ENTRIES are invited for the Suffolk Groundsman of the Year 2020 competition.
The competition, which is once again being sponsored by Ransomes Jacobsen, is open to clubs who play at Step 7 and below in the county.
Clubs playing at Step 6 and above are eligible to enter separate competitions which are run nationally by The FA.
In addition to the prestige of being crowned as Groundsman of the Year, the winning groundsman will win £200 for his club to be spent on groundscare equipment.
The runner-up will receive £100 and the third-placed groundsman £50.
All three groundsmen will be invited to attend the Suffolk FA Awards Ceremony later in the year to be presented with their prizes.
The 2020 competition will be the fourth year that Ransomes Jacobsen have been sponsors, and UK Sales Director Will Carr said: “Football teams everywhere rely on the great work of groundsmen and women who dedicate so much time and effort in to maintaining the surfaces we play on.
“Many in the game are volunteers too and we can’t thank them enough for the social and sporting opportunities they create for our industry.
“It is important that groundsmanship is recognised and rewarded at all levels and I urge all eligible clubs to nominate their groundsman for the award; it is a fantastic way to show your appreciation for all their hard work.
"We look forward to celebrating Suffolk Groundsmanship in our community throughout 2020 and beyond!”
Suffolk FA Football Development Manager Jodie Allard said: “We are really pleased to support the launch of the Groundsman of the Year competition again this season. Thank you again to our sponsors Ransomes for their invaluable support with the competition.
“The majority of groundsmen within the grassroots game are volunteers who dedicate many hours of their time – come wind, rain or shine – to giving players the opportunity to play football on well-maintained football pitches.
“The standard of pitches being judged within this competition has improved season-on-season and we are anticipating another competitive year.”
Coddenham Athletic Secretary Joel Windsor (left) talking to judges Ben Connell (centre) and Will Parker (right) during judging of last season's competition. Main photograph: Claydon groundsman Tony Adams (left) talking to Ben Connell and fellow judge Rob Hayward of sponsors Ransomes Jacobsen
To enter please complete the below entry form and return to Lily Chiang, Marketing Apprentice, Suffolk FA, Bill Steward House, The Buntings, Kestrel Drive, Stowmarket IP14 5GZ or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The closing date for entries is 5pm on Wednesday, February 5th 2020. Judging will take place in the fortnight thereafter.
Suffolk, along with each County FA, will collate their nominations and submit and submit their top three applications to The FA, with the winner going forward for judging at the national stage of the competition and undergo independent adjudication.
Now in its 13th year, The FA’s Groundsmen of the Year awards were set up to recognise the contribution of these unsung heroes of the grassroots game and encourage the development of groundsmanship.
The majority of football in this country is played outside the Football League. Quality pitches are therefore essential for the development of football at every level Grassroots groundsmen, the vast majority of whom are volunteers, plays a huge role in ensuring pitches are in the best possible condition week in, week out.
The awards were set up to recognise the contribution of these ‘unsung heroes’, who work in all weather, all year round, to make sure that thousands of matches can take place on a high standard of playing surface.