Nearly our first birthday
September 4th 2001 was the day that we launched Pitchcare into the world of Groundsmen and Green keepers.
Supported by Professionals and Industry alike, we have taken great strides in providing a free service to everyone with an interest in sports turf.
From our point of view, the first year has been hugely successful. Our major objective has been to drive up the membership, as this is key to Industry underwriting our costs. At the time of writing (19th August 2002), we have nearly 1900 members, a tremendous collective group of people to share, help and advise each other.
The barter room has seen a huge increase in second hand machine sales, the jobs room is regularly updated and we do actively try to find jobs for our members. Recently an advertised position brought a third of the applicants via Pitchcare. Sales are on the increase and we are keen to secure and pass on the best deals available for our members. We are actively bringing on new suppliers, suppliers keen to promote good quality products at very competitive prices.
In some respects it has been a slightly frustrating year, balancing content output for the website, against bringing in revenue to pay for our costs.
There have been new additions to the website, in particular sections such as the directory and the useful information (two sections that we hope to expand), and the soil analysis section in association with European Turf Laboratories.
We also have a new interview room (in the chat room) that will be used for regular question and answer sessions with various people covering all aspects of the Industry. I hope to advise you all of forthcoming interviews with some of our leading Groundsmen and Green keepers; but also Alex Edwards (Inturf) on the production of sports quality turf, Simon Barnaby (Scotts) on the history of fertiliser, John Hacker (PSD) on soil science, Ben Petitjean (Barenbrug) on seed quality and production.
Recently, and on a personal note, many of you are aware that I have been working at Aston Villa FC, as a sub contractor to my old company, Sportsturf (a paid favour before you ask). Whilst enjoyable, it has naturally eaten into my time and as a result, I have not been able to get on quite as many new stories as I would have liked. I was asked initially to cover a week's holiday, but that was back in June! However, I will be posting a diary, with photos of my time there, right up to last weekends opening Premiership game with Liverpool. I will be finishing there shortly as Sportsturf have now appointed a Groundsman full time, starting at the beginning of September.
All that aside, we can boast 352 articles on the website to date, which averages out at one new article every day. We are closing in on some new staff, which will enable us to provide all of you with at least 20 new articles/working diaries each week. We are very happy to publish articles sent in, particularly with photos, so if you want to raise the profile of the work you do and the club you work for please get writing.
We get a tremendous amount of e-mailed queries, some of which we put on the message board. Most of the queries that members post on the various boards get answered, and I am pleased to see that there are so many members prepared to help others with their problems.
Saltex (Trade show of the South) is looming, and we are on stand E20 (unforgettable for Eastenders fans) near the South entrance, next door to Fleet Line Markers-do you need a map?
We have done a deal with Thames Valley Harley-Davidson to give everyone at the show the chance to win a H-D 'Fat Boy'. The bike will be fully accessorised and is worth nearly £15,000. All you need to do is guess the number plate-what could be easier? The bike is insured, so we really hope that someone will guess right!
Harley is celebrating their hundredth year and we are celebrating our first birthday, come and say hello to all of us and see the bike, we're looking forward to meeting as many of our members as possible.
The football season is now in full swing, rugby is about to start, and the bowls, cricket and tennis are starting to wind up to the end of the season. With renovation time approaching for the summer sports, we'll be covering works planned and carried out at some of our featured venues, and there will be a full update on progress at all our winter sport venues as well.
See you at Saltex,