A football groundsman is celebrating after his pitch-tending skills were recognised with two prestigious awards - just two years after starting the job.
Stuart Green (41), who is groundsman at Riverside Pavilion in Woodston, came second in the Football Association’s (FA) national groundsman of the year contest and first in the Northants FA groundsman of the year award.
Over 800 groundsmen from football clubs up and down the country were vying for the top prize, with many of them boasting 20 or 30 years’ experience.
But the FA’s judging panel, including Premier League champions Manchester City’s groundsman Lee Jackson, were particularly impressed with Mr Green’s thorough approach to pitch marking, which he carries out using a string marker to ensure very straight lines.
They also liked the fact that he helped the pavilion save £4,000 a month in water bills, by installing a seven metre bore hole so that rain water can be drained into a tank.
Mr Green, who looks after four football pitches at the pavilion, only started training to work as a groundsman three years ago while on a Seetec unemployment course.
He said: “At the time, I was going through a rough patch and was unemployed. I applied for a 10 month groundsman course because I wanted to work outdoors.
“I started work for Northern Star two years ago and came to Riverside last year.
“To win the county groundsman of the year is great but to come second nationally is amazing, it hasn’t sunk in.”
Simon Benton, chairman pavilion, said: “Thanks to him we are proud of our pitches.”