Buncrana man Adrian Cutliffe, who will be known to football followers across Inishowen as the groundsman who keeps Maginn Park in pristine condition all year round has just returned home from what he describes as, “the job of his dreams”.
On a routine day at work in Sligo for local company Pitch Dimensions, ‘Nadger’ as he is affectionately known, had a chance encounter with Sligo businessman George Mullan.
The two men got talking and it later became clear that Mullan was actually the CEO of a major company who specialise in the povision of world class synthetic and natural sports surfaces called SIS who are based in Sligo. The company have already provided surfaces for World Cup Finals, Six Nations Rugby, Real Madrid, Manchester City, Benfica and the Amsterdam Arena. It turned out that Mullan was very impressed with the Buncrana man’s knowledge of his chosen profession, “We had a very interesting coversation and he asked for my e-mail address so that if anything was to come up that he could contact me,” said Adrian.
Although fascinated by the conversation with Mullan, Adrian never really held out much hope that it would lead to anything until an e-mail came through from SIS a few weeks later offering him the chance to go and work in The Friends Arena in Sweden, needless to say he jumped at the opportunity, “I couldn’t believe it to be honest, all I sent back in reply to the e-mail was, yes when do I go?”.
Adrian spent four days in Sweden getting the pitch ready for the World Cup Qualifier between Sweden and Ireland and was very impressed by what he saw, “the sheer professionalism shown by the company was unbelievable, although we worked really hard, we wanted for nothing and it certainly gave me the taste for more”.
When he left Sweden Adrian was told that the company would be back in touch if they required his services again.
The Sweden trip was back in March of this year and as time went on Adrian was more or less resigned to the fact that it would just be a one off, until in August an e-mail came through from SIS offering him ten days work in one of the most iconic stadium’s in World football, The Nou Camp, Barcelona.
Suffice to say Adrian was more than delighted to take them up on their offer, so he dusted off the passport once more and headed off to help lay a brand new pitch for, Messi, Xavi, Iniesta and co.
During the ten days in Catalonia Adrian said they worked round the clock in order to have the pitch ready in time, “It was during the international break so Barcelona had no game for two weeks but we had a deadline to meet so we worked some serious hours”.
So what was it like to work in a stadium which is home to one of the greatest club sides of a generation? “When we first walked into the stadium it was absolutely amazing, the sheer size of the place was immense, but when we got over that initial shock we just got on with the work as normal as we had a deadline to meet”. So from Maginn Park to The Nou Camp it has been quite and adventure for the 27 year old Buncrana man and we will look forward to more stories from some of the world’s finest football stadium’s in the not too distant future.