Magpies groundsman receives invite to help prepare FA Cup final pitch at Wembley

Chorley groundsman Ben Kay has been rewarded for his heroic efforts at the weekend with an invitation to join Wembley Stadium’s grounds team ahead of this season’s FA Cup Final in May.

Monday, 11th January 2021, 5:09 pm
Updated Monday, 11th January 2021, 5:12 pm
Ben Kay

The Magpies booked their place in the fourth round of the competitionfor the first time in their history at 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 Ben Kay’s role in the victory which has since caught the attention.

The club shared a photo of Kay sleeping on the pitch in the early hours of Saturday morning, with temperatures reaching -2 degrees, to ensure the pitch was playable.

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 ahead the final.

Standley 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 added : “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.”