Ground staff at Tottenham Hotspur and Wembley Stadium had cause for celebration after winning prestigious awards at the annual Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG) Industry Awards.
In a prestigious ceremony held on 2nd November at the National Conference Centre, within the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham hosted by talkSPORT radio presenter Mark Saggers, more than 640 of Europe’s leading groundscare experts, as well as dignitaries from the governing bodies of sport and influential sports administrators gathered to recognise the achievements of their peers.
The expertise and dedication of Tottenham Hotspur FC’s grounds team was recognised at this year’s IOG Industry Awards with the team winning the SGL Professional Football Grounds Team of the Year Award.
In addition to maintaining the main stadium pitch at White Hart Lane in north London, Tottenham Hotspur’s 32-strong grounds team is also charged with the upkeep of the 15 training pitches at the club’s 77-acre site in Enfield.
Tottenham Hotspur FC contested the award with Leicester City FC, Manchester City FC and Manchester United FC.
The expertise and dedication of Wembley Stadium’s grounds team earned them the National Governing Bodies’ Professional Sports Ground of the Year Award.
The Wembley grounds team – which, it has been said, “will run through brick walls for one another” – is charged with delivering the multi-use elite sports stadium pitch to a world-class standard for a host of sporting events such as football cup finals, England national team home games, NFL, rugby union and rugby league games, as well as corporate events plus a myriad of other events including music concerts.
The four-man team, plus head of FA grounds and estates, Alan Ferguson, and a matchday staff of 12 young groundsmen, utilise a range of market-leading machines and equipment to help them succeed.
Wembley contested the award with Etihad Campus, Manchester and BT Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh.
The awards highlight the high standards of volunteer and professional groundsmanship, from grassroots to professional stadia level. They are judged by an independent panel on criteria that include effective use of resources, budgetary control, presentation and housekeeping standards, as well as environmental considerations.
Organised by the IOG – the leading membership organisation for everyone involved in the management of sports pitches, landscape and amenity facilities – the prestigious UK-wide IOG annual awards embrace categories of entry covering sport, young people and the environment.
Commenting on the high standard of award winners, IOG chief executive Geoff Webb, said: “With a record number of entries, this year’s awards continue to demonstrate the skills and passion of groundsmanship throughout the UK, at both voluntary and professional level.
“Winning an award against such stiff competition is testament to the dedication of the grounds teams and individuals whose ability to produce and maintain ever-improving playing surfaces – which, in turn, also enables more games to take place – goes largely unnoticed.”