AFC Fylde’s Groundsman Dan Bunce has been nominated for a second successive year for Non-League’s Groundsman of the Year award.  It’s a fantastic accolade for anyone just to even be nominated and it’s a fine tribute to the club and Dan who spends his free time keeping the Kellamergh Park pitch in tip-top shape week in, week out.

Here Dan spoke to Chris Park about his nomination and what his chances are of going one better and winning it this year.

How honoured are you to be nominated for a second year running?

I’m incredibly honoured, it was fantastic to be nominated last year and win third place, to be nominated again after promotion where the standards are even higher is a great achievement and it is also great for raising the profile of the team.

How do you get nominated for the accolade?

I’m not entirely sure, but I believe there is a scorecard that an away team fills in on all aspects of the opposition team and one of those marks is the quality of the pitch.  They then contact the club and ask if they would like to put the groundsman forward.

What does your role entail leading up to and including a match day?

On a Monday if we have had a game the previous Saturday I will use the rotary mower to clean the surface and clear up any debris that has kicked up during the game.  Then on Wednesday I will do a cylinder cut and roll to push down any divots I have missed.  Thursday I would do the same again, and then again on Friday and also mark out the pitch.

I do change this about if we have a Tuesday night game.  On a match there isn’t really much to do, as I have cut and marked the pitch the day before.  If Chally wants a bit of water on I will do this, but other than that it is just a case of a bit of dividing at half time and then again at full time.

How did you learn the trade?

I have always have a keen interest and read a lot into how football pitches are maintained and prepared.  I have done home study courses and training courses and I’m constantly learning more as I progress with the club and have a good network of local groundsmen who I can contact if I have any questions I need answering.

What do you think your chances of winning of the prize are?  Do you know who you’re up against?

I wouldn’t like to say.  if I’m being honest, the pitch isn’t as good as it was last season, or is it in a position I would like it to be before they judge it.  But I will just have to see how it goes as Doug and Daren from West Ham and Tottenham know what position we as groundsman at this level are in and know how it should be with amount of games, knowledge, budget, equipment, etc.

I’m sure you’ll all join us in wishing Dan the best of luck for the award!