Meet The Grassroots Groundsperson -Andy Burrell , is a blog direct from maybe one of the most picturesque winter sport grounds in Britain. Andy is new to groundsmanship and we ask him a few questions about his journey so far.
Can you tell us a little about you and your club and location?
My name is Andrew Burrell also known as (buzz) I have been playing football for as long as I can remember. I’m a player manager/ groundsmen for Ullswater United FC which is based in Patterdale Cumbria. The club has been running for 125 years and I have been with the club eight years plus, the ground is absolutely stunning with surrounding areas that make you stop and think. This is grassroots at its finest, that is my personal opinion!
How did you become a volunteer Grounds Person?
I think when you’re that invested in a football club and at grassroots level you tend to get involved with trying help do everything mark lines, put up nets on a mate’s shoulders ten minutes before kick-off. So, when I took over as manager, I wanted the best pitch as possible to attract good players to the club, as a player it’s not something you think too much about just about playing. But when you start to do work on the pitch you become part of it and want it to be perfect.
On applying for the funding, I did the GMA maintenance level one in grounds maintenance and from there l picked up things along the way. I have had a good community to help and guide me and I am constantly talking to other groundsmen from the area, Tom Banks from KO has been incredible as has Gary from pleasant view sports grounds.
What sources of funding has the club gained?
I myself applied for the football foundation funding grant alongside the KGV of King George playing field who help with investment as well. It has been a huge investment not just the football club but to the field itself, which is shared between Patterdale Cricket Club and various day events (dog day & triathlons). With this funding we were able to get the kubota B2261 tractor with CRX wessex multicut & sisis quadraplay which has made a huge impact to the pitch.
What soil type do you sit on and how does this affect your drainage, also considering your wet location?
We sit on freely draining acid loamy, since having the funding and getting the pitch deep aerated and scarified it’s made a huge difference especially in the winter months.
Favourite bits of kits and most essential, if you could choose one?
Pitch fork is defiantly an essential part of the kit, but the sisis quadraplay, has been huge investment and showing what I do through some of the pictures provided.
What is the best advice that you been given and you have put in to action?
Mostly understanding the pitch and your location and budget. I can get huge pitch envy when seeing quality grounds getting work done on it. Because at our location you can be lucky to get on the pitch to sort it with the weather we have in Cumbria, especially this time of the year.
In the coming year what is your desire to learn more about?
For me it’s just picking up the little things as I go along, but always good to listen and learn from what other have to say. I am a practical learner and just try to get on with things making mistakes along the way, but that is just how I learn.
If anyone was in a similar position as you, starting their journey into groundsmanship, what advice would you have for them?
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes as you most certainly will, but also love what you do. It’s a passion not just a job, everyone wants the perfect pitch, but understand your budget and location and weather conditions all vary.
Why do you do what you do in giving up your time maintaining the pitch, what do you get out of it?
It is a good time-consuming job, to get away from the wife and kids!! But for me it’s for the love of the sport itself, everything from putting out the flags sorting the nets, to pitch forking and line marking and learning each time on how to perfect the pitch.
Meet The Grassroots Groundsperson -Andy Burrel
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