Andrew Tully

By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter

It was only laid three weeks ago, but the new pitch at the Sports Direct Arena has grown so quickly that it has already been cut for the first time.

And groundman Andrew Tully believes that the lush turf is well on its way towards being ready for the Olympic Games, which start in July, and the next Barclays Premier League campaign.

Ever since the last home game of the season just ended, has been bringing fans up to date with the progress of the pitch. We brought you photographs as the grass was removed hours after the final whistle against Manchester City, then showed you how it was already beginning to grow back.

And now Tully, who together with his dedicated band of colleagues has worked around the clock to nurture the new growth, has provided supporters with a progress report. 

"Over the last week, we've had some great weather which was spot on for us," he said. "At first we had some cold weather, which wasn't great but we had the pitch heater on in that time. Then that hot weather came and the seed was through, so all we had to do was water it.

"We've been making sure it gets plenty of water and we've already done the first two cuts - the first on Friday, the second on Monday with a feed in between which helps promote the growth.

"And the grass is getting though now. It looks sparse up from a height, but once it gets to second leaf stage and third leaf stage it starts to thicken out, and that's why we get as many cuts in as possible; to give it a spread and cover the whole pitch."

And although the weather started to take a slight turn for the worse on Tuesday, Tully and his team can cope with all eventualities.

""It's not a problem," he explained. "After the last couple of days, with the immense heat, it needed just to break. It'll have stored up all that energy now so it's actually got a chance to revive itself and grow.

"We're definitely on target. It's eight weeks to the Olympics so it's all on schedule."

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