Linnets Aim For Perfect Pitch: The Walks might be a far cry from the old Wembley Stadium and Portman Road, but Steven Curtis is relishing the change in role after becoming groundsman at King’s Lynn Town Football Club.
Mr Curtis, who has worked at a number of iconic venues during the last 40 years, is enjoying the challenge of trying to make the surface at Lynn pitch-perfect.
So much so that he has even put his property at Beck Row on the market so he can be closer to Lynn.
As if the task in hand wasn’t big enough when he took the job on, the lack of rain during one of the hottest summers for many years has hindered his hard work even further.
“The weather has been horrible for a groundsman,” said Mr Curtis.
“Water has been a problem, as it has been for everyone, and trying to get the pitch green has been a nightmare.
“Richard (Simper) has been an angel, coming in and moving the hose pipes which we’ve had on the go constantly.
“We’ve literally had two hose pipes on the go 24/7 so I think that Mr Cleeve might have a very sorry water bill, but what do you do?
While several players were dusting down their flip-flops for the summer holidays at the end of last season, Lynn’s groundsman was plotting a pristine playing playing surface for the new campaign.
Mr Curtis, 63, was left with the unenviable task of transforming the surface – which came in for much criticism from the club’s previous manager – into tip-top condition after leaving his position at Mildenhall after two-and-a-half years.
Lynn’s pitch had four thousand metres (two-and-a-half miles) of new drainage installed before it was eventually verti-drained, overseeded and fertilised.
“I’ve certainly done my 10,000 steps a day,” quipped Mr Curtis.
“We’ve had to constantly back fill the trenches to keep them topped up. We’ve shifted about 20 tonnes of sand to help us keep it topped up.”
As previous Linnets turf-tenders will concur, sustaining the pitch’s quality throughout a nine-month campaign is a mammoth task considering its heavy-duty usage.
But it isn’t such an issue for Mr Curtis who worked at the old Wembley between 1986 and 1994, along with clubs such as Ipswich, Norwich City, Leyton Orient and Cambridge United during 40 years as a contractor.
“The club approached me and I was happy to come here,” he admitted.
“It was a step up, bigger facilities, better players and better everything really.
“The players have been great and appreciate what has been done, everyone has been great which is why we’ve put our house on the market and our thinking of moving this way.”
And the chances of Lynn having a surface to be proud of come kick-off on August 11?
“At the moment it’s a seven out of ten for me,” said Mr Curtis.
“Come another three weeks and given a bit of moisture, I think we will be there or thereabouts.”
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