Souness called out by groundsman for blaming Liverpool defeat on GRASS

Sky Sports pundit Graeme Souness is slammed as ‘uneducated and clueless’ by Aston Villa’s groundsman after blaming the length of the GRASS for Liverpool’s record-breaking 7-2 defeat

  • Champions Liverpool were stunned by Aston Villa on Sunday night, losing 7-2
  • Graeme Souness claimed that Villa groundstaff left the grass long on purpose
  • The Sky Sports pundit believes the tactic was designed to slow down Liverpool
  • Souness’ comments sparked an angry response from groundsman Eddie Mills
  • The lifelong Villa supporter called Souness ‘uneducated’ and ‘clueless on Twitter

Sky Sports pundit Graeme Souness has been labelled ‘uneducated and clueless’ by an Aston Villa groundsman after claiming Liverpool’s shocking 7-2 defeat on Sunday night was down to the length of the grass.

Jurgen Klopp’s Premier League champions saw their perfect start to the season end abruptly at Villa Park, with Ollie Watkins scoring a hat-trick on an unforgettable night for the home side.

But Liverpool legend Souness, who played for and managed the club, bizarrely blamed the Reds’ poor performance on the state of the pitch, claiming that Villa groundstaff had left the grass longer in order to slow the visitors’ speed of passing. 

Sky Sports pundit Graeme Souness claimed Aston Villa groundstaff left the grass longer

Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk challenges Ross Barkley for the ball at Villa Park on Sunday

‘What I would say, Villa, and it’s the same for both teams, I think they’ve left the grass longer than normal to slow Liverpool’s movement,’ Souness said while working as a pundit for Sky Sports.

‘All the top teams want short grass, a fast pitch. That doesn’t look like a fast pitch to me.’ 

Souness’ comments were described as ‘sour grapes’ by presenter David Jones during Sky’s live coverage, but they also sparked a backlash from Eddie Mills, who is a member of Villa’s matchday groundstaff.

Villa striker Ollie Watkins (right) celebrates after completing his hat-trick against Liverpool

Mohamed Salah (centre) and James Milner (left) appear dejected after Villa’s seventh goal 

Mills, 50, took aim at the former Rangers midfielder on Twitter, insisting that he had insulted all groundsman with his half-time rant.

‘Graeme Souness’s uneducated comments about the villa pitch are insulting to all the massively hardworking groundsman up and down the country who put their hearts and souls into their proud work! #clueless,’ Mills wrote.

Mills, who is a former course manager at Edgbaston Golf Club, has worked on Villa’s pitch for the last nine years and is a lifelong fan of the club.  

A giant screen at Villa Park displays the final scoreline after Liverpool’s capitulation on Sunday

As of 2014 he had not missed a home game in 25 years and he also attended every Villa away match between 1991 and 2005.

Speaking about his move from fan to member of the club’s groundstaff, Mills told the Birmingham Mail: ‘It was a bit strange at first, being on the pitch and seeing the Holte End in all its glory, but you get used to it. 

‘It’s still a real privilege to be able to work on the pitch. I’ve also done some work at Wembley in the past few seasons and I was looking after the pitch for the Carling Cup final and FA Cup semi final in 2010, when Villa were there. So that’s a surreal experience.’

Liverpool’s defeat was the first time the previous year’s champions have conceded seven goals in the Premier League era – a landmark last hit in September 1953 when Arsenal were beaten 7-1 by Sunderland.

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