A GROUNDS expert of global renown is helping Bannockburn Amateurs improve the pitch at Ladywell Park.

John Souter, the legend of sports arenas, has offered Bannockburn AFC his unrivalled expertise and the club has jumped at the opportunity.

Although retired, Souter is still sought out by golf courses, football clubs, race tracks and much more around the world.

A Bannockburn lad from Bruce Street and Duke Street, John became renowned for solving sports turf problems, having formed his company Souter of Stirling in 1967.

He pioneered solutions such as sand/slit drainage systems, soil heating and more, working on grounds such as Hampden Park, Ibrox, Murrayfield and even Old Trafford.

In Bannockburn, the Amateurs have been maintaining the pitch, investing materials, man hours and tools.

All was done with the best of intentions, but without genuine expertise.

Club chairman Derek Robertson has described John as “irrepressible with an infectious can-do spirit backed with complete mastery of his craft”.

Indeed, Mr Souter's expertise is well-known outside the UK as well, for instance, he helped the Maltese Football Association when it was in turmoil in 1984.

The national Ta’Qali stadium was thought to have the worst playing surface in all of Europe at the time and they faced expulsion from FIFA.

However, by the time John's treatment was complete, Malta hosted West Germany for a match and players could find no fault with the turf.

Bannockburn AFC's Derek Robertson added: “He’s the Red Adair of the turf world and we are already actioning his recommendations.”

The club is playing away to Harestanes in the league cup at 7pm today (Wednesday, August 25) and is hosting Wishaw at 2pm this Saturday, August 28.