Euro 2016 pitch honour for Jonathan

Former Aston Villa groundsman Jonathan Calderwood, now head groundsman at Paris Saint-Germain, learnt his trade at Preston's Myerscough College.

Former Aston Villa groundsman Jonathan Calderwood, now head groundsman at Paris Saint-Germain, learnt his trade at Preston's Myerscough College.

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A former Myerscough College student is getting ready for one of the biggest challenges of his life ... preparing the pitch at Paris Saint-Germain’s home ground for Europe’s finest.

Jonathan Calderwood will be working overtime in his role as head groundsman at Paris’ Parc des Princes, where many of the European Championship games will be staged,

The 37-year-old learnt his trade at the college where he studied for a Higher National Diploma in Turf Science and Sports Ground Management.

Coming over from his home in Northern Ireland at 17, Jonathan was named Sportsturf Student of the Year, and as part of his prize worked at the old Wembley stadium on a six month placement, which lead to a full time job there when he graduated.

This would be the start of a prestigious career, which has seen him voted Institute of Groundsman (IOG) best in the English Premier League twice in both 2009 and 2012 for his work with Aston Villa and French Groundsman of the Year in his first season in 2013.

He has also been lauded by the biggest names in football with former Liverpool, PSG and Aston Villa manager Gérard Houllier claiming he was the best groundsman in the world.

“Modern day football pitches are so complex and so complicated,” said Jonathan. “I spent three years full-time studying and I would say 90 per cent of my time was spent in the laboratory.”

And out of the five fixtures being played on his pitch this Summer, one stands out for Jonathan. He said: “For me to move to Paris and for Northern Ireland to end up playing Germany in Paris on my pitch, it doesn’t get any better than that - it’s like a dream come true.”