We told you about Chelsea's plan to donate the Stamford Bridge pitch to Aldershot Town in yet another effort to assist the formerly-endangered club. Aldershot were more-or-less saved last season by the agreement to have the Baby Blues play some of their matches at their stadium, and will now be playing on a much-better pitch going forward. While the pitch replacement work is going on, Chelsea have seen fit to perform some neat technical upgrades at the same time.
While "The Shots" will be playing on the former Stamford Bridge pitch, they won't, as many have assumed, have the use of the actual grass, which has been discarded and will be replaced at the Recreation Ground. The pitch being donated is the oft-overlooked, but very important underpinnings, which actually does more to determine the character of the pitch than the grass. Aldershot had their previous pitch for 88 years, but have received a top-class pitch system from Chelsea at no cost.
If you want to see the process in progress at the Recreation Ground, Sky Sports have a lovely video for you to watch.
Back at the Bridge, though, Chelsea's grounds crew won't just be popping some new sod onto a re-built version of the same, old pitch. No, they've been having some fun. Like most of our Premier League rivals, we now have a pitch using the Desso GrassMaster system, which claims to help the longevity and durability of the grass, by reinforcing it with artificial fibres, which comprise about 3% of the pitch total.
In addition to the new hybrid grass pitch, we've made significant upgrades to the undersoil-heating, drainage, and irrigation systems. These upgrades will go a long way to preventing any future match postponements due to pitch problems, as we've seen a few times in the last decade since the pitch was last redesigned. The final major change is to the floodlight system. Replacing the old bulbs is a new LED system which will bring the ground up to Premier League standards and will be more-efficient.
From the sound of it, this work is a bit overdue for the Bridge, but that's not so surprising. With the ill-fated effort to buy back the CPO shares ahead of a potential stadium move, it's hard to blame the club for being slightly-reluctant to make expensive changes if a move or total regeneration was possible. Now, though, the idea of either happening seems slim, with the revamp being prohibitively-expensive and the CPO and a lack of suitable sites scuppering any hope of a move.
Because of that, it only makes sense to bring the Bridge up to the standard of our rivals now, since we're going to be staying for the foreseeable future. We all love our one and only home, and would be reluctant to leave, so we should all be glad to see it getting a needed make-over and looking its best ahead of the new season!