“I think Wembley’s a difficult pitch,” said Ferguson. “I thought a horse show had been on it by the time I went on it. It reminded me of a ploughed field. I couldn’t believe the players had actually played on it.”
Our manager isn’t alone in criticising the poor playing conditions at the national stadium though.
What have other managers said about it?
“I thought it looked very spongy and a poor playing surface – not in a way that it was all bobbles and divots but it just looked as if it was very soft, spongy and quite slow at times,” David Moyes said after winning at Wembley in last season’s semi-final.
Arsene Wenger: “It is really embarrassing. When you see how much this stadium has cost and you still can’t get a proper football pitch. Somebody must give an explanation.”
Slaven Bilic: “The pitch here is not good, it is not the condition which Wembley used to have and is known for. The stadium and this game really deserves a better pitch. The top looks soft, but underneath it is hard, it is very slippery, like ice.”
Rupa chief executive Tony Dempsey: “From discussions I’ve had it was very, very unstable under foot. We’re concerned from an occupational health and safety point of view that our members may be asked to play on surfaces that are unstable. The employers are the Australian Rugby Union and as such they have a duty of care to ensure safe playing surfaces for the players. It is something definitely worth exploring.”
The FA are now set to fork out £90,000 to relay the pitch for the tenth time in three years, which is incredible when considering how few games are played here. The sooner the pitch is sorted, and players stop getting injured as a result of playing there, the better!