The normal matchday smells of burgers frying and freshly-cut grass have been replaced at Selhurst Park by an overpowering whiff of garlic in an attempt to ensure a pristine playing surface in SE25 across the 2017/18 campaign.
Head and Grounds and Estate Bruce Elliott and his groundstaff have been spraying the hallowed turf with the instantly recognisable odour of garlic in a bid to kill off pests that can affect the quality of the surface, in the hope that when the Eagles fans return to Selhurst Park in August, the only thing they’ll be smelling is the sweet scent of home victories!
Speaking this week, Elliott explained the unconventional tactic: “The reason we’re doing it is because like a lot of clubs around the country we have a problem with nematodes, which are a microscopic, parasitic worm-like creature that live within the root zone.
“When it gets in there it can distort all the roots system and creates a weak plant that is susceptible to disease and wear and tear so we have to eradicate them, and one of the ways to do that is with garlic.
“This is a liquid form of garlic so we can spray it and it creates a chemical within the root zone which isn’t toxic to us but is to the nematodes. We’re having to do it over a three-week period because you can’t affect the nematode unless it’s in the root zone, but it has a life cycle. They create eggs so we do it over a certain period when they’re active in there to catch any hatches.
“The only unfortunate thing for us the pungent smell! Think of your garlic at home and times that by 100. I cope with a mask but it still gets through, but I try and get away from it when I can.”