The new, long-awaited 62,000-seater Tottenham Hotspur’s Stadium is officially opening today as the team faces Crystal Palace in the Premier League. This opening comes after a host of delays and two successful testing games over the past couple of weeks.
SCX, Sheffield- based engineering specialist, will be seeing its world-first dividing retractable pitch on display at the match. The grass surface, which can be rolled back to reveal a bespoke NFL pitch below, is the result of the vision and expertise of SCX Special Projects, the bespoke engineering arm of the SCX group. The innovative system allows the venue to be used for music concerts and other events in addition to regular football matches and NFL games.
“It has been a phenomenal success, equal to what we have achieved with the retractable roofs for Centre Court and No.1 Court for the All England Lawn Tennis Club at Wimbledon, and within a very tight timescale,” said SCX’s Project Director, Danny Pickard.
“The Tottenham pitch went from being perceived as the highest risk part of the project – with all the moving parts, the turf joins and an engineering concept that had not been tried before – to something neither we nor the client had to worry about. It’s fantastic. Everything was completed on time despite the huge scale of the project, and communication has been the key. We have a really great client in Spurs,” Danny added.
The retractable real grass surface splits into three pitch-long steel trays. When the trays slide together, the join is invisible and imperceptible to the players. The trays, weighing more than 3,000 tonnes each, can be rolled under the new South Stand to reveal the NFL artificial surface in a process taking about 25 minutes.
The mechanical tests included the sideways movement of the side trays to meet the centre tray, the defining feature that makes the pitch a world first.