Today (Thursday 20th January 2022) is 'Get to Know your Customers Day'. We reached out to a number of our Allett customers from the homeowner to the professional groundsmen to find out more about them.
Next up is Liam James (Head Groundsman at Cardiff City)- a Championship club based in Wales. Cardiff regularly host Wales international games so the pressure is on to have the stadium looking world class at all times.
Since joining the club Liam has worked his way through the ranks and was rewarded with a promotion to Head Groundsman after Phil Williams retired from the role in 2017.
Liam first got involved with the club working match-days at Ninian Park as a volunteer. He then at the age of eighteen was given the opportunity to join the club on a part-time basis looking after the under eighteen and twenty-three pitches just across the road from the main stadium. This eventually led to a full-time role as an assistant groundsman.
He then did his NVQ level 2 in Sportsturf at Pencoed College before having a gap year ahead of starting an NVQ Level 3 in Sportsturf. Liam moved to the training ground where he helped oversee all the work carried out installing a Desso GrassMaster pitch, which the first team use three or four times a week depending on the weather.
In the summer months the grounds team cut twice a day with Allett cylinder mowers at around 25mm for Cardiff City and at 22mm for Wales. The stadium also hosts music concerts and corporate games giving Liam the challenge of working his summer renovations around the events.
The position of Head Groundsman at the stadium is a dream come true for Liam a Cardiff City fan.
Liam James, Grounds manager at Cardiff City Football Club!
2. Family status?
Engaged to Mischa with 2 beautiful babies , Reeva and Rio
3. How big is your team and what do you have to look after in terms of pitches?
Currently have 6 full time staff with 5 Grass pitches, will be 10 pitches and 10 staff members by the end of 2022 as we are currently developing a new site.
4. How did you get interested in the Sports Turf industry?
From supporting Cardiff as a young boy I managed to start helping out around the old stadium at Ninian park, then was offered a job and went from there.
5. How did you get to working as head groundsman at Cardiff? What was your career pathway?
Was offered the role back in 2017 and took it, built my self up from apprentice to now Grounds manager
6. What are the biggest challenges you face as a groundsman?
Amount of games we have at the Cardiff city stadium , weather conditions, machinery available.
7. What has been your career highlight so far?
Hosting the Super cup final between Real Madrid and Seville. Also the 2 promotions to the premier league with Cardiff City.
8. What's the best part of your job?
9. What’s the worst part of your job?
10. What do you do in your spare time?
Spend plenty of time with family and friends
11. Any advice for young groundsmen and women wanting to get to your level?
Stay committed and it will pay off, don’t rush into making any decisions
12. Favourite Allett Mower?
C34 evolution battery machine
13. What's your ideal holiday destination?
14. Favourite food?
Fillet steak medium rare with peppercorn sauce and chips!!!
15. Any rules you’d like to see introduced to help groundsmen out in football?
No training at the stadium the night before international football matches, more protection on the main goal mouth on match days!
16. Best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Never rush into making a decision !!!
Find Liam on Instagram here
Find Liam on Twitter here