Keeping Your Ground In Decent Knick

How to keep your ground playable: come rain or shine.

Stay vigilant and take action as soon as you can!  

In order to keep your players happy and motivated it’s important that you keep your ground in a decent condition – fail to do so and you might well find that your players will leave to play at another ground that offers them better facilities. Regardless of what sport you host, it’s crucial to take good care of both the ground that you play on, as well as the amenities that come with it, they are a source of pride for your players, members and supporters.

I’ve put down just a few suggestions for what you should keep an eye out for in order to keep your pitch in good condition:

Dumping & Fly-Tipping

For many people a large open green space is a wonderful thing, especially in a built up urban city area, however there are the minority who see this green space as an opportunity to dump unwanted construction materials, broken white-goods and other such trash that they might otherwise have to pay to dispose of. Fly-tipping is a nationwide issue that affects landowners across the country, for sports clubs it can be a real nuisance as club members and groundsmen have to allocate precious time to getting rid of this refuse, rather than spending time on working the ground.

How to avoid it? Make sure grounds are inaccessible to the public when it’s not in use. Strong, high gates and fences might not look very attractive but neither does a tip’s worth of rubble

Unauthorised Users

Whilst it’s always good to know that your grounds is being used, sometimes a lovely green open space can attract the kinds of people who might undo the good work that your groundsmen have been doing. Under-age drinkers, delinquents and dog walkers are just a few of the people who can disturb well-laid turf, leave scattered piles of rubbish, light fires and generally cause a nuisance – this isn’t good for the reputation of the club and it certainly isn’t good for the ground.

How to avoid it? Short of keeping a nightwatchman on duty whilst the club is out of use, it can be hard to stop unauthorised users. A top security system and anti-vandal measures can help keep people out though.

Stay Vigilant for Invasive Plants

Britain is a country of avid gardeners which, as nice that sounds, does have its downsides…this country is plagued by numerous invasive plants that are incredibly hardy, fast-growing and can give even the fittest groundsman a heart-attack. Giant hogweed, Rhododendron ponticum, Himalayan balsam and, of course, Japanese knotweed can all play a part in making your ground unplayable, so it’s vital that you keep an eye out for all off them.

How to avoid it? Constant vigilance and immediate action are what’s required to keep on top of invasive plants. Sites like offer advice and professional treatment services for those serious about treating their grounds.

Protection from the Elements

Any groundskeeper worth their salt will be able to tell you how much rainfall and sunlight affects a pitch on a day-to-day basis. If you’re hoping to get consistent games on your ground and make sure that your players become comfortable playing at home then you should protect the vulnerable sections of your ground from any unnecessary water or sun-damage. A cricket wicket that has not been protected from the rain is not worth playing on and could lead to your club being fined by governing body of your league.

How to avoid it? Investing in covers is a must for any grounds that are used during the summer months, the English weather is unpredictable so it’s good to have a man close by to protect the ground as and when.

Best Ever World Cup Moment

It’s finally here: The 2018 FIFA World Cup!

Like any avid football fan, I eagerly await every international football competition, anticipating every little thing that comes with a tournament that is set on such a grand stage.

The gossip, the drama, the knockouts, the thrill and the spills! Each time either the Euros or the World Cup rolls around our country is gripped with football fever that proves the sport to be one of the great levellers in our culture. This cultural impact has only got wider with the proliferation of the internet, so we can expect this World Cup to be the most watched (and most discussed) yet.

