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Groundsman Paul becomes a Galáctico!

Posted on Thursday 12 March 2009

A former Myerscough student has become Head Groundsman for Spanish football giants Real Madrid.

Paul Burgess has achieved his dream of working on the continent after 13 successful years at Arsenal, where he has been Head Groundsman since 2000. He is now tasked with making the Bernabeu pitch the best in Europe after leaving the Emirates pitch in the capable hands of his assistant Paul Ashcroft – another former Myerscough student!

Sunny Spain is a long way from Blackpool’s Bloomfield Road where Paul began his career 15 years ago after leaving the College with a National Diploma in Sportsturf. He joined Arsenal in 1996 and took over Steve Braddock's Head Groudsman duties at Highbury four years later, winning the Premier League Groundsman of the Year award three times and overseeing the laying of the new pitch at Emirates. He was also used as a consultant for UEFA during Euro 2008.

He commented: “I’ve always wanted to work for one of the big teams on the continent and felt that the timing was right. We made the move to the Emirates and proved that we can maintain, and even improve the standard from the pitch we had at Highbury.

“I already have several ideas to improve the playing surface at the Bernabeu and everything is being looked at ahead of next season. I’ll miss Arsenal but my heart is now with Real Madrid!”

Paul Ashcroft, who has been at Arsenal for eight years, is now looking forward to the challenge of becoming Head Groundsman. He said: “Paul leaves behind some big shoes to be filled but I can’t wait to meet the challenge of maintaining one of the premier sport pitches in the world.”

The picture shows Paul Burgess (left) wishing Paul Ashcroft all the best as he hands over the management of the Emirates pitch.

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