Sky Blues Groundsman, Matthew Skingle, was recently named The Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG) Young Sports Turf Student of the Year.
Matt, who joined the Sky Blues originally back in 2013 on work experience, has been working at the Sky Blue Lodge at Ryton since 2016.
The Groundsman spent two weeks on work experience whilst at school at the Ricoh Arena, but after following different career paths, he eventually returned to work for Coventry City.
Having successfully won the award a few weeks ago, Matt admitted it wasn’t something he was expecting to win.
He said: “It feels good, it’s not often you get the chance to get noticed for your hard work and I think this is a good chance for me to get myself out there and put myself in the industry.
“I wasn’t expecting to win the award, because I didn’t want to get my hopes up, too much expectation is too much to handle and I wanted to completely forget it was happening.
“Even when it got the point when they were going to announce, it I was still like ‘no I’m not going to win’ I didn’t even have my suit jacket on, I was like ‘if I put it on, I’ll look too confident’.”
After being with the Sky Blues for around two years now, Matt has learnt his trade and has continued to develop.
Talking about receiving the nominations, Matt was nominated for the award a few months back and was assessed by an adjudicator who fed back to the panel.
“I found about the nomination three months ago.
“I had to fill out an application, which was essentially about me and the work we do and I had and adjudicator who read the application.
“He came out to Ryton and spent three or four hours with me and just double checked I hadn’t exaggerated anything on my application.
“Then, he went back and have a phone call with a panel and gave their feedback on me and then the panel pick on the feedback they received.”
Heading into the winter months, the job of a Groundsman can become even more difficult, as temperatures drop and conditions worsen.
Matt spoke about the day to day work for himself and the team at the Sky Blue Lodge in Ryton.
“Normally we come in early morning, before the winter hits it’s pretty much coming in, doing little jobs, marking the pitches if they need doing, divoting and stuff like that.
“Then the players train and we have our break and then we come back out when they’re done, and we go back out collect everything up, like the debris and cut the pitches and use the time they’re not here to attend to the rest of the site as well.”