Chorley FC’s Head Groundsman has had his heroic efforts rewarded with an invitation to join Wembley Stadium’s Grounds Team ahead of this season’s Emirates FA Cup Final in May.
National League North side Chorley FC booked their place in the Fourth Round of the Emirates FA Cup for the first time in their history over the weekend, with a 2-0 victory over EFL Championship club Derby County.
The playing squad and management team deservedly made the headlines in the aftermath of the result, but it was Head Groundsman Ben Kay’s role in the victory which has since caught the attention.
Chorley FC shared a photo of Head Groundsman Kay sleeping on the pitch in the early hours of Saturday morning, with temperatures reaching -2 degrees. With the game in serious doubt of going ahead on Thursday night and with another inch of snow falling 24 hours before the game, Kay and his team made the call to stay overnight on Friday, sleeping on the pitch, to ensure they could be on hand to rotate the small heaters.
Wembley’s Grounds Manager, Karl Standley was one of thousands inspired by the story and has since reached out and invited Kay to join his team to help prepare the hallowed turf of Wembley Stadium connected by EE ahead of this season’s Emirates FA Cup Final.
Karl Standley, Grounds Manager, Wembley Stadium said: “Hearing about the work Ben and his team put in to prepare for Chorley’s Emirates FA Cup game was really inspiring. Their hard work and dedication were rewarded when the odds were stacked against them. It is a privilege to be able to invite Ben to join our team and help us prepare the pitch for The Emirates FA Cup Final, one of the biggest days in Wembley Stadium’s calendar.”
Ben Kay, Head Groundsman, Chorley FC said: “I’m absolutely thrilled to have been invited to Wembley for the Emirates FA Cup Final. I was shocked when I received the message, but obviously genuinely touched by the offer and delighted to accept it. I can’t wait to step out onto the famous turf and experience the thrill of being at Wembley. The FA Cup is such a special competition and to be involved in this way is a dream come true.”
Terry Robinson, CEO, Chorley FC said: “We are very lucky at Chorley to have so many wonderful people involved right through the setup, both on and off the field. The huge amount of work and effort put in by everybody associated with the Football Club to get Saturday’s game on was phenomenal. I’ve worked in football for a long time and I still find the passion and goodwill surrounding the game fantastic. Clubs simply couldn’t operate without it and a result and occasion like Saturday is what everyone works so hard to achieve.”