By Randy Osae
The Emirates Stadium has lost one key incentive to its beauty.
Arsenal’s home turf has endured football activity for over a couple of years now, but seldom are blushes spotted on the gentle pitch.
That was courtesy of chief groundsman, Paul Burgess, who has sensationally departed to serve Real Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu.
Paul is a well-renowned man in his business, having won three of often nominations for the Premier League Groundsman of the Year gong after being employed at Arsenal at the age of 22. He had also scooped the Institute of Groundsmanship Award and the 2008 Turf Professional of the Year Award.
Mr. Burgess has relations with UEFA in ground caring for European competitions – making it evident that Arsenal had the ultimate groundsman in him, and helped the Emirates Stadium being recognized as one of the world’s leading sports venues.
“I wasn’t looking to leave Arsenal, but I’ve always said that one day I would like to work for one of the big teams on the continent. I just think the timing is right. We’ve made the move to Emirates now, and proved that we can maintain, and even improve the standard, from the pitch we had at Highbury.” Paul explained.
“I had a great time at Arsenal, I’m proud of what I’ve done here, and I think that I’ve also left a legacy on the whole of the Premier League. The lighting system that we introduced is used by most other teams over here now as well, and I think if you judge the standard of pitches in the Premier League across the board, they are much better than five years ago.
“I would like to thank everyone at Arsenal, particularly Arsène Wenger for all of his support, and I’ll miss life at the Club.
“I’ve got an exciting challenge ahead of me, but I can assure Arsenal fans that the Emirates pitch is in very safe hands under Paul Ashcroft and his team.”
Burgess’s assistant Paul Ashcroft will now fill the void of Head Groundsman.
Hopefully, the Emirates Stadium’s field will remain tidy and football-suited as it has been.