GTOTY Shaun Soloman May 2024

Beccles are crowned winners a third time

BECCLES Town are crowned Suffolk FA Grounds Team of the Year for a third time.

BECCLES Town FC have won the Suffolk FA Grounds Team of the Year competition sponsored by Jacobsen Ltd for a third time.

Groundman Shaun Soloman was adjudged the winner of the category for National League System Regional Feeder Clubs and below.

The competition this year attracted a record number of 11 entries, with Beccles Town FC getting the judges’ vote ahead of runners-up Bacton United 89 FC and third-placed Halesworth Town FC.

The other clubs to enter were Claydon FC, Old Newton United FC, Saxmundham Sports FC, Ransomes Sports FC, Sporting 87 FC, Stanton FC, Trimley Sports & Social Club and Woolverstone United FC.

Beccles Town FC groundman Shaun Soloman won the award in both 2019 - the first year the club had entered - and again in 2020 along with joint groundsman Chris Brown.

The 57-year-old, who has been groundsman at the club for seven years, said: “It is not just recognition for me, it is recognition for the club and the town as well. It’s fantastic!

“It is great to see that more money is now being ploughed into grass pitches. I have gone away with our Reserve team to clubs in both Suffolk and Norfolk and I have seen some fantastic pitches this season.”

GTOTY Bacton Utd 89 May 2024

The Judging Panel talking to members of the Bacton United 89 Grounds Team, who were runners-up

Beccles Town FC will win £750, Bacton United 89 FC £500 and Halesworth Town £250. All three clubs will also be invited to the Suffolk FA Awards Ceremony later in the year.

The prize money, in the form of vouchers, will be to spend on grounds equipment.

The Judging Panel comprised of the following:


Ben Connell - Ipswich Town FC Grounds Manager

Adrian Kersey - Ernest Doe & Sons Ltd Area Manager representing competition sponsors Jacobsen 

Tim Parker - Parkers Pitches Consultant

Matt Stebbings - Suffolk FA Football Development Manager


Ben Connell said: “The quality of pitches are getting better and better which is a combination of the dedication of the men and women looking after them and the success of the grant scheme providing machinery to help achieve this.”

Adrian Kersey said: “I was impressed by how many volunteer groundsmen produced top-quality playing surfaces, and their enthusiasm in achieving that.”

Tim Parker said: “The greater number of entrants and quality of pitches has been exceptional this year. It has been a very difficult job to pick a winner!”

GTOTY Trevor Chenery May 2024

Trevor Chenery of Halesworth Town, who placed third in the competition

Matt Stebbings added: “This year has been bigger and better than ever before with more grounds’ teams being recognised for their hard work and dedication.

“A huge well done to everyone who was nominated but special mention to our winners Beccles Town, runners-up Bacton United 89 and third-placed Halesworth Town.

“For grassroots clubs, there is funding to improve the quality of your grass pitches and to purchase grass pitch machinery.”

Any clubs interested in finding out more should get in touch with Matt Stebbings via email

The competition, organised by Suffolk FA, had previously only been open to clubs playing outside the NLS system.

However, due to the generous sponsorship of Jacobsen Ltd, the world-wide renowned turf care specialists who are based in Suffolk, this year’s competition was extended to include a separate category for NLS clubs which was won by Needham Market FC.


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