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A Tribute To Eddie Seaward

A Tribute To Eddie Seaward: There are some people who leave a mark. Eddie Seaward was definitely one of those people.

He was the man in charge of the All England courts at Wimbledon from 1990, until the London Olympics in 2012 – fittingly taking his final bow as Andy Murray was taking the applause and a Gold Medal.

A Tribute To Eddie Seaward

It is a mark of the esteem in which he was held that his bosses had requested that he put his retirement on hold until after the Olympics, knowing that there was no-one better to peak the iconic courts twice within the space of 20 days.

However, while he shone on the greatest tennis stage of them all – he picked up the monikers of the “Guru of Grass” and the “Grass Whisperer” among others – it was behind the scenes, with his work at the IOG, helping aspiring groundsmen, that really marked him out as a special person.

You often find that the people with the biggest jobs have the biggest hearts and no-one epitomised this better than Eddie.

His lasting legacy are all the young, and now not so young, Head Grounds people, who he mentored and who went on to achieve great things within the industry.

Indeed, there are many others, who didn’t have the good fortune of meeting Eddie in person, but who have been able to witness what is possible, through hard work, dedication and by a genuine willingness to help others.

You can be sure that Eddie will be looking down on the great work that Neil Stubley and his team have continued to produce during the Championships, proud that his legacy is being continued.

Eddie. Thank you for all that you did for groundsmanship.

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Eddie Howe’s Groundsman Tribute

Eddie Howe’s Groundsman Tribute: “He was always positive, welcoming and a true supporter of this football club – I will always remember laughing with him!”

Eddie Howe has given a moving tribute to former Cherries groundsman and referee liaison officer John Harriss, who passed away on Sunday, aged 88.

Eddie Howe's Groundsman Tribute

John, who first started watching from the terraces at Dean Court in 1939, joined the staff in 1970 and spent 37 years tending the pitch.

He died at home just hours after watching on television as Cherries toppled Premier League big guns Arsenal, one of the Dorset club’s most famous victories.

Howe said: “I spoke to John on Friday and he said he wouldn’t be at the game but would be watching. It’s a nice thought to think that was the last game he saw.

“What a character! I will always remember laughing with him about so many different things and that laughter and spirit will remain with me.

“His loss is very sad and will affect a lot of people. Our thoughts are with his wife Deirdre and we would like to send our condolences to her and the family.”

John took his first steps as a groundsman during his National Service at Bulford Camp on Salisbury Plain before joining Cherries as assistant and then head groundsman.

In 2013, his contribution to the club was recognised when he was awarded with a high commendation for the Unsung Hero Award at the Football League Awards in London.

Howe, one of 19 managers he worked alongside, added: “Football clubs are brought together by a lot of different things but people really make them.

“One of my first memories of coming to this club was meeting a groundsman who was obsessed with his pitch and who didn’t want anyone on it.

“He would shout at you for stepping on it, as would most groundsmen, but he had a warmth about him that was different to anyone I had met before.

“Knowing John over a long period of time and seeing him at different stages of his life, he was unique in the fact that he was always positive, always welcoming and was a true AFC Bournemouth supporter.

“We will miss him greatly on matchdays. I used to phone him regularly during the week to talk football and will miss those calls as well.”

Keen to stay involved with the club, John took up a role looking after referees on matchdays and had recently been presented with a shirt by Premier League official Lee Probert as a mark of their thanks to him.

Howe added: “It’s never an easy job when you have managers wanting to vent their frustration at referees but John would always be in the middle mediating!

“The biggest compliment I can give him is every referee who came back here would greet him with a hug and a smile and they would talk about old times. He will be missed by everyone.”

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