Grounds Management Association Young Board of Directors
Liam Balmer 'S STORY
Groundsman, Fulham Football Club

Liam Balmer

Groundsman, Fulham Football Club

Reading time: 3 minutes


GMA Young Board

CAREER IN GROUNDSMANSHIP BRINGING ENVIABLE OPPORTUNITIES

Liam’s 13 year old self probably wouldn’t have believed it if he’d been told his future would include getting to work on maintaining the 2012 Olympic rugby training pitch at St Mary’s University, or being part of the team to win an award for making the University of Surrey one of the top four university grounds in the UK... Or that he’d be asked to be a Young Board member!

Using the board as his platform he’s excited to help promote groundsmanship to the younger generation across the country.

To be part of the GMA Young Board of Directors is a wonderful feeling. Being surrounded by people who have the same love for the job as you, to talk to people to hear their ideas and views and being able to help promote groundsmanship to the younger generation across the country is so enjoyable.

Liam explains: "I decided from a young age that I wanted to work outside and was aged 13 when I got my first taste of volunteer groundsmanship at my local football club Ashford Town (Middlesex) Football Club. I left school in the summer of 2010, with reasonable GCSE results and decided to focus on pursuing a career in groundsmanship. After applying for many jobs, eventually I got offered a two-year Level 2 Horticulture apprenticeship at Kingston Garden Services. I learned many aspects of groundsmanship in this role, but the highlight was maintaining the 2012 Olympic rugby training pitch at St Marys University, Twickenham which was used by international players from Ireland, South Africa and China.

"In 2012, I made the move to the grounds team at the University of Surrey in Guildford and during my time there the grounds team was presented with awards for one of the top four university grounds in the UK. It was a real privilege to be part of this team and to have our hard work recognised nationally."

With such an incredible career already, what's next for you? "Currently I'm working at Motspur Park, the Fulham Football Club training ground, maintaining the pitches and the surrounding area of the club's premises. But in the future I'm hoping to keep training and to gain as many qualifications as I can. I'm looking into starting my Level 2 in sports turf and would also like to do my PA2 spraying certificate."

"Having a career in groundscare can be demanding, but is also really rewarding. In my current role it's been very challenging keeping the pitches at the best possible standard throughout the year, to try and help the club regain its Premier League status. But it's worth it when you get such good feedback from the players and staff on the quality of the pitches." 

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