Swindon Town Head Groundsman Matt Povey is a lifelong fan of the club and is excited by the challenge of making the County Ground pitch one of the best.

Povey arrived at the club two weeks before the start of last season and was up against it to get the pitch ready as it was eight weeks behind schedule.

He had spent the previous ten years at Bristol City, many of those as the Head Groundsman at Ashton Gate but felt the opportunity to work at his boyhood club was one he couldn’t miss.

“I started in cricket with Gloucestershire County Cricket Club in 2010/11 and it was a seasonal job because I wanted to work outside,” said Povey. “I started at the bottom and worked my way up before Bristol City came in for me. I did almost ten years at Bristol City, and I worked my way up to become Head Groundsman.

“I am a Swindon fan, I am from Swindon, and I commuted from Swindon to Bristol every single day and when the chance came to become the Head Groundsman here, I had to do it.

“Marcus [Cassidy] had been here for 23 years, so when it came around it was too good of an opportunity to turn down and come in here at the club that I love.

“Being a groundsman is a great job, you are working outside, and you are in professional sport. I was never good enough to play at that standard, but you get to be part of it, which is a special thing for me at this club.”

For many years Swindon had one of the best pitches in the lower leagues and Povey said that even though modern technologies have made that a more difficult pursuit, he was raring to get the County Ground back to that level despite a difficult first season in the job.

But although there were individual accolades to be won, he feels that the most important thing was producing a pitch that helped the team play the attractive football they wanted in order to achieve their goals.

“It is always going to be a challenge now [to have one of the best pitches at the level],” he said. “A lot of clubs higher up are rebuilding their pitches and spending a considerable amount of money on their pitches, reinforcing everything with the technology which is at our disposal now.

“You always want more, but the challenge is to always have it at the top and get it nominated for Pitch of the Year and stuff like that.

“Ultimately, with the way that we want to play football at this club, I just want to be producing a surface that is conducive to playing the Swindon way and helping the players to be successful.”

When asked about the different challenges he faced at Swindon when compared to Ashton Gate, Povey said that the two tasks were very different to each other.

“At Ashton Gate, you had the football club, the rugby club, and the women’s team that played there,” he said. “Being a Championship football club and Premiership rugby club it is not really comparable with a different pitch construction and the budget they have.

“Here we only have one sport played at the ground, although we did have more women’s games here than we ever have. That is going to continue, and we now have the concerts which hopefully will happen every year.

“We are a League Two club here so we will do the best with what we have got, and that has been very good for many years.”