According to noted midlands football journalist Phil Hay in The Athletic, Tottenham have reached an agreement to sell an entire pitch’s worth of pristine turf to Leeds this month for £300k, to replace the currently existing grass at Elland Road.
Done and dusted, m8. Here we grow!
Apparently, because they are smartly run, Tottenham was in the process of growing the turf as an eventual replacement for the one currently in place at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, but that pitch is still in great shape and doesn’t need to be replaced. However, you can’t say the same for Elland Road’s playing surface, which is a hot mess. Leeds never managed to replace the surface this summer due to COVID-19, and it’s now in dire straits.
To put it another way, Leeds is seriously jonesing for some grass and Tottenham is apparently their dealer.
For Spurs, this makes a lot of sense. Sure, the club is giving up its own replacement pitch, but it has the infrastructure to just grow a new one before the old pitch goes to seed. The club also pretty desperately needs money, since Spurs are one of the Premier League clubs most affected by the lack of matchday income due to the coronavirus restrictions and matches played behind closed doors. Leeds gets a better surface, Spurs get an influx of cash. It’s win-win!
Hay goes on to state that Leeds’ pitch transplant is a stop-gap measure for a pitch that needs some serious work done, but that larger infrastructure work will be done later on this summer.
Leeds planned to pay for a new pitch and contract out the work at the end of last season but COVID-19 interfered and cut the summer short, leaving too little time for the job to be finished. The work they are doing at present involves replacing the surface alone but when this season finishes, specialists will dig out and replace the drainage system, the undersoil heating and all the different layers of soil, sand and gravel. It is 25 years since Elland Road underwent a full installation and the structure is suffering, as chief executive Angus Kinnear said in his programme notes last Saturday, from an “ancient drainage system” and “decades of under-investment”.
Put another way, a young Spurs homegrown product has been sold to Leeds in a one year deal. Let’s hope that young Pitch can undergo some serious growth and doesn’t end up getting ground under heel by Marcelo Bielsa’s high-pressure tactics.