This month has so far been one of the coldest since records began. Sixty years ago such freezing conditions would have led to most football matches being postponed. The ground would have been too hard and too dangerous to play on. However, in 1958 Everton changed the winter fixture schedule forever as they became the first club in England to install under-soil heating.

December's object of the month is a photograph of the under-soil heating being installed at Goodison in 1958.



The under-soil heating was first installed at Goodison in May 1958. The initial system of electric heating wires proved to be a problem as the drains could not cope with the excess water. As the official club minute books state:

"...the pitch was in a very bad state owing to excessive water staying on the surface, and not draining through, leaving large patches of slush..." Read more.

In December 1959 an Emergency Meeting was held in response to the poor condition of the pitch. It was reported that the trenching system to remove excess water was "a very slow job" and required "an additional 6 labourers". A polythene sheet (40 x 12 yards) had been ordered at a cost of £30 in an experiment to keep the rain off bad areas. Another experiment would also be conducted whereby a small pump would pump away excess water by digging holes in the waterlogged area. Read more.

On the 14th March 1960 it was agreed "that the soil warming wires be removed and re-instated when it was considered that the pitch was draining satisfactorily". Read more.

As technology advanced the "soil warming wires" were later replaced by the current system of hot water pipes which are still working well today - as demonstrated this month!

Do you remember the Goodison pitch being dug up in 1958 and 1960? Tell us here.