After winning France’s top award for pitch preparation for a sixth time, Paris Saint-Germain Grounds Manager Jonathan Calderwood told us how he hopes to give the team the best surface on which to play.
Jonathan, what the are the main difficulties in getting a pitch as good as the one at the Parc des Princes?
“I think the most difficult thing is explaining to people the difficulty involved in maintaining a football pitch. I know the job well, I have 25 years’ experience, from Aston Villa to Wolverhampton, via Wembley…It’s not easy, but I’ve been doing this job a long time now.”
Does the team’s style of play have an influence on the kind of pitch you have to work on?
“Absolutely. When I started this job 25 years ago, my aim was to have a really green pitch which was perfectly playable in winter. A lot of things have changed since, there’s technology that helps us today. I went to university to study Turf Science, and now the approach to the job is different. It’s not just about having a nice pitch, but it also has to be adapted to suit the team’s style of play. The bounce, the pace of the ball, the movement of the players and the ball…Matches are sometimes won or lost on those details. Here at Paris Saint-Germain, we like good football, and we try to contribute to that with our work on the pitch.”
What’s a typical matchday for you and your team?
“We also have pre-match preparation. We start working on the pitch from 8 in the morning until 5 in the afternoon. We cut the grass twice on matchday to get it to the correct height, which we get in the afternoon. After the game, because the players take up pieces of it, we clean the pitch quickly to make sure the pitch is good as quickly as possible.”