Following on from winning the Derbyshire FA Groundsman Award back in July, this is a fantastic achievement for Roger as he has been a member of Sleetmoor United FC and ADASC FC previously, for the last 20 years.
Starting as a coach and manager, taking on various club roles over the years and eventually becoming part of the ground staff nearly seven years ago.
Roger is fully committed to maintaining all the seven grass pitches at Sleetmoor United FC and will generally spend approximately eight hours a week on a voluntary basis on a restricted budget.
The club have recently been successful applying for funding via the Football Foundation to purchase new machinery equipment, and Roger is absolutely delighted as it will further improve the pitches and make his job easier, he said; “I must say what an absolute pleasure it was to actually win the FA National Groundsman Award for 2019.
“There is no doubt about the condition of the facility - it has been well looked after for years by Barry, Eric, Malc and myself and it is with a little regret, that with only myself now at the helm, it appears I take all the glory.
“Hence, I must thank the following people, for leaving me such a good foundation to follow; Barry Newton, Eric Bacon (sadly Eric is no longer with us) and Malc Gratton.
“On receiving my invitation to St George’s Park, for the nationals, I expected to go along for the day, meet some people, have a tour of the site etc, and nothing more.
“However, sitting in the auditorium, with only one award left to be handed out, I took a moment to reflect - was I there just for the day, or could I have actually won?
“It took a second or two to sink in, when my name was called out as national winner, I was absolutely stunned, but elated nonetheless.
“Sleetmoor United FC had the best Step 7 grounds in the country - it doesn’t get any better than that.
“What a fantastic achievement for me personally, for the club and its members, for Derbyshire FA who have supported me throughout, and for Mark Robinson at Rigby Taylor too.
“Finally I would like to say, together we won the national award!”
Liam Rooney, Football Development Manager at Derbyshire County FA added; “On behalf of everyone at Derbyshire FA I would like to congratulate Roger on winning the FA Groundsman of the Year for groundsmen and Step 7 and below, it is an amazing achievement given all the fantastic groundsmen we have across the country.
“It is fully deserved, especially due to all the roles that Roger has within Sleetmoor United FC.
“Following a pitch visit we carried out in May 2019, it was clear to see that Roger takes huge pride in maintaining all the grass pitches at Sleetmoor United and the quality of the pitches is testament to Roger given the current machinery he has at his disposal.
“I am sure that once the new machinery arrives Roger will continue to raise the bar and provide the perfect playing surfaces for all the players within Sleetmoor United FC.”
For more information regarding support developing grass pitches through the Pitch Improvement Programme, which is delivered by Derbyshire FA in partnership with the Institute of Groundsmanship, please contact Liam Rooney, Football Development Manager at Derbyshire FA, at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 01332 361422.