Watford will take decisive action this week to solve their problem with the Vicarage Road pitch.
Jurgen Klopp and Mauricio Pochettino have both publicly criticised the quality of the playing surface in recent weeks and the club recognise there is a mounting issue they need to resolve. The problem, we are told, stems from the Spanish pitch maintenance firm deciding to only re-seed – rather than skim the top foot of grass and re-lay.
The upshot has been a problem with drainage, resulting in widespread bare and muddy areas. The ground staff have tried to cure the issue with artificial sunlight 24 hours a day but the effect has been limited with only several racks of lights available. It was cut immediately after the Liverpool game and the sprinklers were on before kick-off against Tottenham Hotspur. Chief executive Scott Duxbury is known to be extremely disappointed with the condition of the pitch, which does not match the impressive renovation and rebuild of the ground.
During a hectic period of transfer activity for chief executives, Duxbury will meet a pitch consultant this week to garner expert guidance on how to solve the problem in the long term. The top curator he will meet advises Arsenal whose playing surface at the Emirates stadium was deemed the joint best by the Sports Turf Research Institute last season. In the meantime, Duxbury will sanction the purchase of 20 more lights to stimulate grass growth during the winter months.
The club relaid the pitch in the summer of 2012. Specially prepared synthetic green plastic twine was buried below the surface using the Desso Grassmaster machine. The Desso material, which has synthetic grass fibres intertwined with natural turf, was implanted into strips of the pitch that are around five feet wide. It replaced the previous Desso surface which was approaching its 13th season. Desso pitches are supposed to be replaced every ten years.