Suffolk teenager Ton Grafen takes on the hallowed turf of the Emirates Stadium after securing Arsenal job

Writtle College groundsman student Tom Grafen from Glemsford at the Emirates Stadium, home of Arsena

Writtle College groundsman student Tom Grafen from Glemsford at the Emirates Stadium, home of Arsenal Football Club, where he is an apprenice. - Credit: Archant

It is something many young football fans could only dream about, but walking out on to the hallowed turf at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium has become a daily occurrence for one Suffolk teenager.

Writtle College groundsman student Tom Grafen from Glemsford at the Emirates Stadium, home of Arsena

Writtle College groundsman student Tom Grafen from Glemsford at the Emirates Stadium, home of Arsenal Football Club, where he is an apprenice. - Credit: Archant

Former horticulture apprentice Tom Grafen, 19, from Glemsford, near Sudbury, recently secured a job as assistant groundsman at Arsenal Football club.

He gained the job of keeping the grass in tip top condition after completing a three-year apprenticeship at Writtle College, near Chelmsford.

But Arsenal is not the first football pitch Tom has tended to, as during his apprenticeship he also worked voluntarily at Ipswich Town and Milton Keynes football clubs and is a match day groundsman at Wembley Stadium.

In addition, he sits on the Young Board of Directors at the Institute of Groundsmanship. Tom, who is a staunch Ipswich Town supporter with no intention of defecting to the Gunners, said completing his apprenticeship and achieving qualifications had helped him to secure his current job – and he has high hopes for his future career.

He added: “I much preferred college to school as you are treated more like an adult, which I think enabled me to get more out of it.

“I would like to continue to further my career in the industry and work my way towards becoming a head groundsman of my own site or stadium.”

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His course manager, Nigel Beckford, said he was “very proud” of what Tom had achieved.

“His drive, ambition, clear thinking and passion has always been evident and he has been relentless in his pursuit of a worthwhile career,” Mr Beckford added.