Sporting Icon nominee – Andy Jackson
Away from his day job as Grounds Manager at Stoke City Football Club Andy Jackson has been supporting grassroots football clubs and volunteers in Staffordshire for more than a decade, passing on invaluable knowledge, advice and guidance with the aim of improving grassroots football pitches.
Andy’s commitment to preparing outstanding surfaces as Stoke City’s bet365 Stadium and Clayton Wood Training Ground has also seen him recruited by FIFA to support projects and events around the world, including managing the pitch at one of the stadiums used in Qatar during the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
But despite his incredibly busy diary and commitments to professional football at the highest level Andy has spent more than 10 years supporting grassroots football clubs and their volunteer workforces via the Staffordshire FA Pitch Improvement Programme.
During that time Andy has helped to improve around 120 grassroots football sites across Staffordshire, equating to more than 300 pitches. In addition to the huge number of site visits Andy has made to venues across the county he has also produced detailed reports listing his findings and recommendations and supporting Staffordshire FA and its member clubs via the introduction to his network of contacts across the turf maintenance industry.
Andy has also given up a couple of evenings every year for nearly a decade assisting Staffordshire FA with the delivery of pitch improvement workshops to volunteer grounds persons across the county, including hosting workshops himself at Stoke City’s bet365 Stadium and Clayton Wood Training Ground.
Andy, 44, from Weston Heights, has been the grounds manager at Stoke City FC for nearly 27 years.
He’s been nominated as a Sporting Icon in the Your Heroes Awards by Gareth Thomas, Commercial and Partnerships Lead at Staffordshire FA.
Gareth said: “Andy’s dedication to the Staffordshire FA pitch improvement programme has been invaluable, regularly going above and beyond the call of duty to assist the County FA in improving grass pitches across Staffordshire.
“The work that Andy has done and continues to do for Staffordshire football has enabled the County FA and its member clubs to make a huge difference improving their playing surfaces and increasing participation in the sport.
“Despite working at the top-end of professional football, Andy has a real empathy for grassroots football and can transfer his knowledge and experience from the professional game to benefit local clubs and their volunteers.
“His knowledge, experience and enthusiasm for grassroots football will hopefully continue to be a real asset to local grassroots football for many years to come.”
Andy said: “I’m quite taken aback to be nominated for a Your Heroes Award. It’s a privilege. I just do what I do so that kids can play football.”