A GROUNDSMAN'S TALE
Mud, Sweat and Shears is the story of Roy Oldfield – groundsman at Burnley FC through the 1970s and 1980s. It tells how he went from miner to Parks & Recreation man to eventually become one of the Football League’s most respected turf men. On the pitch he saw more bad times than good, but his offer to "Av a brew" was gladly accepted by a procession of football greats, from Brian Clough and Bill Shankly to Denis Law and Kevin Keegan.
Roy faced daily battles with the weather and directors, but single-handedly produced a pitch which received consistent praise from players, managers and referees, long before immaculate modern pitches. In an age when most pitches turned to mudbaths at a drop of rain, and games were played on snow, Roy used his wits, a mower, a wheelbarrow, sand and a couple of forks.
This is a football book with a unique perspective on the game – viewed through a groundsman’s eyes. Set entirely behind the scenes, it tells the story of one club before football became the multi-million-pound industry it is today.
In Mud, Sweat and Shears, you will discover:
- What football was really like in its fondly remembered golden era
- Why Roy, like so many groundsmen of his era, was one of the unsung heroes of the football club, low-paid and under-appreciated
- How he produced a pitch playable in all conditions – mud, rain and snow – on a shoestring budget, long before the age of Desso semi-synthetic grass and Health & Safety
- Roy’s first-hand memories of some of the worst years in Burnley’s history, working with a string of managers including Harry Potts, Jimmy Adamson, Brian Miller and John Bond
- A fund of stories surrounding his first boss, the legendary chairman, Bob Lord
- How Burnley almost lost their place in the Football League in 1987. Roy witnessed relegations and promotions, and was on the sidelines at the infamous Celtic game
- A rich harvest of great anecdotes – the battles with pigeons, the story of Reg Attwell's ashes, and scaffolding on wheels.
- The procession of famous managers Roy entertained in his little room, having invited them in “for a brew”...
- The story of Burnley and the wilderness years before they hit the Premier League jackpot
Click here for more information, or to read a sample from Mud, Sweat and Shears