The EFL Grounds Teams of the 2020/21 Season has been revealed for each of the three divisions, so scroll ahead to see who has won.
The campaign just gone has been extremely challenging for all Clubs in relation to their pitches but, as ever, ground staff have produced some superb work.
Carrying out a tremendously important job to prepare their respective pitches for matches and maintain them throughout the calendar, things were made more difficult due to the lack of time to carry out pitch maintenance and renovations at the end of the 19/20 season, along with the intense fixture schedule following the outbreak of Covid in March 2020.
As the 2020/21 campaign draws to a close, grounds teams up and down the country have been recognised for their continued committment and efforts.
Here’s a list of this season’s winners:
Grounds Team of the Season – Watford
Highly Commended – AFC Bournemouth
Highly Commended- Stoke City
“I’d just like to thank my staff for their hard work and contribution in what has been a very difficult year for us,” said Tingley of Watford.
“It’s nice. Everyone wants a pat on the back but at the end of the day we don’t really do it for that. It’s a job, but it’s more than a job as well, it’s a passion. It’s nice to be rewarded, it’s nice for people to notice it. It’s good for the lads as well, for my team to understand it is appreciated. We’ve got one lad in particular who’s a Watford fan and to him it means everything.”
“It’s a job, but it’s more than a job as well: it’s a passion. It’s nice to be rewarded, it’s nice for people to notice it.”
👏 @tingers_123 and his team have deservedly been recognised as the Championship Grounds Team of the Season.
— Watford Football Club (@WatfordFC) May 12, 2021
Grounds Team of the Season – Doncaster Rovers
Highly Commended – Plymouth Argyle
Highly Commended – Portsmouth
Highly Commended – Shrewsbury Town
Head grounds man for Doncaster, Andy Thompson said: “We have been highly-commended for a few seasons so to go one better and win it this year is brilliant and is testament to the hard-work and dedication of my team throughout a very testing 12 months. The team have gone beyond what is expected of them, so they could produce a playing surface and training ground to benefit the club.
“It’s been the most intense playing schedule in memory and to keep the pitch in the condition it is has taken a lot of time and effort – I can’t thank everyone enough for their commitment and efforts over the last 12 months.
“Every club in the country have had a very difficult winter and it’s testament to all grounds staff throughout the leagues to be able to produce pitches that they should all be very proud of. We have been recognised along with other top surfaces, and this is an award I personally am honoured to receive on behalf of our team.”
Rovers’ grounds staff win 2020/21 Sky Bet League One grounds team of the season.
— Doncaster Rovers FC (@drfc_official) May 12, 2021
Grounds Team of the Season – Forest Green Rovers
Highly Commended – Carlisle United
Highly Commended – Cheltenham Town
Forest Green said: “Nigel Harvey and his team at the innocent New Lawn beat Carlisle United and Cheltenham Town to the award – and the ground staff have produced some fantastic work throughout the campaign.
“Things were made more difficult this season due to the lack of time to carry out pitch maintenance and renovations at the end of the 19/20 season, along with the intense fixture schedule for this season following the outbreak of COVID-19 in March 2020.”
🏆 Outstanding work from Nigel and his team this season!
— Forest Green Rovers (@FGRFC_Official) May 12, 2021
Fans have reacted as the EFL Grounds Teams of the 2020/21 Season are revealed…
@DaveMor54975245 (on Watford): Fully deserved guys, congratulations, best pitch in the UK let alone EFL 😀
@callumrjb (on Doncaster): Fully deserved. Best pitch in the league
@ryan_kitch: Was never in doubt due to the fact rovers didn’t show up to home game for the 2nd half of the season 🤷♂️ #drfc
@seanbaker87 (on Forest Green): Good news. Well done to all the team involved in that
@Lee_FGR (on Forest Green): AND with no chemicals!
@DonovanPurves99: Hahah yeah not Birmingham who have had 2 teams playing on it week in week out 👌
@JPouch: No Newport????
@CafcTom18: defo not peterborough has to be the worst pitch i’ve seen this season
@jackolesliepafc: Superb work as always from Argyle 🚜💚
@pfcchaz: Peterborough Robbed
@PAFC_Displays (on Plymouth): Yes @chrisralph83 and the boys!!! Fully deserved!!!
@jackolesliepafc (on Plymouth): Year on year their hard work gets the deserved plaudits 👏🏻 Best groundsmen in the league 💚
@MartinPafc17 (on Plymouth): Best grounds people in the league
@ashleyarnell3 (on Portsmouth): Only consistency we have at this club.
@thiskidloftus (on Portsmouth): Such a shame we had bunch of unpassionate and low quality players playing there.
@HarryGardner26 (on Portsmouth): not a shock, our pitch is always 😍😍
@surreypomp (on Portsmouth): So well done pitch past few years has been mega
🌱 #Pompey‘s grounds team have been ‘highly commended’ by the EFL
— Portsmouth FC (@Pompey) May 12, 2021
👏 Congratulations the Argyle grounds team who have been recognised for the outstanding condition of the Home Park pitch during the 20/21 @SkyBetLeagueOne campaign.
— Plymouth Argyle FC (@Only1Argyle) May 12, 2021
Congratulations to groundsman Matt Utteridge and his team with the pitch at the Jonny-Rocks Stadium being ‘highly commended’ in the EFL 2020/21 Grounds Teams of the Season awards in League Two. #ctfc pic.twitter.com/ajtXGUfB8J
— (C)heltenham Town (@CTFCofficial) May 12, 2021
Pitch marks are provided by the referee and away team manager for all EFL League matches. The three Clubs from each division with the highest divisional average are then visited by Neil Rodger from the Sports Turf Research Institute where further assessments are carried out, which cover pitch quality, environmental conditions and usage and resources and management.Once all club visits have taken place, in-depth reports and recommendations are submitted to the Playing Surfaces Committee, at which point winners are determined. The winners of each division will receive a trophy and certificate.Highly Commended Clubs will receive a certificate