The Manchester United groundscare team has won the IOG Campey/Imants Professional Football Grounds Team of the Year Award – and the club’s grounds manager, Tony Sinclair, was awarded the Alex R Millar DLF/Johnsons & Ransomes Groundsman of the Year Award - at the Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG) Industry Awards, held in partnership with the British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA).
In a prestigious ceremony at Milton Keynes’ stadiummk hosted by talkSPORT Radio presenter Mark Saggers, the team award was presented by Campey Turf Care managing director Richard Campey, while Tony Sinclair collected his accolade from DLF amenity sales and marketing manager Derek Smith and Ransomes Jacobsen sales director Rupert Price in front of an audience of more than 400 of the UK’s and Europe’s leading groundscare experts, as well as dignitaries from the governing bodies of sport and influential sports administrators.
The Red Devils’ 30-strong groundscare team expertly looks after four sites covering 20 hectares in total – Old Trafford stadium and the AON training complex, as well as two additional training grounds that are used by the club’s academy teams, the Salford league and the local community.
The team, says grounds manager Tony Sinclair, has desire and determination in abundance, and they adopt the latest and best pitch maintenance methods – underpinned by the appropriate training – to, he says, “produce the best pitches possible”.
Manchester United contested the team award with Burnley FC, while Tony Sinclair was shortlisted for the individual award with groundsmen from the categories involving professional grounds teams.
The prestigious UK-wide IOG Award scheme highlights the high standards of volunteer and professional grounds professionals and facilities, from grass roots to professional stadia level. Embracing categories of entry covering sport, young people and the environment, the awards 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.
Commenting on the high standard of award winners, IOG chief executive Geoff Webb, says: “This year’s winners demonstrate the high standards of groundsmanship within the UK. To win the award against such stiff competition is testament to the skill and dedication of the teams and individuals who - week in, week out in all weathers - make such a vital contribution to sport.”