Oxford United FC Scores Big with High-Tech Pitch and Irrigation Upgrade

Founded in 1893 as amateur club “Headington”, Oxford United Football Club has a storied history dating back more than a century. In 2001, the club relocated from the Manor Ground to Kassam Stadium. The move marked a pivotal moment in the club’s history, and their recent investment in a newly installed hybrid pitch and cutting-edge irrigation system continues this tradition of forward-thinking progress.

The decision to improve the pitch at Kassam Stadium was driven by a commitment to provide the best possible playing conditions. Initially, the club approached Tillers Turf, a trusted name in the turf industry with a portfolio that includes several league-level stadiums, to install a hybrid pitch.

Tillers Turf made an expert decision by choosing HTPro, a premium hybrid carpet-reinforced turf system developed in collaboration with Hewitt Sportsturf. The HTPro turf was specifically grown and nurtured by Tillers Turf’s team to perfectly match the requirements of Oxford United’s pitch. This approach facilitated a swift and efficient installation, minimising downtime. The custom development of the turf ensures a consistently high-quality playing surface.

Kieron Jennings, Head Groundsman at Oxford United FC, expressed his satisfaction, stating, “The team and I couldn’t believe the condition of the product we received. The density was amazing, the plant health was incredible… We’ve had 2 games on it now, and the pitch has played very well”.


Prior to the turf being laid, the club also made the decision to invest in a state-of-the-art irrigation system, in order to further future-proof the pitch. Tasked with this job was Martin Greene, Irrigation Specialist at Fineturf, a sister company of Tillers Turf. Martin assumed the role of both designer and installer of the irrigation system.

Upon initiating the project, Martin uncovered the limitations of the existing irrigation infrastructure, with 2″ pipework and the capability of supporting only one sprinkler at a time. To meet the club’s requirement of simultaneous operation of all eight in-field sprinklers for maximum pitch coverage, Martin recognised the necessity for a substantial upgrade.

Turning to KAR UK, a leading wholesaler within the irrigation industry, Martin sought guidance with the design and product selection. Collaboratively, they devised a comprehensive plan that entailed enlarging the tank, pump, and pipe sizes to accommodate the new irrigation system. The solution involved the installation of a 30,000-litre Enduramaxx tank, 2×2 meter GRP housing, and a Lowara GHV Twin Pump Set, all of which were supplied by KAR UK. Furthermore, Martin and KAR opted to replace the existing in-field sprinklers with eight Hunter Industries’ I-80s, renowned for their advanced innovative technology and efficiency. Martin configured the I-80s as single manifolds to offer flexibility, enabling the club to select the number of sprinklers to operate at any given time, thereby enhancing control over the pitch’s irrigation system. In addition to this enhancement, sixteen Hunter GT-885 rotors, recognised for their precision, extensive coverage, and no-dig accessibility feature, were strategically positioned around the pitch’s perimeter to ensure thorough and uniform watering.


To govern this cutting-edge system, Martin opted for the ACC2 controller by Hunter Industries, seamlessly combined with the compatible ROAM remote, which grants the club complete access to the controller programs directly from the pitch’s edge, offering convenience, especially on match days. Additionally, the grounds staff at Oxford United now enjoy the advantages of Hunter’s Centralus system, allowing control of the sprinklers remotely via the clever and easy-to-use cloud-based software which is accessible on smartphones, computers, and tablets. This means that staff no longer require a physical presence at the stadium to ensure thorough irrigation. To further optimise the system’s efficiency, Martin also incorporated Hunter’s Solar Sync Sensor system, which makes adjustments to the controller settings daily based on local weather conditions.

“The irrigation system Martin has installed for us is unbelievable, there are no other words to describe it. He’s gone that extra mile in making sure that we are happy with what we are receiving, and he worked incredibly hard to do so.”, Kieron commented, “The experience was very enjoyable from start to finish, and when the install was complete, both Wayne (Group Operations and Technical Director of Tillers Turf) and Martin have been on the end of the phone and regularly checking in.”


Martin Greene commended the service provided by KAR during the project, stating, “I like the support I get from KAR, and if I have a question, I get a quick response. Our Sales Manager, Mike McDonnell, is always at the end of the phone. Myself and Simon (Managing Director of Fineturf and Tillers Turf) want to maintain a relationship with KAR, where if we need something in a hurry, we can rely on them to get it to us straight away.”

Oxford United FC’s dedication to excellence is exemplified through their investment in this state-of-the-art turf and irrigation system. This commitment ensures that both players and fans consistently enjoy top-quality conditions at Kassam Stadium.





For more information on irrigation products for Golf & Sportsturf, Horticulture, Agriculture and Landscape & Rescom, contact KAR UK Ltd on 0161 793 9703 or sales@karuk.com, or visit www.karuk.com.

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