Souters Help Buddies to New Home
Over recent years there had been plenty of rumours and speculation regarding the long term future of St. Mirren Football Club. The club had a sizeable debt that the Board of Directors had been servicing but acknowledged that would be unlikely to be reduced on a short term basis.
Added pressure was brought on to them by the lending bank using their right to buy back their capital. This brought the board to come up with the only viable decision. They decided to sell the site of Love Street Stadium which had been the clubs home since 1894 for retail development to Tesco in the hope that they could clear their debt as well as build a new stadium.
Barr Construction were awarded the project and the pitch construction was awarded to Souters Sports, a specialist sports turf contractor offering sports turf construction, reconstruction, drainage, aeration and maintenance of all natural grass playing services. The company operates from three UK bases – Cumbernauld, Cheshire and Sunderland – so it was also ideally placed to carry out the work to construct a playing surface worthy of Scotish Premier League football.
The new St Mirren Park is located in Paisley less than one mile from the old Love Street Stadium with an all seated capacity of 8,006.
Barr Construction produced the formation levels for Souters to commence work on the pitch. From that point they installed a mains and lateral drainage system topped with a layer of 6mm gravel over the drains and across the entire surface to 75mm then a rootzone build up. This consisted of 150mm medium fine sand, 100mm of WBB Sport Rootzone and then finished with 35mm of Mansfield Sand Fibresand. The pitch was then seeded with Bar8 grass seed from Barenbrug which specifically offers outstanding wear tolerance, establishment and recovery in the construction of football and rugby pitches. Lastly a fertiliser program with Rigby Taylor products was formulated.
Gus MacPherson, the First Team Coach wanted to make sure that the players felt as comfortable as possible in their new surroundings. To this end, he insisted that the dimensions of the new pitch replicated those at Love Street. In the 1980’s the pitch measured a gigantic 120 yards by 80 yards, although this has since been scaled down slightly. Current statistics has the pitch at 112 yards by 73 yards.
Macpherson understands the view that, St Mirren perhaps picked the worst possible time to uproot themselves mid-season and move into a new home, but he is itching to move forward describing Love Street as “tired and run down”. He has clearly come to terms with the move and is determined that sentiment does not hinder the aim of his players.
“We’re now playing on a fantastic surface,” said MacPherson. “It should suit us and the way we are trying to play. It’s a big surface but top quality. It’s got to be compliant with guidelines and it’s slightly bigger than Love Street but we will change it and get the same dimensions.”
The successful completion of the new pitch construction at St Mirren ends a busy period for Souters having recently completed reconstruction projects at Glasgow Rangers and Hamilton Academical whilst also having been awarded the contract for Murrayfield, Scotland’s largest stadium.