Molineux pitch to be upgraded for the start of the 2017/18 season.
Wolves have embarked on a substantial six-figure investment to improve the Molineux playing surface in the most extensive pitch refurbishment since 2010.
Work on the pitches at the Compton Park training ground began even before the end of last season, while the Molineux pitch is to be fully relaid as a state-of-the-art Desso GrassMaster surface.
The previous pitch has been removed down to around seven inches and a layer of sand has now been added as the contractors step up the work before handing the pitch back to the Molineux groundstaff.
Wolves head groundsman Wayne Lumbard says that the laying of this high calibre pitch will bring Molineux up to the levels of the top playing surfaces both in this country and further afield.
“Our plans were approved around March time that we would invest in the pitch at Molineux again this year, very similar to what we did in 2010,” he explains.
“We decided that we would go with a Desso GrassMaster hybrid pitch, which is slightly different to the pitch that we had before and should hopefully last us a good ten years.
“There is no better system in the world that we’re having now - all the big and successful clubs across the world have all got this pitch - it is the best one you can buy.
“The pitch that we've had in the past few years, which was a fibre-elastic pitch, is all about the plastic fibres mixing in with the profile to hold it together and to stabilise it during play.
“The one we’re having now, we’ve had to take the top six or seven inches off, replace it with pure sand and then to stabilise the sand we have three big knitting needles and the contractors use a machine to stitch 20 million plastic fibres into the pitch which the natural grass then holds together.
“All of the construction work has now started, and we’ve got a three week growing-in period until they come and sew it on the 10th July.
“They will then work 20 hours a day for 15 days which gives us a short space of time to get everything ready for the home friendly against Leicester.
“We’re delighted - with the increased investment from Fosun, we’ve benefitted by getting a new pitch and everything that comes with that.”
Wolves undertook a full reconstruction of the pitch in 2010 which saw the undersoil heating and draining replaced as well as the pitch.
On this occasion, it is just the pitch that will be replaced , and Lumbard explains that the main reason for doing the work is so that the pitch will be able to withstand even the more severe weather conditions.
He continued: “The main reason for doing the work is because you want your pitch to perform at its best in the worst of the Winter weather.
“Last Winter was very good weather-wise and we maintained a great pitch. But in some previous seasons, we had a bad winter, it rained all the time and as a result the pitch struggled to maintain its quality.
“With this new construction it is 95% sand, and so, as you can imagine, it doesn't matter how much water you throw at it, there shouldn’t be an issue.
“It stays perfectly level and there is peace of mind for us on a matchday that no matter what the weather throws at us, we should be able to cope.
“Our previous owners Sir Jack and Steve Morgan were always very supportive with the work needed to improve the pitch, and we are delighted that Fosun have now backed us with what amounts to a substantial investment but is effectively spread over ten years which is how long the pitch should last.”
Work is also continuing renovating the pitches at at the Compton training ground ahead of the return of the players later this month.