Groundsman Terry Roberts on preparing the Abbey Business Stadium pitch for the new season.
With the sun shining brightly over Cheltenham this week, we spoke to our award winning Head Groundsman, Terry Roberts on what it takes to get the Abbey Business Pitch in top condition for the new season.
Terry and fellow Groundsman Matt Rainey have been working tirelessly during the summer months off so we asked Terry just how much planning goes into getting the playing surface ready for the big kick off.
"Getting the pitch ready for the new season is such a huge job and so we usually start planning for the summer at least two months before the end of each season," explained Terry. The whole pitch needs to be taken up and relaid, which we start working on right after the last home game has been played".
Once the pitch has been taken up and new seed has been planted, weeks of intensive fertiliser treatments follow.
"The fertiliser treatments are so important as we need the grass to start growing as quickly as possible, said Terry. I use lots of nutrients and proteins to encourage the grass and it takes a lot of maintaining to keep on top of the pitch's progress".
So just how many hours go in to keeping the new pitch maintained?
"It's a seven day a week job. I usually spend 8 1/2 to 9 hours per day working on the pitch, as well as working for half a day on Sundays.
It's hard work but needs to be done to give it the best chance of lasting the season. Having Gloucester City here is great for the club but it doesn't give the pitch much of a break between games".
Are you happy with the pitch going into the first game of the season (Birmingham City) on Saturday?
"I'm very happy however I'd be even happier with another month's worth of preparation. The weather obviously has a huge affect and after so much rain and not much sun, It's slightly behind what I would like. It's a non stop job but hopefully the weather will stay like this for the next few weeks!"