The Groundsman

July 2015

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Visit for more information and digital editions AHEAD OF THE GAME 24 the Groundsman July 2015 ed by head groundsman Tony Stones and his assistant, Karl Standley – who both describe Kevin as "a legend for the way he has mentored so many newcomers to our matchday team over the years" – the farewell ceremony included a speech by Wembley's managing director Roger Maslin and the presentation of a framed 'certificate of completion' along with a silver replica of the stadium and a match ball. "It was all quite overwhelming," says Kevin. "I was blown away when the 16 lads formed the 'tunnel' and it was especially appreciated when Roger took the time and trouble to say a few words about my years at the stadium." Commenting on Kevin's service, Tony Stones added: "Kevin has been a reliable and diligent member of our team, enthusiastically embracing every task, which has enabled others to focus on their responsibilities safe in the knowledge that Kevin will do a good job. Importantly, too, he has been key to the induction of 20 or more new members of the matchday team and over the years it is evident that his expertise and his attitude to work has rubbed off on everyone." Having decided that the time had come to "slow down a bit", 58 year-old Liverpudlian Kevin continues: "I've enjoyed every minute of being part of the Wembley team. Yes, over the years there have been plenty of early starts and late finishes – a common occurrence for every groundsman – but aside from working with a great team I've also been privileged to have seen many sports stars in action and witnessed some outstanding sporting events over the years. "There's great team camaraderie at Wembley and I'm forever envious of how L You'll never walk alone A tunnel of honour by Wembley Stadium's matchday staff marked Kevin Reilly's retirement from the team – though his suggestion of 'slowing down a bit' seems incredulous because of his demanding role as head groundsman at an independent school By: Colin Hoskins Tony and his staff consistently turn the pitch around to such high standards for a variety of events including football, rugby (both codes), American football and music concerts." Not that Kevin will be taking it too easy since his 'day job' is head groundsman at the University College School's sports ground in Hampstead, north west London. Here, as part of a team of four, he is responsible for managing and maintaining the playing surfaces for a variety of sports; cricket (three squares), football, rugby (five senior and six junior) pitches that 'double up for both sports, hockey (one artificial surface), grass athletics and volleyball (two grass courts), plus softball and rounders on grass. The facilities are used heavily by the 1,220 pupils: the grass pitches alone endure up to 20 hours' use each week – plus sometimes eight weeks of sports camps during summer holidays and half- terms for perhaps 10 hours each day. Winter pitch renovation, when traditionally 600 tonnes of rootzone and sand are applied, usually has to happen in a window of just three-and-a-half weeks "and it always takes place when we're trying to prepare for cricket". The Wembley matchday team's tunnel of honour for Kevin

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