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Spare a thought for Micronesia

Following the fiasco of the Wembley pitch for the FA Cup semi-finals, the decision was taken to re-lay the pitch yet again.

Work began last week, at a cost 100,000 pounds Sterling, for the eleventh time since the stadium was rebuilt in 2007.

That’s over three new pitches per year and more than  one million pounds Sterling spent on turf – the original Wembley, built in 1923, only cost 750,000 pounds Sterling in total!

As a nation of gardeners, surely someone can go back to grassroots to solve this problem?

The announcement comes as the FA seeks to find a long-term solution to the ongoing problems in time for next month’s FA Cup Final between Chelsea and Portsmouth.

Harry Redknapp, the Tottenham manager, described the pitch as “scandalous” while earlier this season Sir Alex Ferguson, the Manchester United manager, claimed that it contributed to Michael Owen suffering a hamstring injury in the Carling Cup final.

A new pitch will need time to bed in as there are eight matches scheduled to be played at the stadium between May 8, when Barrow and Stevenage Borough contest the FA Trophy final, and May 30, when the Coca-Cola League Two play-off final takes place.

The stadium will also stage several concerts during the summer before England play their first competitive match of 2010-11, a European Championship qualifier against Bulgaria on September 3.

Wembley might have its problems but spare a thought for Paul Watson, son of Mark, a favourite on Mock the Week and Fighting Talk. He set out last year to make a television documentary about Micronesia, a Pacific confederation presently marooned at the bottom of FIFA’s rankings. While researching on the island of Pohnpei, one of 607 islands covering an area of 2,700sq kms, Watson was asked by locals if, rather than merely filming the team in action, he would become their coach.

He agreed and despite a complete lack of qualification, at 25, found himself the youngest international team boss in world football.

Things have started to look up; he has kit donated by Yeovil Town and if he can secure sponsorship may even arrange the country’s first away international, in Guam.

Before that, though, Watson is looking for a way to sort out a perennial issue with Pohnpei’s playing surface.

“Every time it rains the pitch is completely inundated with toads, you can’t move without treading on one. The problem is, it rains every day.”