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Meet Jimmy 'The Mower'... The Man Who Turns Council Fields Into Football Pitches Fit For Wembley

Meet Jimmy 'The Mower'... The Man Who Turns Council Fields Into Football Pitches Fit For Wembley

A lifelong dream of cutting the famous Wembley turf became a reality for Jimmy 'The Mower' Broadhouse.

The 42-year-old, a contractor who runs his own maintenance business, decided to post a picture of a local football pitch he was working on in Bilbrook, South Staffordshire.

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And in the space of a few days, his inspirational post was seen by millions around the world.

One interested observer on Twitter was Wembley's head groundsman Karl Standley, who got in touch with Jimmy.

Standley congratulated the Wolverhampton-born grass cutter on his handy work and invited him down to work at the home of football in north London.

It was a conversation that left Jimmy in a state of shock.

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"He let me know that I was doing a fantastic job and then asked me if I'd like to come down and help cut the real the Wembley pitch." Broadhouse told SPORTbible.

"I thought somebody is having a laugh here. I said 'What, are you serious?' and he said yes.

"Being a West Brom fan, I don't get to go to Wembley very often. It was an incredible experience.

"I was driving back later on and couldn't quite believe what was happening. I'm so humble. I was thinking, if only my dad was here to see all of this."

Image: Twitter
Image: Twitter
Image: Ditton Services
Image: Ditton Services

He may work 14-hour shifts, but Jimmy makes sure every surface he works on is in pristine condition so young players can "feel like they are playing at Wembley."

All aspiring footballers will have played on a local pitch with the dream of one day turning pro, and Broadhouse was no different.

"It was my dream as a kid, playing on nice striped pitches with crisp white lines and goal posts." he told SPORTbible.

"The kids love it. The Sunday League teams love it. They think it's fantastic. I try my best on all of them but that picture on the tweet was an exceptional day.

"It was dry and there was a bit of breeze in the background. There's only half a dozen times a year it looks like that. I never thought anything like this would happen.

"I'm just a bloke that cuts the grass. I love doing what I do. I love the difference I make."

Image: Ditton Services
Image: Ditton Services

Broadhouse's father sadly passed away two years ago. He was a retired engineer who worked his magic to restore old machines.

"I could never have done it without him." he said. "We would buy old mowers for £5,000 and he'd take them all apart and put them back together again. They would have been £40,000 brand new.

"Unfortunately my father passed away in 2017 quite suddenly and I almost gave it up that winter.

"I got through to the end of the season and didn't bother with maintaining the mowers after that. In my head I was finished and ready to pack it in. It was a couple of friends of mine who said, come on you need to do this. Your dad has worked hard.

"I dug deep and got through it. I found that it's my passion and now this has happened. Nobody could have anticipated it. I'm the most famous mower man in my village!

"I can't get over it to be honest."

Image: Ditton Services
Image: Ditton Services

As we speak to Jimmy on the phone, he's driving a brand new Ransomes Mower around a Shropshire cricket pitch in the early hours of Friday morning.

His enthusiasm for the job is clear throughout the lengthy chat.

"I'm cutting the grass at the cricket ground right now," he said. "And I just love it when the chap turns up, a 72-year-old bloke called Mike.

"He comes up to me and says 'you've done a great job. I'm so proud of our pitch'.

"He says it every week. That's why you get up at half five in the morning. You are making a difference.

"I was at Wembley the day before and the next I'm up at half five in the morning. I still jumped out of bed with the same passion.

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"There must be hundreds, if not thousands of people, like me doing this job, so I've got to raise there profile as well as mine. There must be a lot of unsung heroes out there doing this."

One thing is for certain, the 42-year-old wouldn't swap his job for the world; not even for the bright lights of Wembley.

"I wouldn't go to a football club. I couldn't let these kids down."

We salute you, Jimmy.

Topics: Football News, Spotlight, Football, Legends

Jack Kenmare

Jack Kenmare is a writer at SPORTbible. He's interviewed some of the biggest names in sport, including Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Pele, Carles Puyol and Tim Henman. He dabbles in all things sport but football is his biggest passion. He was once hit in the head by a wayward strike from Nicky Butt and lived to tell the tale.

 

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