Grassroots Football Awards
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Paul Wade of Orpington FC collects Grounds Team of the Year in our Grassroots Awards

This month sees all of our winners revealed in the FA Grassroots Football Awards, supported by McDonald's. We'll be unveiling a winner each day between Sunday 16 August and Friday 28 August in the build-up to the FA Community Shield supported by McDonald's, when our winners would usually be present to collect their awards. Today, we hear more about our Grounds Team of the Year...

Wednesday 19 Aug 2020
Paul Wade, of Orpington FC, doing what he does best...

Paul Wade is a man who’s passionate about pitches.

In over 15 impressive years of dedicated service to his beloved Orpington FC, he’s hardly taken a holiday during the months of the football season. Paul has turned his hand to a variety of roles at the club including the club secretary and the safeguarding officer, but it’s as the club groundsman that he has really made his name. 

Single-handedly maintaining each of the 16 pitches at Goddington Park, Paul can be found giving his all three days a week, cutting the grass, spiking the pitches, painting the lines and cleaning the changing rooms to ensure all facilities are kept sparkling clean and game-ready.

Paul is a friendly bloke who has built great relationships with park users and the local borough council, but he’s not afraid to make the tough and potentially unpopular decisions when it comes to calling games off.

He intuitively knows the pitches, the park and the drainage system and how it works and behaves. Paul knows when it’s safe to play or not. He also knows whether the pitches should be played on or If they need to be rested due to the weather conditions, thereby preserving the top quality of the pitches.

Recently, Paul was approached to provide work experience for an 18 year old with special educational needs, an opportunity which he fully embraced despite his busy and demanding schedule. He created a terrific programme, making every minute an enjoyable and memorable one.

Paul’s commitment to the club, not to mention his perseverance and stamina have made him a popular and much-loved figure at Orpington FC.

By FA Staff