Arsenal groundstaff receive commendation

Emirates Stadium Groundstaff
Emirates Stadium groundstaff

Paul Ashcroft, Arsenal’s head groundsman, has received a commendation from the Premier League for his work at Emirates Stadium, as part of the Groundsman of the Year awards.

The awards are based on specific aspects of pitch and management performance. They are compiled using marks from referees, match delegates and opposing managers, there is also a pitch assessment and an assessment of each clubs’ management of the pitch.

Swansea City’s Dan Duffy was named Premier League Groundsman of the Year for 2012/2013. In addition, five Premier League clubs were highly commended for the work of their groundsmen, including Arsenal. The others were: Jonathan Calderwood (Aston Villa), Dave McCulloch (Liverpool), Lee Jackson (Manchester City) and Andrew Gray (Southampton).

Since joining Arsenal in 2000 from his previous role at the old Wembley Stadium, Ashcroft became head groundsman in 2009 and won the Premier League Groundsman of the Year award last season.

The Club is extremely proud of its strong tradition of high-quality playing surfaces at both Highbury and now Emirates Stadium, and Ashcroft is continuing this long successful history.

Former head groundsman at Highbury Steve Braddock won many awards for his work before switching roles to take control of the playing surfaces at the Club's training centre at London Colney - a position he still holds.

Following Braddock's switch, Paul Burgess took the reins and oversaw a period of high-quality playing surfaces during which time the Club moved from Highbury to Emirates Stadium.

In 2009, Burgess swapped Arsenal for Real Madrid to become head groundsman at the Bernabeu, at which time Ashcroft took charge of the Emirates Stadium pitch. Together with his team, he has continued to provide an exceptional playing surface for Arsène Wenger's side.

Congratulations to Paul and his team: Reece Watson (deputy head groundsman), Sion Bennett (assistant groundsman) and Alan Russell (assistant groundsman).

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