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ARSENAL MEDIAWATCH: Arsenal groundsman finishes second to Real Madrid

PUBLISHED: 09:31 14 October 2009 | UPDATED: 16:29 07 September 2010

Arsenal s Paul Ashcroft has come second in a top ten of Europe s best groundsman - behind his former boss. Former head groundsman Paul Burgess left the Gunners last season after 12 years to take up a similar post at Real Madrid and just pips his apprentic

Arsenal's Paul Ashcroft has come second in a top ten of Europe's best groundsman - behind his former boss.

Former head groundsman Paul Burgess left the Gunners last season after 12 years to take up a similar post at Real Madrid and just pips his apprentice, according to the independent sport.co.uk website.

It says "expect Arsenal to remain one of the most forward thinking in the world" on pitch technology, also describing the club as a "bastion of truly excellent pitch standards".

As for Burgess, who began his career at Blackpool, it adds: "This year's Champions League Final will be the perfect chance for he and his new team to show off their best abilities".

Let's hopes his former employers are gracing it come May...

The Times claims Stan Kroenke - who has 28.3 percent in Arsenal's shares in his mitts - still owes two board members more than £60 million after buying some from them.

It says £40 million is still owed to Danny Fiszman - who was instrumental in the move to the new stadium - and a further £20 million to Richard Carr.

"Unlike Alisher Usmanov (who owns 25% of Arsenal) Kroenke doesn't have £500m sitting in a bank doing nothing," the paper quotes a source.

Meanwhile, monstrous Russian boxer Nikolay Valuev is planning a trip to Emirates - after beating English boxer David Haye next month, according to BoxingScene.com.

The 7ft giant, dubbed 'The Beast From The East', is good friends with Andrey Arshavin - who stands at just 5ft 5ins - and intends to see him in action.

"I want to experience the atmosphere of a Premier League game and Andrey plays for one of the top teams," he explained.

"I hope to go to London with my world title after beating Haye - maybe I can celebrate by watching Andrey score for Arsenal, now that would be fantastic to see."

Sympathy in advance to the unfortunate soul who happens to be sat directly behind him...

And speaking of heavyweights, you won't be seeing Gooner Andrew Jones in the queue for a half-time pie.

He told Talksport he has slimmed from 25 stone to just over 12 after realising he couldn't fit into the largest Arsenal shirt on sale.

"Now, I feel I could join Cesc Fabergas in the midfield and help us win a trophy at last," he told the station, before revealing he now fits rather snugly into a Large-szied replica shirt.

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