Over the last few months, Lincoln City groundsmen have been working alongside Fineturf, an industry leader in sports turf, to construct and renovate the pitches at LNER Stadium and Soper of Lincoln Elite Performance Centre.
Fineturf is a leading sports turf contractor specialising in the design, construction, installation and maintenance of natural and artificial pitch surfaces, established in Grantham by Managing Director, Simon Hutton when he was 17.
“Initially we started doing jobs for clubs locally such as Lincoln City but as we began to grow, we attracted some massive clients, such as Manchester United, Lords Cricket Ground and the major racecourses,” said Simon. “We are proud to have worked with a number of Premier League Football Clubs, such as Spurs and Leicester, and have built 17 tennis courts for Wimbledon.”
At the Soper of Lincoln Elite Performance Centre, Pitches 1 and 2 and their surrounding warm-up areas have undergone significant renovations whilst Pitch 3 is in the process of a complete reconstruction. This third pitch will provide a crucial extra training surface through the winter months when continual daily usage takes its toll on the turf.
Pitch reconstruction is a fine art, explains Simon. “Firstly, drains are put into the formation of the soil. You have a 100mm gravel carpet and 275mm of sports sand which is how any pitch in the country is constructed.”
“On top of that, there’s 25mm of fibre sand, which is ameliorated and gives you a real surface. This pitch with the right maintenance will last up to 20 years.”
Speaking about Pitch 3, Simon said, “We’re really pleased with the progress made since I was last at the training ground. The changes are unbelievable.”
Simon regularly visits the LNER Stadium and Soper of Lincoln Elite Performance Centre as well as keeping in regular contact with Head Groundsman, Paul Ash and Head of Football, Jez George. “Paul Ash is doing a really good job. I keep in touch with on a daily basis to see how things are going and provide him with any help and advice that he needs”, said Simon.
Meanwhile, the pitch at the LNER Stadium has also undergone a renovation. Speaking about this, Simon said, “When Jez and I first looked at the pitch, we needed to address a number of issues. The levels were a serious issue, the stability of the surface and the irrigation invariant of water.”
“We removed the surface to existing Lincoln City soil and then thoroughly ameliorated and laser graded the pitch. By doing this we then achieved a true, level surface.”
“The next process was to grade and regrade over 200 tonnes of sand which will help with the surface drainage. The surface was then finally seeded.”
Simon went on to explain the special relationship between Fineturf and Lincoln City FC. “Since Jez first introduced me to Clive and Liam, it was clear their long-term vision matched ours at Fineturf, and it’s fantastic to be working with our local football club once again.”
“We’re really pleased with the work we have done so far and look forward to developing a really positive long-term relationship with the club.”
Lincoln City FC is confident that when football returns to LNER Stadium, fans will be able to recognise the improvement in the pitch for themselves. Jez George will give his thoughts on how the renovations will positively impact the players and Michael Appleton’s style of football tomorrow.