Alfreton Town groundsman Rob Brookes has been named as the best groundsman in the Football Conference.
The Impact Arena playing surface received the highest marks from the judges, the groundsmen from Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United who scrutinised every Conference pitch.
During the club’s first ever season in the Blue Square Bet Premier Division, numerous visiting officials, players, fans and match day officials had praised the excellent condition of the surface.
Confirmation as to just how good it is came last week an with official notification from the Football Association.
The judges reported a particularly high standard of groundsmanship across the country despite the adverse winter weather. And yet it was a winter which saw not one postponement at Alfreton.
Rob, 40, took over the role of Reds groundsman five years ago and he has been directly responsible for turning the Impact Arena pitch into a spectacularly good playing surface with noticeable year-on-year improvements.
Rob said: “I was happy when I was named in the original top five, but to be named as the number one is brilliant.”
In second place was Conference North groundsman Graham Osbourne at FC Halifax Town, third was Stewart Ward at Forest Green Rovers.
Highly commended were Paul Eddlestone at Hyde FC and Peter Howard at Farnborough.
The first-placed groundsmen from each league will each be presented with a trophy at their respective grounds, and will be invited for a celebration at Wembley at an England international fixture later in the year.
In addition, the FA will be hosting a ‘Winners Day’ in October for all the nominated groundsmen in each award category.
Rob is also in charge of the club’s brand new training pitch at the Somerlea Park Community Centre in Somercotes.
Meanwhile, last season’s players’ player of the year and supporters’ player of the year, Anton Brown, has penned a new one-year contract with the Reds. Central defender Greg Young has been released from his contract by mutual consent and has joined Conference North club Gainsborough Trinity.