Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Pitch Problems Are at the Root of United's Huge Injury Worries

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Pitch Problems Are at the Root of United's Huge Injury Worries

Article excerpt

Byline: By John Gibson

An internal investigation has laid the blame for Newcastle's catastrophic injury list not at the door of medical inadequacies but at the club's playing pitches, (writes John Gibson).

A succession of hamstring and groin injuries had so alarmed those in authority at United that answers were demanded.

And the outcome is that Newcastle's playing surfaces are being held responsible by those from within.

A host of Premiership clubs are laying the same surfaces at their main ground because the grass remains lush and green despite the sun not being able to gain easy access to the pitch because of the sky-high stands.

However, the sand-based pitches ( laid at great expense to the board of directors at clubs like Newcastle it might be said ( are being shown to come at a great physical cost to players worth millions of pounds.

Even Ajax in Amsterdam have discovered similar problems.

However, the difference is that in Newcastle's case the same pitches were innocently and with good intention laid at their Benton training ground ( used every day instead of perhaps once a fortnight like St James' Park.

The likes of Titus Bramble and Celestine Babayaro will not return until the West Bromwich match a week on Sunday at the earliest, while Albert Luque is facing a horrendous 10 to 12-week lay-off with a partially ruptured hamstring suffered on the lush green grass of St James' Park.

What's interesting, however, is that while Graeme Souness naturally bemoans the lack of availability of so many key players, the latest league table of injuries submitted by the website shows there have been several clubs worse off than the Magpies.

A table is produced from detailed information provided by club physios across the Premier League involving all senior and junior players on that club's books.

The most recent, released yesterday, reads: Manchester United and Sunderland 8 injuries; Middlesbrough 7; Everton, Arsenal and Newcastle United 6; Manchester City 5, Aston Villa, Birmingham, Bolton, and Spurs 4; Blackburn and West Ham 3; Charlton, Portsmouth and West Brom 2; Chelsea, Fulham, Liverpool and Wigan 1. …

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