Yes, I am a Tottenham fan. No, I’m not using the poor pitch as an excuse for our exit from the FA Cup. In fact, I think I speak for the entire nation when I say that our National Stadium is absolutely flawless but the pitch is a completely different matter.
It’s had to be re-laid an incredible ten times in just three years and yet still players from all four teams that played on it this weekend suffered from a slippery surface. Michael Dawson slipped up and allowed Portsmouth to score the first goal in their semi-final Sunday afternoon while quick players such as Ashley Young constantly found themselves losing their footing following a sharp turn. How are teams supposed to play to the best of their ability on a surface like that? Clubs work hard to progress in cup games and playing at Wembley should be a privilege; not an added obstacle for getting so far.
From the stands and the TV cameras; the pitch is in no obvious need of repair but Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp revealed the issue after Sunday’s encounter with finalists Portsmouth.
“I said before the game that anyone can slip on that pitch, so you’ll have to be very careful. Yesterday I saw goalkeepers trying to kick balls but fall over, that’s how bad the pitch is – it’s rock hard and wet on top. It’s impossible to play on.”
Radio 5 Live’s Alan Green criticised the ground staff for using the sprinklers shortly before kick off during Aston Villa and Chelsea’s match on Saturday. He claimed that players had got accustomed with the footwear they were going to wear in the warm up but while they were inside the changing room; the sprinklers were put on changing the pitch completely. Aston Villa’s James Milner changed his boots during the game.
If England are serious about their 2018 World Cup bid then Wembley’s pitch is something that needs to be sorted out quickly… in the meantime we’ll just have to hope that Adidas can invent the brand new Adidas Predskaters in time for the FA Cup Final and England’s friendly with Mexico.