Chelsea, Sunderland, ..... the Showgrounds!

Shaun Oneill


Shaun Oneill


THE man commissioned to sort out Ballymena United’s problem pitch has also worked for Chelsea, Sunderland and Middlesborough Football clubs!

Tim Colclough has over 25 years’ experience in agronomy relating to the construction and management of sports pitches and golf courses.

Clients range from small sports clubs and parish Councils to Premiership football clubs and international stadia complexes.

Speaking to Guardian Sport Tim outlined he is agronomist to Chelsea FC, Sunderland AFC and Middlesbrough FC, all for their Academy and Stadium pitches.

He also designed and supervised the extension to Chelsea FC Training Academy pitches at Cobham, as well as the design and supervision of reconstruction of various stadia pitches including; Stamford Bridge, Stadium of Light, the DW Stadium (Wigan FC), Headingley Stadium (Leeds Rugby), and Riverside Cricket Ground (Durham CCC).

Tim, who is Director of Agronomy at TGMS Limited, was one of the invited guests at the official opening of the Showgrounds central arena back on Friday, November 2.

On a rain-lashed evening - it poured before, during and after United’s 2-1 win over the then League leaders Glenavon - Tim lined up with others as the Mayor, Cllr. Lindsay Millar, cut the ribbon to declare the pitch open.

Tim and co. were commissioned in October 2017 to conduct an assessment of the existing pitch with the aim of improving levels to accommodate a larger playing area and run-offs, and to improving drainage.


The next stage was commissioned in the early Spring this year, and the design involved stripping and storing the existing soil, removing circa 1,000 cubic metres of spoil to lower the pitch to increase playable area, installing intensive drainage, mixing 800 tonnes of sand to create a 100 mm depth ‘sand carpet’ – a Northern Irish invention called a ‘Prunty- Mulqueen’ design.

An intensive pop-up irrigation system was also designed.

The works were tendered by the Council in March/April, with a view to appointing in late April and starting work in early May, at the end of the playing season.

“Works started on time and the pitch was seeded in late June, during the very hot and dry spell,” outlined Tim.

“Fortunately the irrigation was ready and we were able to grow-in the pitch successfully and ready for the early October first use.”

First game on the new pitch was United v Glenavon.

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