Since 1919, Elland Road has been the home to Leeds United FC. Whilst only the 12th largest football stadium in England, it is the second largest outside of the Premier League. In 2014 Head Groundsman Kiel Barrett made the total switch to Johnsons Sports Seed mixtures and hasn’t been disappointed with the change.
Kiel has been Head Groundsman for 3 years and is assisted by other 5 members on the grounds team. “It’s a high pressure job compared to some of my previous roles, like Headingley, but I love it.” Always looking for new and improved products, Kiel approached Johnsons at BTME and was later put in contact with the local rep John Hughes. “John came in and discussed the options available from the Johnsons range,” said Kiel, “and this confirmed what I’d seen in the STRI booklet that J Pitch and J Premier Pitch mixtures were best suited to my requirements. J Premier Pitch had the top four cultivars all in one bag so it didn’t take much persuading.”
J Premier Pitch was sown in the stadium and the 4 pitches at Thorp Arch, the clubs training ground, whilst the J Pitch mixture was used on the Under 18’s pitch and the academy surfaces. The swap was conducted in the hope of improving surface quality and at least 10% better grass coverage and Kiel has been pleased with the results. “The surfaces are visibly improved and I’ve been particularly impressed with the rapid establishment, uniformity and density of the coverage we’ve achieved on all our pitches. It has outperformed the previous seed we used, both in terms of performance and price.” So satisfied with the outcome was he that Johnsons Sports Seed mixtures were chosen again for the 2015/16 season.
“John Hughes has been great, we speak at least once a month and he pops in regularly to check everything is okay. He really knows his stuff!” adds Kiel. “I also keep my eye on the STRI ratings and have seen that the J Premier Pitch average wear tolerance has increased from 7.9 to 8.05, so although the mixture is always the best in the book, it’s constantly improving too so I have no reason to change.”
The 2016 formulation of J Premier Pitch is now available with Johnson’s new 4G seed coat technology, ProNitro.