Ipswich Town have confirmed that their award-winning groundsman, Alan Ferguson, is leaving the club to take up the role of Head Groundsman at St George's Park, the FA's National Football Centre at Burton.
Seven-times Groundsman of the Year during twelve seasons at Ipswich, Alan says he's looking forward to his new position, which he starts in August: "It's an enormous challenge for me, but one I am looking forward to taking on.
"I'll be heading up the grounds team at the new National Football Centre, and one of the initial tasks we have is replicating the pitch the England side uses at Wembley, so that the players can train on a similar surface.
"In many ways it's a similar situation to when I started at Ipswich, with the Playford Road training ground project but, obviously, there will be some fantastic resources at Burton. I'm sad to be leaving Ipswich. You always feel like that when you enjoy where you work."
"My family have grown up in the area and with me working at the club, so Ipswich has been a big part of not only my life but my family's as well."
"We're massive Town fans and we will be staying in the area. Whenever I'm not working, I'll be watching the team play."
Chief executive Simon Clegg, who is working with Alan to find his successor, paid tribute to his time at Portman Road: "I'm disappointed to see Alan leave the club, but fully understand that he is taking up, perhaps, the biggest groundsman's job in the country.
"I'd like to thank him for his fantastic and loyal service to this football club, creating terrific playing surfaces at not only Portman Road, but also at the training ground."
"He has made a highly valued contribution over the last twelve years and I wish him every success for the future."
Source: The Independent Ipswich Town Website - www.twtd.co.uk