Andrew Tully

By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter

Just a few hours after torrential rain brought large areas of the North-East to a standstill, Newcastle United's pitch at the Sports Direct Arena was looking ready for action.

Roads, including the Tyne Tunnel, were closed on Thursday while people were rescued from their cars and the city's entire Metro system was shut down, with water reportedly ten inches deep in some places.

But come Friday morning, the Gallowgate surface seemed unaffected by the freak storm thanks to the club's state-of-the-art drainage system and the hard work and foresight of groundstaff.

"It was something like two month's worth of rain in two hours," groundsman Andrew Tully told "With the initial rain, there are not many drains around that would take that sort of rain so it was waterlogged.

"The water was running off the tracks and into the drains. It was like a floodplain, it was running off in every direction.

"If there'd been a match on, it would have been a similar situation to pre-season last summer when the Fiorentina match got abandoned. There's not a pitch in the world that would have taken it - and in terms of visibility, you couldn't even see across the stadium as the rain came down.

"But once the rain stopped and the drainage system kicked and took all the water away, it was spot on and this morning - miraculously - we came in at 8am, got on and cut it.

"Fortunately, we'd planned for the weather. The weather hasn't been great all month, has it? So we'd done spiking, which means putting holes in it so that there are plenty of drainage holes to get down to that drainage which is a metre under the sand.

"So everything's draining in a nice uniform pattern and spiking helped, because with us being on a hill the water runs to the bottom end. That's normally a no-go area for a couple of days after a downpour like that, but this morning it was fine and that's all down to prepping for it and having it spiked.

"Right now, it's playable. Had there been a match at 8am it would have been on!"