Pitch perfect is the aim for groundsman Brian Quinnell when he tends to the hallowed turf of Nyewood Lane, the home of BetVictor Premier Division outfit Bognor Regis Town.
And although Brian is happy to concede he may not have attained absolute perfection with his efforts on the grass at the ground, others would argue that he isn’t too far off at all.
Indeed, so well thought of is the pitch on which the Rocks get about their business that Brian has been handed an award by none other than the Football Association (FA). His expertise has been recognised by the FA with the state of the pitch throughout last season cited as “highly commended”.
Brian says he spends countless hours tending the grass and strives to improve the surface for the players every time he brings out a fork to delicately prod away any moisture or gets on a mower to make sure an even cut is administered.
“It takes a lot of man hours to get the pitch in shape but it is worth it when you watch a game and see the lads benefiting from as good a surface as is possible. Lots of people pay me compliments on how nice the pitch looks and how well it plays and this is so satisfying to hear. Our fans are always complimentary about the pitch and we also get nice comments from visiting fans, players and managers as well as match officials. For the FA to recognise this is a real honour. I’ll keep my efforts up and hopefully maintain the high standards which have been set.”
Rocks general manager Simon Cook says for a club of Bognor’s standing to get such a prestigious honour is a measure of the hard work put in by Brian. He said:
“For years manager Jack Pearce has insisted we play a brand of passing football and to do that you need as good a pitch as possible and it means that constant attention is given to the upkeep of the grass and turf. It’s almost a case of a labour of love and that definitely shows. Brian does fantastic work all round to ensure that the pitch is in the best shape possible when kick off comes around.”
Brian received his certificate before the Rocks’ recent home league game against Carshalton Athletic. But there was to be no fairy-tale end to the day for the popular groundsman — alas, Bognor conspired to lose 2-0. They get the chance to put that right when they host Sittingbourne in an FA Cup clash this Saturday, with a kick-off of 3pm.
*Our picture — snapped by Bognor Regis Town club photographer Tommy McMillan — shows Brian receiving his certificate from Simon Cook.