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ATHLETIC -VALENCIA

Blow-drying the pitch in San Mamés for Valencia game

After constant heavy rain, Athletic were forced to send out a team of dryers to get the pitch ready for tonight's Europa League action.

When it rains in Bilbao, it can really rain. And it's been raining for weeks up on the north coast of Spain. There was no let up today. The clouds swept in from the Bay of Biscay, sending litre after soaking litre straight onto San Mamés, home of Athletic Club, leaving pools of water out on the hallowed turf. 

Until recently that situation would have seen the groundstaff out with big forks, stabbing holes in the turf (and damaging it as they went along) but technology seems to be coming up with answers to everything these days (possible even ghost goals). So the team in charge of the pitch at San Mamés were soon suited up and out with their fancy new machines that blow the water off, trying to leave the turf pristinely playable for the visit of Gary Neville's side. (They weren't entirely successful, there were still a fair few puddles around and the pitch was more swamp than snooker table).