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Grounds staff at Barnet FC in race to clear Underhill pitch in time for Arsenal youth match
Heavy snow can mean a day off work in some professions but for the ground staff at Barnet FC, this week’s extreme conditions have meant cold extra shifts at Underhill.
The two-man groundsman team at the High Barnet Stadium were joined by colleagues from The Hive and one or two diehard fans this morning to clear the playing surface for an Arsenal youth game tomorrow.
Armed with just a few shovels and a love of football, and helped, or at times perhaps hindered, by the efforts of a Times Series reporter and photographer, the gang got to work shifting the three-inch layer of white engulfing the covers of the League Two pitch.
Head groudsman Barry Moggridge has been with the club for the past six years and says he knew what was coming when the snow began to fall on Friday.
He said: “You can’t print in the paper what I was thinking when I saw it coming down. The snow isn’t the problem - it’s the frost and the cold weather that keeps it here.
“It does make my life a bit more difficult but we have to just deal with it.”
The Bees have already lost one game to the snow, having been forced to cancel their league match against Fleetwood Town last Saturday.
Barnet do not play at home again until February 9 but the grounds staff are racing against time to try and get the snow cleared in time for tomorrow’s youth game.
Covers on the pitch, which took Barry and his four colleagues the best part of a day to put on, will protect the surface from freezing in temperatures as low as minus six degrees.
But with temperatures continuing to plunge and the pitch due to be exposed, the match is already in doubt.
Barry said: “We’ll stay late today and put the floodlights on so we can carry on working. We’re out here in all weathers. It could be chucking it down with rain and you’re out here cutting the grass or full of snow like today.
“But it’s a passion. You want your pitch looking its best. You do it for the fans so they can come through the door and think ‘wow, that looks good’. If that happens, then it is all worth it.”