan.
St. Georges Park is unique in that it offers four different pitch profiles; a Desso GrassMaster (grass plus artificial fibres), plus four fibresand, five natural turf and two 3G synthetic surfaces.
“Since the initial renovation the pitches have not been affected particularly by the poor weather as they are well constructed and well-drained,” says Alan. “The worst areas are the surroundings which have been too wet to fully landscape.” To make the project run smoothly Alan targeted specific companies and suppliers to work with. These companies were cor reliability, back-up support and expertise.
Kate and wills arrived in style by helicopter, and met the England foot all squad before opening the stadium, they then enjoyed an historical match on the new pitch. Kate wore a beautiful grey coat from one of her favourite stores reiss.