As the world has slowly become more and more connected over the years, we’ve been able to share our passion with the further reaches of the planet who can now watch along with us in real-time. Reactions, GIFs, YouTube commentaries, social media, blog posts: there are so many different ways to comment on the action that there’s really no excuse not to get in on the action. Before the games kick off in earnest, I thought I’d share some of my all-time favourite World Cup moments, with the aid of YouTube…

Roy Keane walks out of the Korea Japan 2002 Tourney

There was no other topic of conversation worth discussing that year other than Roy Keane’s mysterious exit from the Japanese/Korean World Cup, which briefly brought the attention of the world bearing down on the tiny island of Saipan and even became the subject of a hugely successful stage-show, which has been performed as recently as 2015. To this day it’s unclear what caused then captain, Roy, to exit the side…

Austria Nearly Cause An Upset in Pre-War Italy

The pre-war Austrian International team of the 30s is widely considered to be one of the finest teams assembled and are frequently referred to as the ‘Wunderteam’ by journalists and fans alike. Led by the sublime Matthias Sindelar, the Wunderteam played with a revolutionary style that was virtually unstoppable…until they were stopped, that is. Their streak of victories was put to an end by the hosts who halted them from reaching the Final.

Dennis Bergkamp Surprises the World

Known to many as ‘the perfectionists’ perfectionist’, Dennis Bergkamp was a celebrated player of his time who was known for holding himself to extremely high standards (he’s so enamoured with it that the first chapter in his biography was titled ‘It Has To Be Perfect’). Although Bergkamp has expressed dissatisfaction with his career, something not totally unexpected from a man so obsessed with perfection, he has gone on record stating that his three-touch goal in Holland and Argentina’s quarter-final match was a ‘perfect’ moment.

Pele & Brazil Stun Italy for Third Trophy

No discussion of legendary World Cup moments can ignore the might of Brazil and one legend in particular: Pele. The winning Brazilian side of 1970 has been hailed as one of best, featuring the likes of Jairzinho, Tostao, Rivelino and, of course, Pele. This team was the first to win the tournament three times and their 4-1 win over Italy has been remembered as one of the greatest in the tournament’s history. This Carlos Alberto goal attests to the perseverance and dexterity of this side.

Financial Pitfalls Your Club Could Face

I speak from experience when I say that it’s not easy running any sports club.

With so many variables, risks and dangers coming a-cropper in the day to day running of a sport’s team, I thought I’d detail a few of the big ones you should look out for.

It doesn’t matter what the sport is; organising a disparate group of individuals to team together and meet once or twice a week can be next to impossible – and we’ve not even taken into consideration the financial side of things.

These are the most likely financial pitfalls that you could face:

Poorly Maintained Ground

If your ground is poorly maintained then you are putting yourself at financial risk. Like it or not, the members of your club don’t just play for you because they like your company, they play at your ground because you have facilities worth playing on. The maintenance of the ground is where a large proportion of their fees should be going on, it’s a point of pride for many players and also contributes to their enjoyment of the game. If you neglect your ground, your players will find a better club to play for and you’ll fold.

Personal Injury Lawsuits

Sports can often be dangerous. Contact games like football or rugby can often be the epicentres of horrific injuries and serious accidents, which is why it’s crucial for your club to be completely covered by insurance at the start of each and every season. Remember that accidents can also occur off the pitch but still within the grounds. Overzealous drinking, raucous private parties and even slips in the shower should all be covered on your policy so that you can avoid any nasty legal surprises.

Theft and Loss

Athletic clubs are often chosen as targets by opportunistic thieves and burglars, in order to avoid becoming the victim of these criminals it’s a good idea to invest in a decent security system that can be easily operated by all club key-holders. Cash handling duties must also be followed strictly, the bar manager should deposit any takings from the bar into a secure safe at the end of each night and should have a clear line of communication with the club treasurer. As with any business, transparency is absolutely necessary when dealing with club finances.

Crumbling Club House

I’ve already mentioned the importance of keeping your ground in good shape, but the same also applies to your club house. In order to keep attracting new players you’ll need to make sure that your club house stays in good shape, that means staying on top of maintenance issues and updating where necessary and within your means. Fail to do so and your problems will compound forcing you to spend more money on surveying equipment and construction teams to sort out the mess.

Licensing Fines

Finally, one of the most common reasons for club closures is often because of a simple oversight in licensing. In order for your club to sell alcohol you need to ensure that you are licensed to so by the government and local authorities. Without the correct papers you will be liable to a hefty fine that could easily cripple any sports club for good. Make sure that your licenses are up-to-date and correct before the start of each season.