Former Blackpool man signs for Real Madrid

IT'S a long way from Bloomfield Road to Real Madrid's Bernabeu Stadium, in every sense imaginable.

But for Paul Burgess a dream move is about to come true.

The Bispham lad has been headhunted by the Spanish giants and moves to Spain at the end of the month to begin a new life.

Burgess is a groundsman who began his career with the Seasiders before landing a job at Arsenal at the age of 19.

Eleven years later, and after countless awards and compliments for the state of the Highbury and Emirates' turf, Paul has been snapped up by Real Madrid.

After the Gunners home game with Fulham on February 28, Paul will pack his bags and head for the 80,000 capacity Bernabeu, one of the most famous venues in world football where they have plans to add a retractable roof.

It's a far cry from Burgess's humble beginnings.

A former Montgomery and Anchorsholme pupil, who grew up on Wingate Avenue in Bispham, Burgess is a huge Blackpool fan who used to sell programmes outside Bloomfield Road in the early 90s.

He started his groundsman career at Myerscough College and became a trainee at Bloomfield Road under the guidance of then Pool head groundsman Keith Wadeson.

"Keith was a good man to work for," said Burgess.

"I learned a lot from him and I owe him a lot. I couldn't have gone on to do what I am today without his help."

Click here from 2pm on Saturday to join the Gazette's William Watt in a webchat live from Portman Road.

For the full story read Friday's Gazette.