A pitch-ure of happiness

PUBLISHED: 12:49 03 March 2006 | UPDATED: 21:44 28 May 2010

Maurice Short with the birthday card from Manchester City

Maurice Short with the birthday card from Manchester City

GROUNDSMAN Maurice Short has spent a lifetime of Saturdays marking out the pitch for Manea Football Club. But as an 80th birthday treat he will see behind the scenes of the City of Manchester Stadium home of his other favourite football team. The trip t

GROUNDSMAN Maurice Short has spent a lifetime of Saturdays marking out the pitch for Manea Football Club.But as an 80th birthday treat he will see behind the scenes of the City of Manchester Stadium - home of his other favourite football team.The trip to Manchester follows another surprise - he received a card marking his special day from Manchester City manager Stuart Pearce signed by all the team.Although Maurice has supported City since he was a lad, he has always put his duty to Manea Football Club first and has seen the Manchester team in action just once.Since the age of 12, Maurice has spent his Saturdays marking out the pitch on the village football field, putting out the nets and making tea at half-time. He took on the job because the village team played on a field belonging to his father."I have always enjoyed doing it and have just carried on," he said. "I have never thought of giving it up. "I have only seen Manchester City play once and that was years ago against West Ham. I would have liked to have seen them play more but Manea has always come first with me."Maurice, of Station Road, Manea, is looking forward to seeing how the groundsmen at Manchester look after the pitch but says they could come and inspect the pitch at Manea any time. "It is perfect. It is a good field and one of the best pitches around here," he said.The trip to Manchester has been arranged by Maurice's nephew, David Short, of Soham.

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