INPHO/Lorraine O'Sullivan Works on the surface at Croke Park last year.
# Pitch perfect
Manchester United splash out on new pitch... like the one at Croker
Fergie wants the club to spend £500,000 on a surface from Desso, the company that provided the one at GAA HQ.

MANCHESTER UNITED WILL spend £500,000  in the off-season to re-lay their worn-out Old Trafford pitch.

Manager Alex Ferguson has requested new grass after the current turf became sunken and boggy during the course of the season, particularly over the Christmas period.

United have already spent around half a million pounds in recent years trying to keep their existing pitch in good shape, including patchwork repairs over the last few months. A hybrid pitch – made up of synthetics and grass – will be installed by Dutch company Desso the day after United’s final home match of the campaign against Swansea on May 12 and will take two-and-a-half months to bed in.

Desso are a market leader and have provided the current pitch at Croke Park as well as Wembley and those at Arsenal, Manchester City, Liverpool and Tottenham.

The high stands at Old Trafford prevent a large amount of sun access and groundsman Tony Sinclair has been using sun lamps on the pitch at every opportunity.

But Ferguson recently criticised the quality of the surface, saying it was too heavy for midfielder Darren Fletcher to play on as he battles back to fitness after a chronic bowel condition.

“The pitches over the last few weeks have not suited Darren,” Ferguson said in January. “They are really heavy pitches. Unfortunately, Old Trafford seems to have collapsed in the last two weeks.

“We have had six great years out of the pitch. Our groundsman Tony Sinclair has done a fantastic job. But it is looking tired now and I think we will have a new pitch in the summer.”

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