Sunday 17th July 2005

The green, green grass of home


Multi-skilled Mark Avenell is using his talents to good affect, which is benefiting Ryman Premier League newcomers Bromley, writes Stephen McCartney.

The Hayes Lane club is a good breeding ground to move onto bigger and better things, as I spent three years there as press officer and programme editor being developing Kent football's highly-rated website www.kentishfootball.co.uk

And now 29-year-old Avenell, is using his skills he has developed during his working life, to aid the club.

"I wanted to look at ways of doing more for the club than just my photography," he said in an EXCLUSIVE interview with www.kentishfootball.co.uk

"With near to five years experience of sports turf maintenance, I thought it would be great to bring in some experience I have and work for the club that has been so close to my heart for the last 15 years."

Avenell has been involved in photography for around 20 years and is delighted he has been given the chance to pitch in at the club.

"I started as a green keeper for Golf Maintenance Ltd in 2000 working at Lullingtone, High Elms and Bromley golf courses," he reflected.

"I've been doing my photography since I was about seven years old.

"The best thing about both of the jobs are the end results. 

"You work hard to get a pitch in really good condition or to get the photograph that you just love and you feel good about what you have achieved and what others can also enjoy."

I'm sure he gets the same "buzz" I do when I get an exclusive story before anyone else.

"I was very happy when (chairman) Jerry Dolke gave me the (groundsman) job at the club.

"I have spent most of my Saturday's over the last three years helping out at the club in the close season, so to work there full time was great," he admitted.

With his own photography website www.avenellphotos.com , he can now have another outlet to show his work - the playing surface at The Courage Stadium in Hayes Lane.

The club have spent thousands of pounds on improving the playing surface and are now in the process of building a new clubhouse at the back of the main stand, containing new facilities.

Speaking about his ambitions in photography and in groundsmanship, he added: "My photography is just a hobby but as a groundsman I might think about getting my NVQ Level 2 in sport turf in the future."

Working for a Ryman Football League club is very time consuming, but Avenell said he will work at the stadium from Monday to Friday and will still take time to snap away at Bromley's matches on Saturday's, as he has done for the past four years.

Everyone at the club are relishing their first season back in the Ryman Premier League since their relegation in 1999.

"There is a good feeling at the club and everyone is looking forward to working hard and to enjoy the return to the Ryman Premier," he said.

But working for the football club you have close to your heart, isn't like working for any other company.

"Working for the club is like working in your own garden," he admits.

"You care about what you do and you try to do your best to get the results that are needed.

"It also helps living a mile from the ground so my wife is not far away and will be near by for when we have our first baby in September - hopefully not on a Saturday!"

Fans don't have too long to wait for their first home pre-season match on the new playing surface, when they entertain Adrian Pennock's Welling United on Friday, 5th August (7:30pm).


CARPET: Bromley have spent thousands of pounds to improve the playing surface at their Hayes Lane ground.

PHOTO: www.avenellphotos.com / www.bromleyfc.net