Wayne Lumbard, Head Groundsman at Wolverhampton Wanderers FC has reason to celebrate. Not only has the team been promoted to the Premier League, but in his opinion, the pitch is at the best it has ever been throughout his thirteen-year tenure at the club – with a little help from ICL.
It is safe to say that Wayne has experienced some highs and lows at the club. However, after being relegated twice, optimism at the club is now at an all-time high.
“Collectively, what everyone at the club has done has been the main ingredient behind our success,” he says. “The football has been the best I’ve ever seen here the pitch has been consistently great all season – everything on and off the pitch has just clicked.”
Wayne acknowledges that the relatively new owners have been instrumental in Wolves’ rise back to the highest heights of English football, and they have certainly signalled some substantial improvements.
Last year, a state-of-the-art Desso Grassmaster hybrid pitch was installed at the Molineux Stadium and after being hugely impressed, the owners sanctioned three more to be built at the Sir Jack Hayward Training Centre in Compton Park.
With a completely new stadium pitch to work with, Wayne chose to adhere to a granular fertilizer programme from ICL.
“It was our first season on the new pitch at the stadium so it was a case of testing the products but the programme worked so well. I am confident that we now have everything down to a tee,” he said.
“Straight from renovation and two weeks after seeding, I applied SierrablenPlus Renovator 20-20-8 as a base feed at a rate of 30 g/m² and continued to apply this all the way through the season until the final game of the season.
“After the initial base feed, it was a case of applying the spring and summer fertilizers at the correct time. We had huge success with Greenmaster Pro-Lite NK 12-0-12 which we applied at 30g/m2 before we moved into Autumn with Greenmaster Pro-Lite Double K at 30g/m2 because we needed more potassium than nitrogen at that time of year. Into winter, we decided to go with a Greenmaster Pro-Lite Invigorator 4-0-8 at 30g/m2 while still continuing with regular feeds of ProTurf 20-0-7 at 25g/m2 – which we had been applying since June.
“It is all about applying the right products at the right time and in the right place. Personally, I think what is more important than anything, is the overlap of the products so that you have that even line of consistency throughout the season.
“I’ve been using ICL products since 1983 and they give you everything you want, not just technically, but aesthetically as well. What I like is that there is something for whatever the problem, whatever the issue. Whatever you want, there is a product.
“With the pressures that groundsmen are under today with having to produce a pitch for match day, I want guarantees and that is what I get with ICL. Quite simply, they are products that I can trust and along with the backup assistance I receive from Emma Kilby (ICL Technical Area Sales Manager) is as good as the products themselves.
“I sit down with Emma at the end of each season, we look at the iTurf programme we had in place and how the pitches at the stadium and training ground performed. At this stage, if we need to make any tweaks to our programme, then we will. Based on the last twelve months, I can’t see us making too many changes – the pitches have performed fantastically well and along with the grounds team, ICL products have played their part in our success.”