Shropshire FA is ready to bolster the offering from the new 'Power Up Your Grass Pitch' campaign using the expertise and machinery of Campey Turf Care Systems.
Jason Moody Campey Turf Care, Dave Simpson Shropshire FA Chairman, Andy Weston Facililty and investment lead, Mick Murphy Shropshire FA business manager
The new initiative from the Premier League, The FA, and the Government's Football Foundation aims to revolutionise the state of grass football pitches in England. The mission set out by the Football Foundation is to improve over 7,000 grass pitches by 2024 and 20,000 by 2030 to ensure the 12 million grassroots footballers have great places to play.
A significant part of this is reducing the 150,000 cancelled matches due to poor pitch quality last season, and at Shropshire FA, this role falls to Strategy, Facilities and Partnerships Lead Andy Weston.
With over 20-years of experience in football administration, Andy is no stranger to the impact pitches can have. After seeing Campey in action at an open day, he knew they were prime candidates to push their pitch improvement efforts for 180 clubs in Shropshire forward. Jason Moody, Product Specialist for Campeys, has worked closely with Andy to ensure that the right balance of equipment and back-up support was in place.
"Campey has a track record of working with a number of other County FAs, and we did a demo day with them at one of our clubs, and they gave a run-through of the machinery they offer, what it does and gave some hands-on tips. We had several clubs come along, and the feedback was great, so we decided to make something more formal to showcase what they do and how it can improve pitches in our county.
"High-quality pitches are vital to the game, and we are in a position now where the funding and opportunities are there to support the volunteers who work tirelessly week in and week out, and the expertise of Campey is really important to what we want to achieve.
"The game can't run without volunteers and particularly at grassroots level. You're reliant on them, and it's imperative that organisations like Campey are on hand to work with us to provide that support and knowledge on the ground. In these last 18 months, we have all spent a lot of time on Zoom calls. Still, in this instance, I don't think you can beat being on the ground and hands-on with the equipment because any little snippets of information they can share with those grounds people is invaluable. I think even the most experienced grounds people will benefit from having a conversation with Campey and listening to their experts.
"As well as Jason from Campeys, we are also working with Pitch Advisor Kevin Duffield, so with all those different bodies involved, it is really helpful to the grounds teams up and down our county."
Teams in Shropshire range from AFC Telford United down the football pyramid to Sunday league outfits. The one thing they all have in common is the need for a good pitch, and through this initiative, Andy aims to make the whole of the county a better place to play football.