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Groundsman Baldwin has enjoyed the new stadium project

9:00 pm
Spare a thought for the groundsman, it's a different world now from the one they started in. Tottenham Hotspur Grounds Manager Darren Baldwin joined the club in 1996 when there were only three people working on his team.

He had three training pitches in Chigwell to look after and White Hart Lane, now he has over 20 pitches to tend to, naturally his staff has increased to cope with the extra work.

Baldwin is responsible for the synthetic pitch the under 18s squad play, the senior academy’s surface and anything the first-team squad use. A pitch is like a player, each has an individual dietary requirement. A player has customised nutritionally balanced milkshakes made for them, a pitch has it's own unique requirements which the science team work on. Soil and fertiliser analysis is conducted regularly for individual pitches.

He has also been an integral part of the new stadium project. He and his team have been working throughout the planning process to deliver a world-class retractable football pitch.

The Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) ha a drop-in cricket pitch but a retractable football pitch is rare. Baldwin and his team have had to find the right balance between developing an optimal grass turf surface and the NFL artificial pitch. He spoke to Turf Business.

“It’s been really exciting to be honest – I think anywhere you have new technology and get to try something new in the industry is challenging, but also very exciting for the club and the staff involved. (The design) has been probably quite a unique challenge, and one that we are looking forward to working on with great anticipation. It is a fantastic design and we look forward to implementing the building in due course.” 

Baldwin has a team working on the project and they are already piloting possible mechanics to use to retract the turf. Baldwin has to decide how to effectively deploy his staff to manage the change between the two pitches. The highest priority for the club and for Baldwin is to deliver optimal playing surfaces for both sports. There are a number of technologies that can be used and each has to be assessed before a final decision is made Turf Business tell us.

“I think technology has moved on considerably from the early retractable pitches, such as the Millennium Stadium palletized system. I’m sure that if we went back 15 years pre-lights being available, we wouldn’t be in the position to achieve the type of design we are looking to bring to life at White Hart Lane.”

How the life of a groundsman has changed over the years, they need to be a jack of all trades now.

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Groundsman Baldwin has enjoyed the new stadium project Groundsman Baldwin has enjoyed the new stadium project Reviewed by THBlogNews on 9:00 pm Rating: 5
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