Wednesday Oct 5, 2011

These prestigious awards were formally handed out at Wembley Stadium on Tuesday, Octrober 4 to all those all those hard working groundsmen (and in two cases - groundswomen) who with their club staff were adjudged by a panel of experts to have the best pitches from Step 1 to Step 7 in the non league pyramid.

In recognising their dedication and expertise, which goes into preparing the best playing surfaces possible, it was pleasing to see the Football Conference well represented, as is shown by the five clubs who were asked to step forward to receive their mementos.

Congratulations are in order therefore to:
Derek Powell (Woking) - highly commended
Graham Wood (Hyde United) - highly commended
Mick Conway (AFC Telford United) - Placed 3rd in the Football Conference
Dick Peters (Dover Athletic) - Placed 2nd in the Football Conference

The ultimate accolade as being the best pitch and playing surface amongst the 68 members clubs in 2010-11 was awarded, rightly so, to Dale Firth who is in charge at Highbury Stadium the home of Fleetwood Town.
The FA through their Pitches and Facilities sub-committee also announced that they would be seeking to extend funding to clubs to be able to purchase better and more modern equipment and would also be making available to clubs a pool of the more expensive machinery which they could have access to for major works.
For all winners, as part of their day at the home of football, they were able to tread the hallowed turf and ask questions of the stadium's grounds manager Tony Stokes.
Another highlight was to hear direct from Alan Ferguson, the FA's head groundsman at the soon to open St Georges Park in Staffordshire, around the preparation of the 12 pitches on which the cream of the English game will be able to train for major matches as of July 2012.

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