Pic Special: The Green, Green Grass Of Home

Following the final home game of last season less than three weeks ago, the Sports Direct Arena pitch was dug up, raked, flattened and a new one laid ahead of this summer's Olympic games and the 2012/13 campaign.

Earlier this month, we showed you the bare ground but the fresh green shoots of a new pitch are already beginning to show through, as our latest exclusive gallery shows.

Heavy rain earlier in the month helped with the process - and now the brilliant sunshine which is currently beaming down on Tyneside is doing the new turf no harm at all, so groundsman Andrew Tully and his hard-working team are being given a helping hand by Mother Nature.

Taking pictures of the pitch and topping up his tan was Dan King, who provides these photographs of a sun-drenched stadium for nufc.co.uk.

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