Emerald Park's gem of a groundsman

HE'S happiest on the sidelines, but Gorleston Football Club's John Nichols was centre stage at the Groundsman of the Year Awards.The Football Association set up the awards to recognise the grass roots game's unsung heroes and encourage the development of groundsmanship.

HE'S happiest on the sidelines, but Gorleston Football Club's John Nichols was centre stage at the Groundsman of the Year Awards.

The Football Association set up the awards to recognise the grass roots game's unsung heroes and encourage the development of groundsmanship.

John, who was winner at Step 5 and 6 level, was presented with a certificate before the Greens' home game with Fakenham.

It is the latest accolade for the club stalwart, who was highly commended in the same awards two years ago.

Each county FA nominate their top groundsmen in three categories. The county winners are then visited by industry experts from the Institute of Groundmanship who judge the regional winners.

Judges are not only looking at the quality of the pitch, but the groundsman's knowledge, resources, how often the pitch is used and if they are full or part-time.