Bristol City to install state-of-art Desso pitch to stage football and rugby
Bristol City will install a brand new state of the art Desso GrassMaster pitch to stage football and rugby irrespective of where they end up playing in the future.
Now that it has been announced Bristol Rugby Club will move from their current home at The Memorial Stadium and, either move into a revamped Ashton Gate, or a new stadium at Ashton Vale at some date in the future, football fans will understandably worry about how the pitch will cope with both sports and an increase in games.
At the moment, Ashton Gate stages a minimum 23 first team games a season, as well as a smaller number of cup and Under-21 Development League fixtures.
The rugby club are currently guaranteed 11 home league games, plus three cup games, each season, staging home games on Fridays and Saturdays so as not to clash with landlords Bristol Rovers.
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Hosting rugby and football has done little for the playing surface at the Memorial Stadium, where games have to be postponed at some point in every season.
But City have sought to reassure concerned fans by revealing plans to lay a pitch composed of natural grass combined with artificial fibres.
The idea is that while the grass is growing, the roots intertwine with the artificial fibres and designers claim this anchors the field to create a solid, even structure with good drainage, while improving recovery time for pitches after games.
Premier League clubs Arsenal, Tottenham, Liverpool and Manchester City all use Desso pitches, while Wembley Stadium recently invested in one to combat problems with the playing surface at the home of football.
Rather more pertinently for Bristol City and their supporters, Swansea installed a Desso pitch before inviting regional Welsh rugby team The Ospreys to share the Liberty Stadium with them.
Wycombe Wanderers, Reading and Watford all host rugby union at their playing headquarters and have successfully installed Desso pitches to cope with the added wear and tear.
Should City go ahead with plans to redevelop Ashton Gate, they would replace the current playing surface at the end of next season in May 2014.
The new pitch would be moved slightly nearer to the Williams Stand and be made a little wider to allow additional run off space for rugby players.
The new pitch would be in place and ready to use by the start of the 2014/15 season.