I'm not sure if it's enough to nudge the Ash-o-Meter, or if this story is really even important. That said, it's too good not to share with you all. Apparently the Premier League groundsman of the year award was given recently and Villa (grounds)keeper Jonathan Calderwood was - I can only assume - absolutely robbed of the award by whoever the grass-hole is at Manchester City. Calderwood ended up tied for second place with the crews at Arsenal and Tottenham.
But lest he should despair, Calderwood can look to a pillar of objectivity, fairness, and justice for judgment:
"...the job the groundsman does is fantastic. To have a pitch with so much green, you just want to go out there and play, especially when the sun’s shining – it’s even better."
So says Villa star Ashley Young in a story brought to us today by the Birmingham Mail's Mat Kendrick. I'd encourage you to go read the entire piece over there as it is absolutely delightful. We learn of the terror that the Irish groundskeeper instills in the players and the way in which they strive to leave the pitch in as good of condition as they found it.
It's not something I would have thought of normally, though. Who has the worst pitch in the premiership, I wonder? And would something like that impact a players decision of where to play? Logically, it seems as if a player would like to go somewhere where there is at least a high level of pitch-maintenance, as it would help to improve their on-field performance and aid in avoiding injuries.
Regardless of what this means for Ashley Young's future at Aston Villa (absolutely nothing), it's good to know that the club have the Irish version of Groundskeeper Willie on their side.