Alan Biggs at Large: Sheffield Wednesday’s old Barber is a cut above and the perfect man to pitch in

Dave Barber former Head Groundsman at Sheffield Wednesday.
Dave Barber former Head Groundsman at Sheffield Wednesday.

More reassurance for Sheffield Wednesday supporters on the new Hillsborough pitch – much-respected former Hillsborough groundsman Dave Barber expects to see one of the best surfaces in the country.

It’s encouraging, too, that the contractors are tapping into the knowledge of a man who, in 1991, won a groundsman of the year award. Barber, who tended the turf so lovingly he became a firm favourite with fans, tells me that he has been invited to Hillsborough for a consultation on the work.

The invitation came from John Hewitts Sports Turf of Leicester, the firm of pitch specialists carrying out the project.

“They are top people,” says Dave. And when it comes to getting the base just right, local knowledge is at a premium and no-one knows better than Barber the underlying conditions that, with a major river so close by, have been a problem over the years.

Seems, by the way, that the slope on the North Stand side towards the Kop will disappear with soil moved from the opposite end in a levelling out process.