Arsenal FC have announced that their head groundsman, Steve Braddock (pictured above right), has died after a long illness.

In an official statement on their website (, the club say Steve joined them in August 1987, ".. after a chance meeting with George Graham, who informed him that the club was looking for a new lead to be responsible for the pitch at Highbury." They go on to say that after getting the job, he set about creating a playing surface at Highbury " . . that would be the envy of the footballing world - and he achieved exactly that."

The club's statement continued, "Under Steve, Arsenal’s pitch at Highbury became the game’s gold standard. He understood the art of preparing a pitch better than anyone in the game. Indeed, his skill and passion for groundskeeping earned him many individual accolades: numerous Premier League Pitch of the Season awards, ‘Turf’s Top Influencer’ in 2019, and in 2020 he became only the second person in history to enter the Grounds Management Association’s Hall of Fame."

TurfPro editor, Laurence Gale (pictured with Steve above) said, "Steve was one of the nicest, most dedicated and highly professional grounds experts I have ever met.

"He was responsible for taking the level of groundsmanship to new heights with his attention to detail. I think the fact that he trained so many others to go on to become well respected head groundsmen in their own right, speaks volumes."

Arsenal's statement continued, "Steve ensured the Highbury pitch was perfection for our final season at the stadium, but by then his role as Head Groundsman saw him dedicate most of his time to the 11 pitches at London Colney. Ensuring the pristine surfaces the players trained on during the week were an exact match for those they played on at the weekend."

The Club went on to say how Steve was always keen to discuss ideas with grounds teams from a whole range of sports, he knew that researching and embracing the latest technology and methodology could be beneficial to his playing surfaces and to those who worked alongside him. They also say he was passionate about finding sustainable solutions through groundskeeping, showing a great interest in biofuels for example."

Arsenal concluded saying, "Our thoughts are with Steve’s wife Shuk, their daughters Jasmine and Lily, Steve’s sisters Janice and Susan, and all Steve’s family and friends."

The team wore black armbands in their 0-3 victory over Bournemouth in the Premier League on Saturday in memory of Steve.

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