Sport

Life's a pitch for creative Premier League groundsmen

The Adventure Game - clearly an inspiration for the Leicester City groundsman
Paul McConville

MODERN sport is all about power and physicality. You often hear the argument that soccer, Gaelic football and rugby have all succumbed to brute force and ignorance at the expense of the more cerebral approach.

So when somebody decides to show a bit of creativity, it is immediately trampled on. That's what seems to have been the case this week when the Premier League clamped down in the latest bout of free-thinking anarchy – artistic pitch designs.

Bored groundsmen up and down the land have clearly been turned off up by the turgid fare on offer in the Premier League in the last few years and have taken to taking their ride-on mowers on a merry dance.

The Leicester City groundsman clearly has a penchant for pitch design and fired out a few interesting formation last season, which was the ideal cover for their limp defence of the Premier League title.

One of the most interesting was the 'balancing on beams' affect he managed to pull off with eye-dazzling results. It brought to mind end-of-level task that 1980s celebrities in brightly coloured boiler suits were charged with undertaking in The Adventure Game, a post-tea-time gameshow which featured mathematical puzzles, riddles and some sort of talking plant (I say talking, it was more a pre-curser to the kind of babble that Mr Blobby would come out with years later).

Southampton have also been pioneers of pitch art, with their clearly obsessive groundsman literally go round in circles to create some sort of 'water going down the drain' affect – pretty apt for how things have been going for the Saints of late.

But, the spoilsports at the Premier League have called time on the pitch Picassos by issuing new rules which state that the playing surface must contain no markings other than the traditional horizontal and white lines. Pitch patterns and designs will no longer be allowed in the Premier League in 2017/18. The new guidelines are 'designed' to bring the Premier League pitches into line with Uefa regulations.

MANCHESTER United didn't exactly park the bus when the showed up for a friendly against Sampdoria in Dublin's Aviva Stadium in midweek, but one hilarious city worker thought it would be great craic altogether to slap a clamp on the wheel of their bus and snap a picture of it. Social meeja went into 'meltdown' as the snap went, you know, viral and that. However, the jape was quickly uncovered as it emerged that what looked like an infamously zealous Dublin clamper at work again, was actually some fella thinking he was gas craic altogether. He's lucky Dublin Corporation isn't run by the same boyos in charge of the Premier League or else he'd probably be done for misappropriation of city property. As it was, he was just labelled a grand fella altogether in the staff room the next day. Sure it was mighty craic.

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