He’s won just about every award the greenkeeping industry has to offer, managed his stadium through tempestuous and terrific times and dealt with as many life-and-death situations as some paramedics.

Now Ian Darler, head groundsman and stadium manager at Cambridge United’s Abbey Stadium for 40 years, tells the story of a life that has seen him rub shoulders with some of the greatest and funniest characters in football, turn out the kind of surfaces players dream of, cross swords with the occasional manager and cope with catastrophes that would have floored a lesser mortal.

Lauded by his peers in the turf management business as one of its most able and dedicated practitioners, Ian has tales to tell about personalities from every echelon of the game. A natural storyteller, he remembers every disaster, every triumph, every tragedy and every side-splitting practical joke. But there have been bad times too. Ian talks about the life-threatening incident that threatened to end his career and plunged him into a very dark place.Throughout the book, men and women who have come to value Ian’s peerless skill and devotion pay tribute to a remarkable man. Priced a £12.99, and with a foreword by England legend and former Cambridge United manager Roy McFarland, Ian’s moving memoirs will be pitching up in July for the club’s Open Day and pre-season friendlies.