Wow what a fantastic day with one of the UK’s finest gentleman, Mr. Simon Gumbrill. Starting at Wimbledon, progressing through horrendous London traffic to Emirates Stadium, off to the Arsenal Training Ground, and finishing with a pass through the Chunnel to Calais, France and Gent, Belgium for the night. Tomorrow we are off to the Netherlands near Eindhoven and the Koro by Imants factory for a demonstration day, then up to Amsterdam and Europort for the boat back to the eastern UK. Thank you to Simon, to Mr. Richard Campey who I got the pleasure to see at Arsenal today, and thank you as well to Ms. Julia Campey. I could not have enjoyed the day more!
Many, many Thanks to Head Groundsman, Mr. Eddie Seaward, for having me to Wimbledon today, along with Neil Stubley, Head Groundsman Designate. And to Grant for taking time from his tremendously busy day to show us around. Preparing for the Championships and the Olympics, i cant imagine the stress they are under. Grant and I got to talk a bit of hockey today as he is a native of near Edmonton. The way the Capitals sounded to have played in game 5, Oilers may see the Stanley Cup again before DC! I can not put to words the scale and beauty of the 41 grass courts at their club.
Thanks all the same to Mr. Paul Ashcroft for sticking around to say hello, even with us delayed in traffic and him having prior commitments. What a class act of an operation. No wonder he collected the award for Groundsman of the Year in the Premier League. Even with Cooperate events taking place, the pitch is tight and gorgeous green.
And Thanks to Mr. Steve Braddock, Head Groundsman at the Arsenal Training Ground. In the middle of renovations, Steve was very generous with his time to show us around and discuss the different ideas and successes they have through the challenges of such a large scale training ground. Steve’s reputation of perfection is well deserved!
The most amazing part of the day was the sheer kindness and hospitality that these grounds crews showed me- as an American coming in from the outside, I can understand skepticism… There was absolutely none. Amazing. Amazing. What generous and genius individuals that make up these groups. I hope we in America are the same for all our colleagues, large and small. Home and abroad. None of us can succeed without learning and respect. And respect and professionalism is what I saw exhibited the most today.
Thank you gentlemen.
More to come on each visit soon- but off to bed in Belgium for the night.
Hope all is well in the States! Cheers!