A thank you to Patrick
By Peter Mark Craig, Grounds Manager, Hurlingham Club
Patrick Gossett has been the subject of much criticism during his nine-plus years as the first Chief Executive of the IOG. I have, on more than one occasion, been the source of such criticism and I certainly have no regrets about expressing my personal opinions.
The overall reaction from respected professionals within the industry to my comments regarding the recent Wembley Stadium recruitment fiasco suggest that my opinion, at least on that occasion, was shared by the majority.
However, one has to have the skill, strength of character and determination to take on such a high profile position and, at the time Patrick was appointed, the whole IOG organisation was in a rapid state of decline, particularly in an organisational and financial sense.
It was essential that attention was focussed on these aspects of the organisation if it was to survive, and Patrick's undoubted business acumen and strong leadership qualities ensured that not only has the Institute survived but it has flourished both financially and in many other ways.
I would like to express my thanks and admiration for the work that Patrick and his team have put in to place the Institute in its current sound financial position.
Whoever takes over from Patrick will have the relative luxury of having the financial resources to move the Institute forward in ways that will see its members professional status enhanced.
Despite the remarkable Pitchcare revolution going from strength to strength, the IOG is still the most recognised and respected body within the Groundsmanship Industry. The partnerships it has forged with the major sporting bodies such as the Football Association, the England and Wales Cricket Board and the Lawn Tennis Association to name but three have put it in a unique position from which, with the right future leadership, it can achieve so much for its members.
The time has now come to use the resources available to move the industry forwards by
Embracing the use of computers and the internet to enable immediate communication between interested parties rather than relying purely on the written and spoken word.
Increasing the number of paid staff working for the IOG. The current team are vastly overworked in my opinion, particularly in the training and education area.
A review of the entire structure of the Institute from the branch meetings upwards.
A greater focus on Sports Turf Management and less on peripherals such as playground equipment, arboriculture and gardening matters both on the whole and at the exhibition. After all this is the Institute of Groundsmanship.
A training programme to be provided to give members the communication, man management and budgeting skills that are now required at all levels of the industry, not just the top end.
A Chief Executive who has a proven track record of success within the industry as well as the business skills and experience that Patrick Gossett has used so well.
A clear annual manifesto from the Institute stating its aims and ambitions and a greater opportunity for the members to contribute to achieving those aims.
These, in my humble opinion ,are the most important but by no means all of the topics that need to be addressed by the next IOG Chief Executive when appointed.
As most of us are involved in sport I thought I would use a sporting analogy to finish:-
In footballing parlance, Patrick Gossett inherited a struggling second division side with little money and a small but loyal team that was underachieving. Through the efforts of a strong manager possessing good tactical awareness, well honed monetary management skills and an ability to gain the respect of his players, the IOG is now, in my opinion on the cusp of the championship play offs.
The appointment of the managerial successor to Patrick will be pivotal in deciding whether the IOG makes it to the premiership or ends up sharing a ground with another well known Milton Keynes based team.
Thank you for all the good you have done Patrick.