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.
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.