Cup pitch race against time

Friday, April 28 – 1950
Mr. Percy Young, head groundsman at Wembley Stadium, has won his race against time in the preparation of the pitch for tomorrow’s FA Cup final.
We were just able to finish things,” he said to-day as light rain fell on the precious turf, “though we have had every kind of weather except fog here this week.

Mr. Young expressed the opinion that, despite the conditions, the pitch, which is the ninth he has prepared for the final, will play as well as ever. The pace will depend on the wind between now and tomorrow. At present the surface of the pitch is yielding.

Players of both teams are spending the day quietly. Arsenal did light training on the Highbury pitch during the morning, and after lunch at the ground they planned to rest for the remainder of the day and go to bed at an early hour.

In a final summing up of tomorrow’s match Mr. Tom Whittaker, the Arsenal manager, said “What of our chances? I would not like to express an opinion, since a cup final is a match on its own. Everyone is well. Our main object has been to keep as near to ordinary cup routine as possible. In this way we feel that the players have a better chance of relaxing.”

Most of the Merseyside players left their Weybridge Hotel soon after breakfast. They had a brisk walk and returned in time for lunch. Arsenal will use the north dressing room, which is the one occupied by last year’s winners, Wolverhampton Wanderers.

One Liverpool player who did not go on the early morning outing was Cyril Sidlow, the goalkeeper. He went to an adjoining playing field and tested a slightly pulled leg muscle that has been causing trouble.

Jack Balmer and Cyril Done, two of the travelling reserves, ensured that Sidlow had a stiff try out, after which the club’s trainer, Albert Shelley, said that the goalkeeper was certain to play.

Mr. George Kay, the manager, was unable to attend the test because he is confined to bed with a slight chill. Nevertheless he is sure to be at Wembley.
(Gloucestershire Echo, 28-04-1950)

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