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Meet The Man Who Turns Council Fields Into Pitches Fit For Wembley

Meet The Man Who Turns Council Fields Into Pitches Fit For Wembley

A lifelong dream of cutting grass at Wembley has become a reality for Jimmy 'The Mower' Broadhouse after his immense talents were recognised by the stadium's Head Groundsman.

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

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In the space of a few days, his inspirational message was seen by millions.

One of those who stumbled across Jimmy's post was Karl Standley, a former Groundsman at Southampton who is currently working at the home of England.

Standley spoke to the Wolverhampton-born grass cutter shortly after positing the picture and handed him a personal invite to work on the 90,000 capacity stadium.

It was a conversation that left him 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 us cut the real Wembley pitch." Broadhouse told SPORTbible.

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

"Being a West Brom fan, I don't get to go there 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

Broadhouse's father sadly passed away two years ago. He was a retired engineer and would work his magic on old machines and restore them.

"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 I do enjoy it. It was 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

Broadhouse, who often works 14 hour shifts, six days a week, makes sure every surface he works on is in pristine condition so young players can "feel like they are playing at Wembley."

It's an emotion we can all relate to.

The majority of you reading this will have played on a local pitch with the dream of one day becoming a professional footballer and Jimmy 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

As I'm talking 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 our 25 minute chat.

"I'm cutting the grass at the cricket ground now 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 as I did when I woke up to visit Wembley."

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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.."

We salute you, Jimmy.

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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