Premier League New Boys In A Spin

Newly-promoted sides Hull, West Brom and Stoke City faced a race against time to get their grounds up to scratch ahead of the Premier League season, it has been revealed.

All three promoted teams were ordered to rotate their stadia by 359 degrees and fit a huge turntable in order to satisfy ‘ground calibration’ targets in August. The other 17 teams in the league completed the calibration prior to the 2007-2008 season, but the Tigers, Baggies and Potters had, understandably, not carried out the work.

Stoke’s chief executive Tony Scholes revealed that the work on the Britannia Stadium cost a total of £10m and seriously hampered their exploits in the transfer market.

He said: “It’s a silly regulation anyway. But we have to adhere to it. Nobody in Stoke expected us to be in the Premier League, so this work was a bit of an unforseen circumstance. I do understand that a lot of the more progressive clubs are carrying the work out now ahead of any impending promotion.”

“Now the work’s finished, it is virtually identical to how it looks beforehand. The contractors have done a magnificent job.”

Premier League rule ZZ1 orders all member clubs to carry out the work at the request of television partner Sky Sports, who can control rotation of the ground in case of adverse weather conditions such as the position of the sun, or the wind in Chelsea’s face.

Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore said: “The calibration means we can control the environment around the pitch in a way never seen before, giving viewers at home the best possible viewing experience.”

“The whole stadiums are on a turntable which is controlled by a Sky producer. If Andy Gray doesn’t like where the sun is, he can instruct the producer to spin the ground accordingly.”

Below: Stoke’s Britannia Stadium before… and after the recalibration.