Sam Allardyce and Mauricio Pochettino – in their hunt for defeat excuses – both quickly jumped on the state of the West Ham pitch.
Talking after his defeat last Saturday Allardyce said “The pitch was never this bad in the four years I was here.”
Before yesterday’s game Pochettino got his excuses in early saying before kick-off :”The conditions will be difficult because the pitch is not so good, and the way we play, maybe it can affect us more than them”
And of course he pounced on it again afterwards adding:: “For us it was difficult for the way that we want to play, and the pitch wasn’t good and didn’t help us.”
Interestingly, he totally ignored the fact that our own manager and players like Payet and Lanzini also like to play the ball on the ground!
In reality there is no hiding the fact that the Boleyn Ground pitch is suffering this season despite the best efforts of the excellent ground staff.
The Desso Grassmaster pitch was originally installed at West Ham in 2002 and is supposed to be replaced every ten years but our move to the Olympic Stadium delayed an investment of around £1m to replace it.
The Hammers groundsmen would usually have 65 days from the end of a season to re-seed and regrow the grassbut this was drastically reduced to 35 days after our qualification to the early stages of the Europa League. We played three Europa League home games in July last year which took an early toll on the pitch.
Our Cup run has added a few extra home games of Wolves and Liverpool and the Under 21 have played on it three times hosting Newcastle,Fulham, and Arsenal developments teams. We have also been told Slaven Bilic often likes to train on the Boleyn Ground pitch much more often than his predecessor.
A source close to the West Ham ground staff told ClaretandHugh “There have been 38 events on the Boleyn ground pitch so so far this season, over double compared to last season and this is seriously is taking it’s toll on the grass. We have the growing lights on the pitch every night but it is a losing battle and the damage is already done”
The pitch will undergo further extra punishment in March with a West Ham ladies game scheduled nest Tuesday on 8th March and Mark Noble’s testimonial on Easter Monday on the 28th March.
Some West Ham fans have joked that the Boleyn Ground pitch is not used to having the ball on the floor so much this season under Bilic and that is cause of it’s fatigue.