Alan Ferguson scoops top groundsman prize again
Alan Ferguson, head groundsman of Ipswich Town Football Club, was named IOG Professional Football Groundsman of the Year for the fourth time at IOG SALTEX.
He received his trophy from IOG national chairman Alex Millar at an FA awards lunch during the national show at Windsor racecourse.
Alan had already been awarded a trophy for being best football groundsman in the First Division from FA executive Steve Williams.
The runners-up in the IOG award were winners in their divisions. All leading IOG members, they were Dave Roberts of Southampton (Premier League), Dave Brown of Hartlepool United (Division Two) and Mark Patterson of Macclesfield Town (Division Three). From the Scottish FA (included for the first time) was Albert Dawson of Dundee United
Alan, an IOG director and president of the Scotland and Ireland Region, said: "These awards are incredibly important to football groundsmen. They are awarded by professionals to professionals.
"It is a great honour to receive this award for the fourth time and I am delighted to have been up against such great competition."
Alex Millar said: "The standards of groundsmanship in this country have never been higher and the IOG is proud to be at the forefront of these awards which recognise the hard work put in by dedicated professionals."
Steve Williams said: "We owe a lot to these professionals who keep pitches in such immaculate condition. These awards are testament to the skill and expertise employed to reach such high standards of excellence."
Dave Roberts said: "These trophies are not just for head groundsmen, but for the staff who work so hard to meet demands. This is recognition for their efforts as well."
Marks for pitch conditions are awarded by referees and managers throughout the season after each game and allowances made for climatic and geographical conditions. Judging of the pitches is carried out by a visit from Doctor Stephen Baker of the STRI.
Judging for the IOG award is carried out by senior IOG officials and involves interviews with the four finalists about management skills, budgeting and maintenance programmes.
In the overall national awards the following were highly commended:
Paul Burgess from Arsenal FC
Roy Rigby and Lee Jackson of Manchester City
Richard Eastham of Preston North End
Wayne Nash and Paul Wilkins of Cardiff City
Marcus Cassidy of Swindon FC
Mark Williams of Wycombe Wanderers
Ian Dowler of Cambridge United