18 Aug 2014

Outstanding Performance at Charlton Athletic F.C.

The summer is nearly over and as we enter the latter part of the industries peak period we always take time to reflect on our business and our successes. 2014 has proved to be an extremely busy and successful summer within our synthetic service led operation.

Our UK operation at GreenFields continue to develop their business model and have this summer stepped outside the traditional synthetic market following the successful tender and award to replace the natural grass playing surface at Charlton Football Club Stadium fondly known as “The Valley” to its army of loyal supporters.

Why a new pitch?

Charlton Athletic F.C. having recently adopted new owners is a lively club with a rich history and a loyal following. The Valley once laid claim to being the largest stadium in the country and at one time was home to Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, with the club now playing in the Championship, one tier below the Premier League.

“The partnership with the contractor was perfect and the stadium looks really fantastic again. The Valley is back to being a place supporters can be proud of.”

Nathan Chapman, Head Groundsman, Charlton Athletic F.C.

Under its new ownership and management the club introduced a new strategic plan for promotion and development of its facilities including a much needed facelift of the stadium which had been left to stagnate for some years.

The investment for the new owners has been significant and whilst the playing surface is always the primary focus of players and supporters the club have upgraded most of the stadium facilities, new seating, painting the stands and supporter catering areas. The club has been a hive of activity during the closed season and the improvements are without doubt going the impress the players and loyal supporters.

Upgrading the pitch 

The clubs decision to upgrade the playing surface was prompted initially for player improvement and development but was also in view of the ambitious plans for a sincere promotion push during the 2014/15 season. Despite that fact that this project was the first natural grass contract for the Greenfields UK operation its ability to draw on the company’s global expertise in this area as well as its innovative approach proved pivotal in its overall success.

With over 4,000 tons of earthworks being undertaken the clubs promotion aspirations also required investment in a new irrigation system and the installation of undersoil heating, a pre-requisite for professional play in the English Premiership.

Artificial turf around the pitch

GreenFields UK having been appointed as the main contractor were also able to offer innovative synthetic products in the run-off and dug-out areas increasing the sustainability of the areas which historically suffer from poor grass coverage due to the footfall and intensity incurred. GreenFields MX, a woven technology product with increased vertical yarn memory and reduced infill compaction was chosen following intensive research by the club into areas which are normally troublesome for the grounds team to maintain to an acceptable standard.

Nathan Chapman, Club Head Groundsman, explains why this was done: “The areas around the dugouts always showed signs of wear fairly quickly, which didn’t look good. The same was true of the area right next to the pitch, where the players warm up and where the referee’s assistant runs up and down. We’re using artificial turf to deal with that, doing away with the bare patches and giving the playing area a permanently fresh look.”

Outstanding performance

With all the work completed in barely a month the club couldn't be happier with their new pitch!