Smell-hurst Park! - Palace pitch gets garlic treatment

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Crystal Palace have adopted an unusual measure to get their Selhurst Park pitch up to scratch ahead of the 2017-18 Premier League season - and it stinks.

The Eagles have been using a form of liquid garlic to keep grass-destroying pests at bay, and groundsman Bruce Elliott is the man landed with a task that is as onerous as it is odorous. 

Elliott explained his eye-watering approach to maintaining the playing surface in an interview with the club's official website, which afforded him a break from his three-week mission to turn the ground into Smell-hurst Park.

"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," he said.

"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 is 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."

New boss Frank de Boer will be hoping to catch a whiff of the sweet smell of success by the end of his first campaign at the helm.

But for anyone who had hoped for more garlic-based puns, that's shallot!