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
MK Dons 4 Manchester United 0: Emmanuel Frimpong and Edin Dzeko lead the jokes as the internet reacts to humiliating defeat
Paul Scholes: Manchester City were so good against Liverpool I felt like turning the television off
Manchester United transfer news: Daley Blind will only move for 'top price', say Ajax
Arsenal vs Besiktas match report: Alexis Sanchez scores only goal as Gunners survive night of nerves to qualify for Champions League
Arsenal vs Besiktas player ratings: Alexis Sanchez? Jack Wilshere? Mesut Ozil? Who was the star man at the Emirates Stadium?
- 1 Arizona shooting: Gun instructor accidentally killed by nine-year-old girl with Uzi
- 2 Paul Scholes: Manchester City were so good against Liverpool I felt like turning the television off
- 3 Notting Hill Carnival: Woman shares selfie after being ‘punched in face for telling man to stop groping her’
- 4 Homer Simpson has taken the ALS ice bucket challenge because of course he has
- 5 Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
Exclusive: We share blame for creating 'jihad generation', says Muslim strategist
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
Scottish independence TV debate: Pumped-up Alex Salmond bounces back in bruising second round against Alistair Darling
Arizona shooting: Gun instructor accidentally killed by nine-year-old girl with Uzi
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?