Arsenal head groundsman wins top turf gong

The head groundsman for one of the world's most famous football clubs has won the turf professional of the year award.

Paul Burgess was awarded the gong on his hallowed turf at the Emirates Stadium before Arsenal’s home tie last week against Everton.

“This award is special as it covers all aspects of turf care from golf course maintenance, football, rugby, cricket, parks and amenity areas,” said Burgess.

The 30-year-old trained at Myerscough College, Lancashire, and worked at Blackpool Football Club before joining Arsenal and becoming head groundsman in 2001.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said: “Our playing surface has set a new benchmark that clubs all over the world aspire to.

“We have the highest quality of pitch which allows us to play our passing game, and that is thanks to the work of Paul and his team.”

Geoff Webb, chief executive of the Institute of Groundsmanship, and Sebastian Poccard, managing director of sponsor Husqvarna UK, awarded the prize.

It was one of five gongs. Special achievement went to Tim Packwood, head groundsman at Worcestershire County Cricket Club, for work after the floods of 2007.

James Pope, who won a scholarship to work at Wembley Stadium for a year before joining Tottenham Hotspur, won the young turf professional of the year award.

The new Castle Golf Course at St Andrews won a sports-turf project gong. Eddie Seaward, head groundsman at the All England Lawn Tennis Club, won a lifetime achievement award.

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