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Nominate for Groundsman of the Year

14:00 06 January 2015

The Essex FA are asking for nominations for the Groundsman of the Year award

The Essex FA are asking for nominations for the Groundsman of the Year award

Archant

Deadline fast approaching

Quality pitches are essential for the development of football at every level, so grassroots groundsmen - the vast majority of whom are volunteers - are being recognised through the Essex FA’s 2015 Groundsman of the Year Awards.

Nominations are required by January 12 and the award has been set-up to recognise the contribution of the ‘unsung heroes’, who work in all weather, all year round, to make sure thousands of matches can take place on as high a standard of playing surface as is achievable.

These individuals are usually giving up their own time so this year’s awards aim to thank them and ensure they’re not taken for granted.

Especially at this time of year, when groundsmen and women come into their own in a bid to fend off the elements and make surfaces playable, it’s crucial that their efforts are acknowledged.

The Essex FA, with The FA, set out to do that by offering local and national recognition every year. Nominations, via a form which can be downloaded from www.essexfa.com, are required as soon as possible.

The awards recognise football’s volunteer workforce at Step Seven or below in the pyramid (including youth football). That includes clubs participating in both Saturday and Sunday competitions.

Once the deadline has passed, the County FA will then forward three nominations on to The FA in time for their own national deadline.

Judges examine the quality of each nominated pitch and also take into consideration the groundsman’s skills and knowledge, their ambitions for the surface, the resources they have available, how often the pitch is used and the amount of time they are able to work on it. Judges look at their working environment, weighing that up against the quality of the pitch.

County Development Manager, Brendan Walshe, explained: “This is a great opportunity for leagues and clubs to recognise the dedicated efforts of volunteers who work tirelessly to ensure pitches are kept in the best possible condition for players to enjoy the game on.

“The top Essex club will go forward to a national judging stage and undergo independent adjudication, where they can chat to the professional groundsmen who conduct the judging.”

Last year’s national Awards Day took place in August at St George’s Park. The nominees were given a guided tour of the site as well as an insightful presentation from Alan Ferguson (Head of Grounds & Estates) regarding the work which goes on at the facility.

An awards ceremony took place in the afternoon with members of The FA’s Facilities Committee, who presented the winners with their certificates and trophies.

The winners were then invited to attend the FA Lounge at Wembley Stadium for the England vs San Marino European Championship qualifying fixture on October 9, enjoying the hospitality on offer before joining the Wembley Ground Staff on the pitch at half time. The feedback received was overwhelmingly positive.

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