3G Sports Pitch Wins FA approval

3G sports pitch wins FA approval at Market Road

Everyone at ETC Sports Surfaces is proud of our commitment to the highest quality 3G sports pitch resurfacing, supported by fantastic customer service. But, sometimes, a project strikes an especially personal chord. Our recent football pitch construction resurfacing for Islington’s iconic Market Road was one such example, thanks to our longstanding connection with the venue through our own Client Services Manager, Bob Froud.

That’s because, since the late 1970s, Bob has been responsible for monitoring the condition of Market Road’s football pitches. It started when Bob was a Professional Officer for the Greater London Council (GLC). When he moved to the Centre for Sports Technology (CST) in 1987, he continued to regularly inspect the facility’s 3G sports pitches. And keeping these pitches in tip top condition is a must! Arsenal in the Community, the Islington Midweek League, and the Camden & Islington Youth League all regularly train there. Plus, Market Road boasts the most heavily used sports centre football pitches in the UK. As a result, its two full sized artificial football pitches and three additional five-a-side pitches take a lot of punishment!

So, when we were invited to resurface the full-sized pitches in July 2022, the pressure was on to complete the job to the highest standard – and in a tight time frame of exactly two months. Bob oversaw our team’s work from start to finish, ensuring that our sports pitch contractors applied all their skills and expertise to complete a resurfacing project that will serve the Islington community for years to come.

Breathing new life into the original football pitch construction

The main Market Road 3G sports pitches underwent a £2.1 million upgrade in 2015. But, as Bob explains, their original 1970s design made this resurfacing job more challenging than most. “People may not realise that what are now artificial football pitches started their life as hockey pitches,” he explains. “In those days, it was much more difficult to achieve good pitch drainage in wet weather. So, the original pitches were laid on what we call a “Turtleback” base. This means that the base is on a camber, with a ridge along the middle filled with hot ash felt. The idea was that rainwater passed through the carpet, then the felt, and collected in the drains at the edge of the camber. And that protected the turf from waterlogging. After all these years, Market Road’s pitches still have the original Turtleback base – and it’s still going strong! That’s testament to the robust GLC specification the original sports pitch contractors followed. But it did mean we faced some specific challenges on this particular resurfacing project.”

The process of removing the old pitch surface was an intricate one – made more challenging for our team by the strict two-month project deadline. Public health and safety – always the top priority for our team – meant that the Market Road pitches had to close to accommodate the works. But public demand for the facility means that it was crucial to deliver within that eight-week time scale. To make way for the new all weather 3G sports pitch surface, cutting away the old, worn carpet had to be handled in careful stages to ensure that the original base remained intact.

Sports pitch contractors who go the extra mile for our customers

Once we had successfully completed that task, we went ahead with laying two brand new TigerTurf Atomic Pro 50 artificial football pitches. This FIFA approved surface is amongst the most durable on the market, known for its comfort and safety as well as its ability to withstand constant heavy use.

For Bob, managing a project with such a personal connection was a fantastic experience. “After so many years inspecting Market Road’s pitches, the chance to oversee the venue’s next football pitch construction milestone was amazing,” he says. “Watching the new pitches being tested by the CST and approved for the FA 3G sports pitch register was a really memorable moment. It’s an example of why everyone at ETC Sports Surfaces is so passionate about what we do!”

Artificial football pitches installed with sustainability in mind

We are also proud of our efforts to go the extra mile for the environment. Every old pitch surface that we remove is recycled, for example into golf course bunkers. In fact, one of our contracting team, Peter, even repurposes artificial turf into beautiful hanging baskets. “Peter made a couple of lovely baskets especially for Market Road, from their own recycled turf,” Bob explains. “They’re hanging in pride of place now. That’s the kind of personal touch we love to offer our ETC Sports Surfaces customers.”

Bob is not alone in how proud he feels to be a part of this flagship pitch resurfacing project. Anthony Jarrett, General Manager for the client, GLL, recently told us: “We are absolutely delighted with the performance of our contractor, ETC Sports Surfaces, during the works and with the quality of the finished pitches. The project was challenging to complete in the timeframe available, but it was carried out with no fuss and the result is first class pitches for our customers and the community.”

From the ETC Sports Surfaces team’s perspective, we have completed the contract to FA approved standards, delivered within an exacting two-month time scale, and ensured that no old materials go to waste. The result is a state-of-the-art football facility that the Islington community can enjoy to the full. We wish Market Road and its users many years of enjoyment playing on their new 3G sports pitches.

More on artificial football pitches

Do you have a tired old pitch that needs resurfacing?

Find out all about what’s involved in football pitch construction – including how to choose the right surface, and what’s involved in maintenance and resurfacing.

Or, to get started on your project, contact ETC Sports Surfaces’ friendly, highly experienced team. We’ll be happy to give you the advice you need, and to arrange a site survey where needed.

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