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RUGBY


I’m a big believer that, if you don’t know if it is working, why would


you chuck it on - I just don’t get that


What are the main pressures of the job?


My job role here is varied. I go from overseeing the surfaces to changing sponsor boards, right through to making car parks and stands accessible in winter then supervising flood defence installation at the training ground. The main pressure is keeping the stadium pitch at the highest possible standard and that means a lot of communication between myself and both sets of coaching staffs plus club staff. At times, I end up being like Kofi Annan and bringing out my diplomatic skills. Carnegie might want a session before their game but, if it’s hammering down, you haven’t let them on. If Rhino’s want one the week after and they’re let on, Carnegie are well within their rights to ask the question, then you have to go and explain the decision which consumes a lot of time.


Where do you see your future? I’m comfortable and I enjoy it here. I


appreciate the club,the people and I enjoy the game. I help out in the sport as a whole, whether that’s rugby league or rugby union, I always try and help people outside of the sport and I get the freedom to do that here. We are unique; I can have direct communication with the director of rugby whereas, in other sporting organisations, you have to go through numerous people to get to the director of a sport. It would have to be a unique challenge for me to consider leaving Leeds RLFC.


Do you find it difficult to attract staff/ employ apprentices/offer training?


I’m all for getting young people into the industry and there are a lot of views on this. I always try and help kids coming in, but I can’t help but question that, in an era of social media, whether young people are coming into this industry for the right reasons? Do they really want to do the job or just see it as a cool job to be in. Job


titles and social media presence seem to motivate, more than whether you should or shouldn’t actually be going on a pitch, due to it being wet through. I believe, as groundsmen, we have a moral duty to get more people interested in a career in the sportsturf industry.


What piece of advice would you pass on to youngsters getting into the industry?


Don’t just think it’s a cool job - it takes a lot of hard work! If you are willing to put the time in and make sacrifices, the results are worth it.


Industry pay rates?


Fortunately, I am at a great workplace but pay at the bottom, and also at some mid-level positions, is horrendous. It’s unjustifiable really and it’s like we are not a recognised profession. It actually takes everything you learned at school to do this job and more! You go from communication and staff management to using science, maths and English - and you do it every day, without even thinking. It takes a lot more than some other professions and I don’t know why we are not respected as much as we should be. I also believe a lot of groundsmen should take responsibility for that; it’s alright moaning you are not treated equally in your club or environment, but then don’t dress scruffily, with holes in your clothes covered in whitening and moan about your manager every two seconds. Build a relationship with your line manager and show a bit of courage - if they don’t want to get on with you, at least you have tried. Groundsmen love a moan, but nothing is going to change unless we try and change it.


What are your views on industry shows and do you attend?


Ryan loves the Infinicut 68 PC April/May 2019


I attend all of them; they serve a purpose of being able to have all the companies in one place. To me, the networking side is the biggest thing - being able to see guys you haven’t talked to in a while and share ideas over a beer!





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