New Wembley turf promises safer ride for League Cup final
Thursday 24 February 2011
The Wembley pitch for Sunday's League Cup final is likely to be better than the one Michael Owen blamed for his injury in last year's final. A new pitch system was installed last summer, ahead of this May's Champions League final.
Owen scored for Manchester United in last year's final but went off three minutes before the interval with a hamstring injury. He blamed the pitch and welcomed plans to change it, saying: "Hopefully [the new pitch system] makes it better because the pitch must have had something to do with my injury. I wasn't the only injury to come out of that game."
The new Desso system replaces the traditional "lay and play" pitch, which was a 40mm layer imported from a turf nursery for each match and from which roots were reluctant to grow. With shallow roots the top layer was more likely to divot and stud penetration was harder. The new Desso system is a matrix of artificial fibres stitched across 20 million holes in the Wembley surface. These fibres are based in a bed of sand, which is much more porous than turf, and so minimises surface water. With the network of fibres, the grass is deeper rooted and, according to Wembley's Greg Gillin, is "literally impossible to take a divot out of".
Though it is made up of 3 per cent synthetic fibres, it feels natural. Gillin said: "From the point of view of stability, bounce and playing characteristics, players wouldn't [see] any difference."
Latest in Sport
Didier Drogba went absolutely mental in the Chelsea dressing room after Blues were given the Premier League trophy
Liverpool's 2005 Champions League-winning side: From Jerzy Dudek to Vladimir Smicer - where are they now?
Jack Wilshere's final-day strike wins Match of the Day's Goal of the Season award after Arsenal fans hijack vote
Jurgen Klopp favourite to replace Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool if he's sacked
Premier League 2015/16 kits: Confirmed and rumoured strips from Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and others
- 1 Cyclist who knocked down three-year-old girl says his life has been 'destroyed'
- 2 A politically correct lefty goes to see Top Gear live – you'll probably believe what happened next
- 3 Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
- 5 Snoop Dogg on why he doesn't regret displaying misogyny towards women
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland