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Life is out on the pitch

22 July 2015

From Hungary to AFC Wimbledon for Head Groundsman

Hungarian Gabor Tanczos started work in England as a cleaner at Twickenham Stoop Stadium, but now he feels at home with AFC Wimbledon and ready for another busy season as the club’s Head Groundsman.

  to view the video.Pitch PerfectAs part of preparing the pitch for our recent friendly game against Premier League Watford, Gabor (pictures above taken by Stuart Butcher) has produced a short video which sums up the tireless work he does on a match day. Click on  

Gabor is quick to point out that he receives plenty of help from half a dozen volunteers to get the pitch in pristine condition, but it’s a job he regards as his life – and Saturday at 3.00 pm is the highlight of his working week if things have gone well.

“This is my life and I love it,” said Gabor. “I am not a person who would be happy working in an office and I love being out on the pitch. It does not matter to me if it is bad weather or the sun is shining. My prize is seeing the pitch at the end of the week before the match. I work all week towards that. It is beautiful and that is the groundsman’s reward if the pitch is looking good before the game.

“On the day of a game I will start cutting the pitch from 7.30 am in the morning. I will have cut it on the Friday, but for the presentation of the pitch it needs to be shorter. I will stop cutting the grass at 10.30 am and take the hoses off. Then I will start line-marking the pitch for an hour and a half. The video I put together ends at around 12.30 pm – 1.00 pm when the players start to come in.

“David McKnight and other volunteers will start to come in from around 9.00 am. We have a group of five or six who come in and do vital jobs that allow me to focus on cutting and marking the pitch. They put the practice goals up and fork the pitch to get rid of any divots. At this time of year there is not as much to do as the pitch is nice and lush, but when we get into winter a lot more problems come up.”

Gabor, who hails from the city of Keszthely in Hungary, has a lot of experience as a groundsman here as he first started working on the pitch at the Cherry Red Records Stadium around eight years ago. His love for AFC Wimbledon has grown – and he even had his son Kevin working on the pitch with him last summer!

managed to get the job of assistant groundsman working on the pitch. Then MCR got a contract with AFC Wimbledon so I started working here. I have worked on the pitch here for around eight years, but I became full-time with AFC Wimbledon in 2012.I“I started working for a company called MCR who had a contract with the rugby stadium that Harlequins use,” Gabor recalled. “I started as a cleaner 10 years ago, but after around six months 

    “I now support the Dons and my son loves watching the team. Kevin has a picture on his wall of Bayo Akinfenwa and John Terry as he came to watch the Chelsea game last summer and he even helped me with the pitch!” 

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