It’s hypnotising watching the groundsmen at work before kick-off or at half-time, as they patrol the surface prodding the turf apparently at random with an enormous pitchfork. They must know what they are doing, we reason.
But when Len Chatterton heard he half-time whistle, he knew it was time for the real entertainment to begin – and so did the fans. There was the click of the key in the ignition, the rumble of the engine spluttering into life, and the sight of a car pull out onto the pitch at Selhurst Park.
An old VW Beetle hoved into view, its wheels covered by heavy duty rollers designed to flatten the pitch. In the driver’s seat was Chatterton, his hat proudly adorning his head, one hand on the wheel and the other out of the window as he peered down to make sure the pitch was getting just the right coverage.