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Interviews

INTERVIEW | DAVE ANDERSON

15 February 2022

We caught up with our Head Groundsman to find out how things have been getting on in terms of pitch management so far this season.

One of the longest-serving members of staff here behind-the-scenes, Barnsley FC Head Groundsman, Dave Anderson has told us he's pleased with how the Oakwell playing surface has coped in this 21/22 campaign to date.

Recently awarded an above average score by opposition management and match officials, Dave believes the investment in extra equipment and a superb team of staff working alongside him have helped breathe new life into a pitch that last season saw the grounds team endure the harshest of campaigns.

"This season's definitely been better for us than last season, up to now, in terms of our side of things." Anderson explained, ahead of Saturday's 1-0 victory over QPR.

"We've had better luck with the weather, and for us to get an above average mark for the first half of the season shows we're doing the right things, because in this division there's a lot of new constructions, whereas ours is something like 25 years old. 

"We've tried a few new techniques this time and it's gone well for us, it's played really well and it's nice that it's been recognised. Last season was really tough for us because we had so little time to prepare between two seasons, what with the COVID fallout and so many games condensed together like they were. 

"But we're always working hard together as a team, whether the pitch is looking good or otherwise. It's a natural thing at the end of the day, it has a mind of its own so there's a lot of luck involved too."

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As Dave referred to, he's surrounded by a good group of staff, all of different ages and backgrounds and alongside the financial investment in a number of extra lighting rigs, the benefits are there for all to see.

"When I first started as the head groundsman, we had no lights. We all have to start somewhere, so we managed to get one lighting rig and that proved just on its own how beneficial it was. 

"They're not cheap though. You're trying to simulate sunlight, they use a lot of elecricity, but it's a necessity in this day and age for us. We've got four of them now, and they've really made a difference. But if you go look at the top clubs, in the Premier League, they've got their entire pitch covered by rigs. 

"For the club to invest like this for us, it's been a massive help. 

"I'm lucky to have great people working alongside me too. My deputy, Dave Bedford, I can bounce things off him, he bounces ideas off me. It takes a lot of pressure off me when you've great colleagues around you. 

"Young Kieran Morley, he got a promotion this year and he's really stepped up, he works hard and does a very good for us. And obviously Al Roberts has been here for as long as anyone can remember, he does three days a week and he's loving it as much as he ever has. 

"Then we've a couple of young apprentices in Josh and Jordan who are coming on really well. They're very keen and I'm getting good reports back in terms of their education too, so it's just a really positive environment right now and long may it continue."


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