Carrow Road surface gets Premier League makeover
Norwich City will be hoping to roll out a green carpet fit for the kings of the Premier League next season – as long it is not only City's pre-season plans that warm up nicely over the summer.
The Canaries are currently re-seeding their Carrow Road playing surface for the arrival of Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea and co – top European clubs that will be City's top flight counterparts next season.
Head groundsman Gary Kemp has had to be patient – two high profile concerts and weeks of bookings by amateur sides have had to come and go before the work could get under way.
But given he is a past winner of Football League's groundsman of the year award, as well as a highly commended Championship entry last year, Kemp is confident there will be a pristine surface fit for the likes of Luis Suarez, Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie – as well as Grant Holt and Wes Hoolahan, of course.
First deadline is Wednesday, August 3 – with the pre-season visit of Spanish La Liga side Real Zaragoza.
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'The season all finished on May 7, but we had three weeks of corporate football followed by two concerts and we are now in the midst of doing our end of season renovations,' said Kemp. 'Before the concerts we stripped all the grass out of the pitch and then we could not do anything for 10 days while the concerts were on. Now we have done the dressing up with about 140 tonnes of sand, spiking the living daylights out of it, brushed it all in and we should be all seeded up.'
The Carrow Road pitch is not just hallowed – it is special too. The club's Desso surface marries 20million synthetic grass strands with natural grass, which makes up the other 97 per cent of the surface. It all helps to prevent divots and keep the pitch at its best through the winter and beyond.
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All that Kemp is now hoping for is good growing weather over the next month to ensure City have a pitch that does justice to their Premier League status.
'Desso grass, which is the plastic strands, they stay in the pitch all the time – we just use a heavy scarifying machine that rips all the grass out but leaves the plastic in,' Kemp told the club's official website.
'The sand is put on to dress and get the levels back up again, and we have to work it in with a brush.
'We've got seven weeks to grow it to play on. It's tight, like it always is, but if it stays warm it shouldn't be a problem.
'We are always in the lap of the gods with the weather. Water is not a problem with our irrigation system, we just need some warmth and if we get that we'll be ready for the first pre-season friendly.'