Southampton FC ST Mary's Stadium Re-Turf - Kestrel Contractors

Southampton FC ST Mary’s Stadium Re-Turf

Type of installation: Stadium pitch re-turf

Location: Southampton Football Club, Southampton

Kestrel have added Southampton FC’s stadium pitch to their impressive cv of complete stadium re-turfing operations, joining the Millennium Stadium, Chelsea, Fulham, Bournemouth and Walsall FC, who have all in the last few years used Kestrel for this very purpose.


“We were concerned that the turf did not suffer from scorch being laid in the middle of summer” said Billy Martin of Kestrel. “To avoid this we liaised closely with Lindums to ensure that the turf was handled immediately as it arrived”.


A Bon Jovi concert on the 11th June and a testimonial game vs Celtic on 18th July meant that there was insufficient time to guarantee the pitch would be ready for the 2008/09 season.


Kestrel stripped the surface and incorporated 350 tonnes of sand into the existing rootzone. “The club were concerned that the profile wasn’t deep enough”, Billy Martin explained. “Due to the rootzone profile being only 225mm, there was not sufficient head to make the pitch drain freely”. The ameliorated sand deepened the profile by 30mm, which coupled with the Lokturf at 40mm thick, added 70mm extra depth to the soil profile. “Southampton didn’t have a drainage problem 90% of the time,” Martin continued, “but if there was a deluge immediately before or during a game they’d have standing water on the surface”. To further enhance the drainage, whilst laser grading, Kestrel took the opportunity to put a slight camber on the pitch.


Over 250 miles north, Lindum Turf staff had been harvesting the turf since 3.00am. “One thing we insist during the summer months, especially when we’re dealing with big rolls 1.1 metres wide, is that the turf is harvested and laid the same day”, says Lindum’s MD Stephen Fell. “Consequently, for Southampton FC, we were harvesting from 3.00am until 7.00am.” Lorries arrived at hourly intervals and once loaded, began the seven to eight hour journey south. This meant that the last lorry load to leave Yorkshire each day arrived at St. Mary’s Stadium by approx. 4.00pm, giving Kestrel ample daylight to lay the turf.
“It had all rooted down really well and you would never have known we’d had a new surface,” says Andy Gray. “I spent the testimonial game watching the roll of the ball across the surface and the bounce, I wasn’t disappointed”.

“We’d turfed Bournemouth’s pitch using Lindum’s Lokturf, and that was when Andy Gray, the Head Groundsman at St Marys (who had previously worked on Bournemouth’s pitch) realised that the fibres reinforcing the sward, stabilised the turf and resulted in noticeably less divots.”

Billy Martin
Kestrel’s Sales Director

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