Training ground renovation well underway

As our exclusive pictures show, redevelopment work at the Club's Chadwell Heath training headquarters is already well underway, ensuring that Alan Pardew and his players will have use of the very best facilities next season.

Head Groundsman Dougie Robertson is in charge of overseeing the pitch renovation at the site, liaising with pitch-builders Hewitts, and explained in more detail the kind of work that is taking place.

"The two grass pitches at the training ground are going to be re-fibre-sanded (image 1), which is just root stability," he says. "However, the main pitch is also having undersoil heating fitted, and that is now all in place (img 2&3), so we expect it to be re-fibre-sanded and seeded by the end of this week.

"It's so that they can use Chadwell Heath as a training base throughout the winter. If we get caught out with a snap frost, we know that the pitch will still be available to train on.

"It will help us to grow grass during the winter, but we also have to be careful of over-use with the heating system, as that can damage the pitch. We need to see what the winter brings, but it's a huge investment and will certainly benefit the Club in the long-term.

"Elsewhere, we have turned the pitch at the far end of the training ground into a 13,500sqm area, which will be raised in height so that it is completely flat and fully drained, so that the squad will have that brand new area to use as the manager wishes.

"We've also taken away the bank that ran along one side of the field, in order to provide soil for the new raised area, and the new narrow section will be used by Niall Clark for his sports science department.

"The full-size artificial pitch will be re-laid (img 4) with the all-weather field turf that is used in our indoor sports hall, as will the Reebok Technical pen adjacent to that building (img 5). We have new ball-stop fences going up around the perimeter, a new goalkeeping area in one corner, and a viewing area (img 6) for parents watching the Academy youngsters train in the sports hall.

"My department is being increased in size with two new members of staff and we have a new building for machinery storage. We've also got complete new irrigation throughout the whole site, and there are a number of interior improvements being made, including the new cooling baths for the players (img 7), a new extended kitchen area (img 8), and a planned new kit-washing building."

Meanwhile, minor renovation will also be taking place on the stadium pitch at Upton Park, where the work of Dougie and his team ensured that Hammers had a surface to be proud of last season.

"We were happy with how it developed throughout the season and ended up finishing joint fourth in the awards for the best pitch in the Premiership," he reveals. "The manager didn't have any complaints and it played well every week, so that's all we can hope for.

"The pitch is being renovated, starting on June 12, which will be about a week's work. That will just involve taking off the top surface and re-laying it in time for the start of the new season.

"We've also new mobile lamps coming in for grass growth - they should be here around September time - and it's all geared towards ensuring that Alan Pardew and the players have the perfect playing surface for the style of football they play."

Stay logged on to for regular progress updates on the training ground renovation in the coming weeks…