New Tottenham Hotspur Stadium to showcase work of Lowestoft firm
PUBLISHED: 11:31 03 April 2019 | UPDATED: 17:34 03 April 2019
The new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium will host its first Premier League match tonight when the north London club host Crystal Palace, and the work of a Lowestoft firm will be on show throughout.
After two years of playing their home games under the famous arch at Wembley, Spurs will kick off life at their new ground thanks to the talents of Harrod Sport.
The company, based in Pinbush Road, have a 25-year relationship with the club, and have worked to ensure the seamless transition between football, rugby and American football matches at the ground.
John Robinson, sales manager, said: “We started this process three years ago, but we have had a good relationship with the club for years so when it came to building the new stadium they wanted us involved.
“They were aware of the unique structure of the pitch and needed our expertise.
“Quite a lot of work went into it. People do take these things for granted because they’re put up and taken down, but this time there was quite a lot of different work put in because nothing is standard about the pitch.”
Alongside design manager Mark Smith, the duo met with design engineers, the principal pitch contractor, and the head of playing surfaces in October 2017.
The result is a retractable pitch which, when used for football matches, leaves fans in the front row just five metres from the goal line, closer than any other newly developed top-flight stadium.
Mr Smith said: “The big change is the NFL games because who whole pitch moves under the stand in three parts.
“We needed to develop something strong enough to hold which would work for the pitch.”
The company also provide goals for Norwich City and have previously provided equipment for Ipswich Town.
As well as securing the contract for the 2019 Rugby World Cup, Harrod Sport, who employ 140 people at their Lowestoft base, are also hoping to ship equipment to Tokyo for the 2020 Olympics, having supplied hockey posts for London 2012 and Rio 2016.
Mr Robinson said: “We present ourselves to the world through these international events.
“When it comes to something out of the ordinary we are the first name on people’s lips because of our history delivering. We have a niche market but it is one we are proud of.”
Stadium first of its kind
The stadium is the first of its kind in the UK to have two pitches inside the same bowl.
The retractable, natural turf surface splits into three pitch-long steel trays with an invisible and imperceptible join, with the trays weighing more than 3,000 tonnes each and can be rolled under the South Stand to reveal the artificial surface in 25 minutes.
The natural turf can also remain under the stand for up to 10 days thanks to LED lighting and cooling and irrigation systems.
As well as providing goalposts for football, NFL and rugby games, the company also created bespoke PVC foam wedges to ensure warm-up goals are on a level surface.
There are also turf trays, crowd protection ball stop systems, NFL and rugby lifting devices, goalpost storage trolley, post protectors, and corner poles.
The new stadium is now the seventh biggest in the UK, and the second largest in the Premier League behind Manchester United’s Old Trafford.