Global grounds expert John Souter helping Bannockburn Amateur FC improve their pitch

Global grounds expert John Souter is helping Bannockburn Amateur FC improve their Ladywell Park pitch.

Wednesday, 1st September 2021, 2:41 pm
Updated Wednesday, 1st September 2021, 2:41 pm
John Souter, left, with Derek Robertson

Although ‘retired’, Souter is still sought out by race tracks, golf courses and football clubs around the world.

He offered his home town his legendary experience after a combination of luck and the club’s association with Brucefields.

For many years the Amateurs have maintained the pitch by investing in feed, fertilisers, their own mower and hundreds of man-hours, all done with the best intentions but without genuine expertise.

What the club hadn’t appreciated is that John is a Bannockburn lad from Bruce Street and Duke Street. They jumped at the opportunity to get his advice.

A club spokesman said: “John’s pedigree as master craftsman is unrivalled.

"He’s the go to person for football pitches the world over.

"He’s answered the call of “Come and help us wee man” from legends like Jock Stein and Sir Alex Ferguson. And not just Scotland.

“For example in 1984 the Maltese Football Association were in turmoil. Their national Ta’Qali stadium was reckoned to have the worst playing surface in all of Europe and they faced expulsion from FIFA.

“It was the former Rangers supremo Willie Waddell who recommended John to the Maltese FA and, after the special Souter treatment, Malta were to play a match against West Germany in the Ta’Qali on a surface described by the players as “near perfect”.”

The Amateurs are very appreciative of this Bannockburn son’s consultancy as they aim to have the best playing surface in the county.

Club chairman Derek Robertson described John as “irrepressible with an infectious can-do spirit backed with complete mastery of his craft”, adding: “He’s the Red Adair of the turf world and we are already actioning his recommendations.”