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Getting to know.. Rob Davidson

18 February 2022

Head Groundsman Rob Davidson discusses his journey to Morecambe, the current state of the pitch and summer renovation plans.

At the age of 26-years-old, Head Groundsman Rob Davidson has already gained a large amount of experience in the industry.

After studying at Myerscough College, he made the move to Manchester City and spent two years working on their state of the art training facilities, including over 17 pitches. Davidson's journey then took him to Berkshire and Reading FC, based at the Madejski Stadium for four-and-a-half years before arriving at the Mazuma Stadium, where he has spent the last seven months.

Speaking of his journey so far, he said: "Going from a little training ground, a three, four, five pitch site, to City Football Academy where there's 17, 18 grass pitches all with massive amounts of construction involved, being a part of that and learning at a young age and the transition between the move of training grounds and being part of that, I was really lucky to be involved in that which was massive, I'll take that forward for many years. 

"Massive amount of experience, but you've got to now be mature enough to bring yourself down and take that with you to Morecambe, to a smaller Club, and bring that experience here and hopefully improve things, which we certainly are at the minute. 

"The seven months has gone really fast actually, it's been a massive experience for me, [I'm] really enjoying it."

A lot of Clubs across the EFL have struggled recently with the amount of rainfall and the effect it has had on their playing surfaces, and Davidson says it's a case of keeping things ticking over before planned renovation over the summer.

He added: "[February] is one of the wettest months of the year, people usually think December and January are the wettest months, they're not, they're usually the coldest.

"Coming out of January, into February and March, all the pitches, certainly in the lower leagues, will struggle.

"They haven't got the reinforcement or the drainage that some of the high-end Championship teams or Premier League teams have, they spend five, six, £700,000 on making sure they can play lots and lots of games.

"Certainly for ourselves and a coupe of other Clubs we've seen over the last couple of weeks, they've been struggling.

"As long as you're doing the right things as a groundsman, making sure the surface is open for the water to go somewhere. 

"As long as the pitch has the right things done [to it], like aeration programmes and things like that to alleviate that surface pressure for the water to be able to get through.

"We've got a plan in place, regular feeding, regular aeration until the end of the season and then as soon as we get to the end of April, we'll be getting ready for the renovation which is booked in for the end of May. 

"We've got a proper plan in place this summer which will certainly help the pitch into next season."

Ground staff find themselves busy all year round, especially during the summer months where Davidson and his team will be working hard to make sure the pitch is pristine condition ahead of the 2022/23 campaign, and that is what the planned renovation work aims to do.

Contrary to popular belief, a pitch renovation doesn't necessary mean ripping up the surface completely, as Davidson explains.

"Fans or people at the Club say 'you're digging it up', we're not actually digging it up essentially," he continues.

"We're not going to have big JCB's in here, but there's a machine that comes in and takes off 20 or 30mm, just skims off the top layer.

"It'll just essentially refresh the surface, we'll then re-apply the sand, and you can re-apply anything between 60 and 100 tons, [which] will go back on top and then the seed will go back on top of that.

"With the correct growing in programme, which is your nutrition to get the pitch up, bios to spray liquids, just to get the plant up and growing for the start of the season, so it'll definitely be a fresher pitch next summer into next year.

"Hopefully that will eradicate some of the issues we've got out there with standing water, getting that water through as fast as we can, and again, integrating the correct aeration programme throughout next season with that new surface on the top, we should be in a good place."

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