September 16 2014 Latest news:
Saturday, August 23, 2014
A long-serving groundsman has reaped the rewards for his hard work after being recognised with a national award.
Dereham Town Football Club’s Alan Hall, who has been tending the club’s pitches for 34 years, has been named the Ryman League’s top groundsman at the FA’s Groundsmen of the Year awards.
He was also highly commended in the step three and four competition which included all leagues covering those parts of the non-league pyramid.
Mr Hall, 67, of Southend, Dereham, said: “It certainly was nice to get the recognition.
“Two of the judges were groundsmen from West Ham and Tottenham.
“I am all self-taught and it is just a matter of taking advice sometimes from people.”
Mr Hall added that the support of the football club was a big help towards the award.
He said: “If I ask the club for something, within reason, they are prepared to back me.
“They want to play on the best so they see the reason for it.
“If you look after the pitch at the end of the season it will be cheaper.
“I remember years where I have used 15 bags of seed but this year it has just been about six.”
Mr Hall collected his award at a ceremony at the FA’s St George’s Park training facilities and said he was blown away by the quality of the pitches there.
“St George’s Park is something else,” he said. “Money is no object there. The equipment they have got is fantastic.
“We got a tour of the grounds and had a talk from their head groundsman Alan Ferguson which was very interesting.
“If I had the money they are spending at St George’s Park I would like to think I wouldn’t be too far off that.”