Watford will play Newcastle United on a newly relaid pitch later this month after chief executive Scott Duxbury acted swiftly on expert advice from pitch consultants at Real Madrid and Arsenal in a bid solve their maligned surface at Vicarage Road.
Duxbury opted to personally take decisive action following the Premier League game against Manchester City as Watford were stung by public criticism from Jurgen Klopp and Mauricio Pochettino. The situation has been exacerbated by the inclement weather, and the advisors on the immaculate, manicured surfaces at the Bernabeu and the Emirates have recommended drastic action.
A deal was concluded last week with a company who have been given a mandate to tear up the existing playing area and re-lay a whole brand new surface. Work is likely to begin on Wednesday and will need to be finished in time for the Premier League game with the Magpies on Saturday, January 23. The cost of relaying a pitch can range from £300,000 to £1m.
“It was a very difficult pitch to play football on,” said Steve McClaren, the Newcastle manager, after Saturday’s game. “But we did it.”
It will be the second time in three-and-a-half years the Vicarage Road pitch has been relaid.
“With this kind if pitch it is sometimes difficult but we managed and we won,” said Adlène Guedioura. “After 90 minutes with the rain and the good tempo of the game the pitch was a bit difficult.”
Sebastian Prödl concurred.
“The weather and the pitch made it difficult,” said the Austrian defender. “It wasn’t a very nice pitch to play good football on. To keep the ball it was not simple.”