Life’s A Pitch – The Groundsman’s Tale

(1 customer review)


He’s won just about every award the green-keeping industry has to offer, managed his stadium through tempestuous and terrific times and dealt with as many life-and-death situations as some paramedics. In October 2020, he was also awarded the British Empire Medal in the Queen’s Honours List for his services to football and charity work.

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. Readers will discover:

  • why Ian is pictured on the front cover in toeless wellies
  • the secrets of a well-tended pitch
  • the perils of working with high-spirited young footballers
  • which manager told him to ignore the pitch and go fishing
  • why he spent one day at work just hanging around
  • the identities of football’s – and fishing’s – greatest characters

With a foreword by former England and Cambridge legend, Roy Macfarland, the book is co-written by Cambridge United’s official archivist Pat Morgan.

Categories: , ISBN: 9781782813842


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1 review for Life’s A Pitch – The Groundsman’s Tale

  1. Neil Weston

    This book represents a rare opportunity. An opportunity to read the experiences of somebody who has 40 years service in a job and is still doing that job today. The ups and downs, rewards and challenges of being an integral part in the functioning of a small football club are all vividly told in this book. A football club that has moved up and down the English leagues and back again. The humour and practical jokes that added much needed light relief and the strength of mind required to overcome personal trauma are all recounted here. This book covers a whole multitude of emotions. Its an entertaining, informative, inspiring, emotive journey of a read. Highly recommended.

    • Jules Gammond

      Hi Neil

      Thank you for your fulsome praise. I will pass your comments on to Ian. Perhaps you could also post them on Amazon?

      Many thanks,
      Jules Gammond
      MD G2 Entertainment

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