The Football League has announced the winners of the Groundsman of the Season award for Season 2015/16 in each of the three divisions.
The awards recognise the importance of the quality of pitches for professional football and acknowledge those head groundsmen and their staff who consistently produce the best playing surfaces in The Football League.
In the Sky Bet Championship, Nathan Scarff of Derby County wins the award for the pitch he and his team have produced at the iPro Stadium this season. Tony Bell of Middlesbrough and Ewan Hunter of Nottingham Forest are both highly commended.
The award for Groundsman of the Season in Sky Bet League 1 this year goes to Shrewsbury Town’s Richard Barnett and Dave Saltman, while Glenn Nortcliffe of Sheffield United and David Blacknall of Colchester United are highly commended.
In Sky Bet League 2, Paul Knowles of Northampton Town followed the example of his team by winning the divisional title this season for the excellent pitch at Sixfields. Eric Kingscott of Bristol Rovers and Paul Currier of Oxford United are both highly commended.
Sky Bet Championship
Winner: Nathan Scarff – Derby County
Highly Commended: Tony Bell – Middlesbrough
Highly Commended: Ewan Hunter – Nottingham Forest
Sky Bet League 1
Winner – Richard Barnett/Dave Saltman – Shrewsbury Town
Highly Commended: Glenn Nortcliffe – Sheffield United
Highly Commended: David Blacknall – Colchester United
Sky Bet League 2
Winner: Paul Knowles – Northampton Town
Highly Commended: Eric Kingscott – Bristol Rovers
Highly Commended: Paul Currier – Oxford United
The Football League's Groundsman of the Season Awards are determined initially using marks from referees and away managers for each Sky Bet Football League game and are then followed by detailed pitch inspections and a review of management operations.
These visits were carried out by Dr Stephen Baker, Head of Sports Surface Technology at the Sports Turf Research Institute (STRI).