My second office: Alan Ferguson

By |  August 20, 2013

Alan Ferguson, head groundsman for St. George’s Park near Burton-Upon-Trent, England, has his roots in golf. He started his career working at the Old Course at St. Andrews. But one glance at his office makes it clear: Ferguson is a sports turf manager through and through these days.

Alan Ferguson

Alan Ferguson, head groundsman for St. George’s Park near Burton-Upon-Trent, England. Photo by Seth Jones

The former head groundsman at Portman Road (home of Ipswich Town FC,) Ferguson now manages the turf at St. George’s Park, the official home of the English national soccer team. The facility has 11 soccer fields — including one that is manicured to be an exact replica of the field at Wembley Stadium — in order to give the team the feeling of their home pitch.

  1. Croatia versus England. “Those jerseys are signed by England and Croatia, from 2003. England won 3-1. This was during the rebuilding of Wembley Stadium, so they played the game at Portman Road, where I was the head groundsman. It was the first time an international game was played in Suffolk, England.”
  2. Ready for some football. “Those helmets are from what they call the International Series — American football games played at Wembley Stadium. I went down to help out and picked these up. That game has become real popular here. By the way, I’ve never seen anything like that, American football is fascinating!”
  3. Some bubbly. “That bottle was given to me by the chairman of St. George’s Park upon the grand opening of the park. I drank the champagne and kept the bottle as a memento — I don’t think I’ll be getting too many more bottles of champagne from the chairman in my career.”
  4. The Royal Spade. “That spade was part of a ceremony where we planted the eight millionth tree in the national forest that we are a part of. The Royal Highness Prince William did a few sprinkles, I did the rest. They’re lovely people, easy to talk to, just like you’re sitting there having a cup of coffee. Years ago I met Prince William’s father, he was equally laid back. It’s a real honor to meet the royal family in your professional career.”

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