Date: 22nd February 2018 at 3:17pm
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Ok so I`ll start looking at the The Fans Ask – The Club Answers. FCG 20/02/201 agenda a little more closely.

The one issue, which actually ties in nicely with what Steve Bruce was talking about the other night after the PNE draw.

The pitch.

The FCG agenda asked:

The pitch has deteriorated badly. The one thing we are used to as Villa fans is a beautiful pitch, it was always what was on the pitch that was the problem. What is the reason for this deterioration and what are the plans to address this?

And the club answered: The recent & continuous wet weather has had a significant impact on the playing surface, which is clearly visible. In an attempt to mitigate these conditions, we purchased additional pitch lighting rigs in 2017 which has helped to some degree. The Operations Team are currently working on plans for a complete pitch replacement project including, undersoil heating, irrigation and drainage systems. These plans need to be finalised and submitted for financial consideration.

The normal pitch life for these new, modern woven pitches is apparently around 10 years. Ours is 12 years old. Last year they were set to re-lay the pitch but after the club won pitch of the year, Tony Xia wasn`t convinced it would therefore need re-laying and would be good for one more season.

Turns out it did need doing.

With the extra attention they have paid since it started to noticeably cut up, it`s not been as bad as I thought it might become, however as I explained at the FCG meeting, us fans are so used to seeing award winning, beautiful, bowling green type pitches, we noticed very quickly when it did cut up.

It might be a good idea in the future for the owner to be slightly less hands on when it comes to opinions on such things!

Bruce after the PNE game game said “All of a sudden we`ve got a very difficult Villa Park pitch. I`ve never seen it the way it is at the moment.”

I have, but it was in the 70s and 80s !

And Bruce claimed that it was the pitch that has pushed him to go a bit more direct. Not totally convinced by that, are you? But hey ho, it`s obviously having an impact if he`s talking about it.

He does also praise the groundsman pointing out “The groundsman has done a remarkable job. He`s won groundsman of the year for 10 years! {Not quite, but they do have a good history of wins. Our one groundsman left for PSG a few years ago and the new set up have done equally as well. ed} The pitch is always immaculate. Unfortunately it`s difficult at the minute. It`s not how we`ve been used to it. It`s difficult and bobbly. It`s bare in places.”

So there you go. Tony Xia, a lesson learned here, when you are winning, then is when you invest. Good job at the moment we are talking about winning pitch of the year, not winning football trophies. It was a lesson Doug never learned {not pushing on after 94 and 96 league cup wins}, we hope Xia does.

The pitch will be re-laid as soon as this season is over, with the timings it could be tight for the start of the new season so we might have to request our first game to be away from home.

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