Arsenal pitch

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The grass has proved greener for Arsenal pitch expert Scott Tingley who has been persuaded to swap manicuring the pristine surface at the Emirates Stadium to looking after the newly relaid Vicarage Road pitch.

Chief executive Scott Duxbury made sorting out the troublesome pitch his first priority of the new year and sought the expert help of Paul Burgess, the head groundsman at the Bernabeu, to solve the problem. Burgess firstly recommended relaying the surface, a process which was done inside a fortnight with the help of two more experts from Real Madrid, and then recommended to Duxbury that Tingley should become the club’s new groundsman. Burgess worked with Tingley at Arsenal before moving to Real Madrid.

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Tingley, who is based in Ruislip, ended a six-year spell at Arsenal today and was assistant groundsman at Chelsea for nearly five-and-half years. The expertise clearly runs in the family. Steve Tingley is technical director at Championship Sports Surfacing and has more than 25 years experience in turf management, ten of which were spent overseeing the surface at Wembley Stadium.

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Scott Tingley, who was virtually handed the job on the spot by Duxbury, starts on Monday and will be helped for the first three days by the two consultants from Real Madrid as the club look to get the pitch in top condition for the Chelsea game which is live on BT Sport. Twenty additional light racks have been purchased to stimulate growth.