Each season, Sheffield & Hallamshire County FA celebrate the Annual FA and Mcdonald's Grassroots Football Awards and this year's awards took place on Friday night at Sheffield United's Bramall Lane.
The event is an opportunity for SHCFA to recognise all the great work and commitment that goes into Grassroots Football every week and to also award winners across 14 different categories. This season, SHCFA received over 150 nominations all of which were examples of the fantastic work that our volunteer workforce deliver. The 14 chosen winners were selected and joined us at our awards evening to help celebrate and collect their awards.
Alongside the celebration of our awards, SHCFA was also lucky enough to have Former Minister of Sport, Richard Caborn in attendance who helped present several awards and also delivered a great talk around the development of sport, the impact sport can have on society and the importance of equality and inclusion in sport.
This season's awards evening was also in aid of the St Wilfrid's Centre and through our Charity Raffle we managed to raise over £500 for the cause. We also have to mention a special recognition to Barnsley District Junior League who match the money raised taking the total to over £1000.
We would like to thank The FA and McDonald's for support the Grassroots Football Awards each season and for their attendance on the evening. we would also like to thank Sheffield United for hosting the awards evening. Another thank you goes to all that attended the awards to help us celebrate and lastly a huge congratulations to all our 2019 Grassroots Football Award Winners.
Find out more about our winners below..........
Supporter of the Year - Richard Lightning
"Richard is always looking for progressive ways to help & support the team, raise funds, build team morale and support us at training & game day come rain or shine. He's respectful & includes everyone, shows determination in everything he does & strives for excellence. A lovely, straight talking guy who wants the best for all players, the team and has been a great support to myself as manager. "
Grounds Team of the Year - Shelley FC
"This year in particular we wanted to nominate Ash and his team as the work they did to ensure the finals went ahead this year was excellent. The weather leading up to finals day, and on the day itself was very poor - rain, wind, hail, you name it we got it. The Grounds team at Shelley were out at 6.00am getting the pitches ready for us and putting up nets etc. They worked tirelessly all through the event to ensure all the games went ahead despite the horrendous conditions. We wish to thank them for their efforts."
Match Official of the Year - Ali Saad
"He was officiating in an U14's game on the 20th of October when the goalkeeper unfortunately broke her arm. After the game, Ali gave the team manager his match fee and told them to buy her something nice. This gesture had such a positive impact on the grassroots community, the post was liked on Twitter over 3,000 times, shared 500 times and went a long way to highlight inclusiveness between teams and officials and struck a chord with the sporting community."
Grassroots League of the Year - Sheffield & Hallamshire Women's and Girls League
"The league has such a positive impact on female football in the area. League officials are available whenever needed to help and advise clubs and go above and beyond their duties to ensure everyone within the league are provided with a positive and enjoyable experience wherever possible. The merger and more structured approach to the league has been welcomed by open age teams and the league is continuing to grow year by year because of its reputation as well as our excellent relationships with grassroots teams."
Rising Star Award - Bryan Kilpatrick-Elliott
"Bryan, at the age of 8, found it difficult to get into football but after lots of hard work and dedication Bryan now plays both mainstream football and disability football. He is also a member of the England CP talent pathway squad and recently has become the first Youth Ambassador for the IFCPF. Bryan has had a difficult journey into football but now he loves the game and has shown a real enthusiasm to not only further his own ambitions to one day play for the England Senior team but also raise awareness for the game that has given him so many great opportunities. He has done this through social media, training videos on YouTube, radio and even had an article published in a popular kids football magazine. Bryan hopes his story can inspire more children to play the game he loves"
Volunteer of the Year Award - Jim Liversidge
"Jim has a vision of children being able to play football in a safe environment. He continues to run a cafe on matchdays and the proceeds are used to subsidise the junior football teams. Although in his mid-seventies, Jim spends all his time at the recreation ground ensuring that the facilities are suitable for the teams. This has not been easy with the run down of the local Miners Welfare who should have been supporting the ground financially. He is happiest when watching a large number of teams playing at the ground with kids enjoying themselves. He never criticises but always encourages and always keeps a smile on his face. He has given great service to the ex-mining community and children of Maltby."
Grassroots Club of the Year - Tinsley FC
"The club has supported players with excellent coaching and progression to academy trials and sides. The club also supports volunteers to achieve coaching badges up to level 2 and new coaches to level 1. They also funded two young referees' qualifications. The club also supports players financially when their families are unable to pay for training and games. It has developed to 8 teams within 5 years with 2 more to follow. It also negotiated with the local council to provide pitches for the community and provided venues for professional Academy tournaments. It has invested in defibrillators and essential equipment, despite theft and vandalism, costing the club over £5000."
Grassroots Coach of the Year - Geoff Swann
"We have been foster carers for over a decade and a few years ago a little girl came to live with us who had quite a traumatic past and due to this had a number of problems at school and socialising. Geoff came to talk to me after seeing her at a school tournament and asked if she could train with his team. After some deliberation I took her along. The change has been remarkable. In 2 seasons she has great friends ,lifetime memories ,confidence and self esteem. Geoff has always been there with encouragement and support. Geoff has helped our child so much both on and off the pitch and she is now one of the key players in the team. Geoff supports the whole team, their siblings and families, delivers expert coaching and advice and tirelessly organises tournaments, fun days out and matches despite having a family and a demanding job. He has taken an average group of children to League champions and ESF champions last season and County Cup winners this season as well as success in numerous tournaments. He also works hard to get sponsors and helped create a boot recycling system for local kids"
Community Project of the Year - AFC Unity
"AFC Unity run a Football for Food campaign. They have a link to their local food bank and at all home games act as a donation point. They promote this via social media and their webpage. They have extended this excellent project with specific campaigns, for example collecting sanitary products for local girls and women. This represents the FA's values for excellence, inclusivity and respect. They encourage opponents to get involved in the campaign, raising both awareness and donations for local community projects. I have chosen this project because of its wider impact within and outside of football. The Football for Food project has been noticed in the local community and featured in local press. This use of football as a force for good in the community leads by example and reaches out to those most in need. Such positive representation of football supports a positive grassroots environment which includes all."
Respect Award - Adwick Park Rangers U11 Girls
"Every week the girls got beaten, but after each game they always come off the pitch as though they were winners. Every week the girls felt they may lose but they never gave up and they always battle on with dignity and respect. This is why I believe they are worthy of the respect award."
Young Referee of the Year Award - Melissa Burgin
Melissa’s refereeing career has gone from strength to strength over the last few years and this season has been no different. The standards Melissa has produced both on and off the pitch has not gone unnoticed and due to this Melissa has received some very significant appointments. These included the Continental Cup Final here at Bramall Lane and the Women’s FA Cup Final at Wembley in front of 45,000 spectators.
Referee Long Service Award - Ken Nicholson
Ken started his Referee career in 1968 where he officiated on the SHCFA County Senior League and the Under 18s league. Through his career, Ken has officiated in a variety of leagues and cup competitions including several Cup Final’s. Ken has officiated at both Hillsborough and Bramall Lane throughout his career and over 50 years later continues to officiate on the Wragg League on a Saturday and the Imperial League on a Sunday.
Derek Dooley Award - Lawrence Clarke
Lol has been involved in football for over 50 years. His first administrative role was with the former Rotherham Junior Centenary League in 1982 and later as secretary for seven years until 1996
He set up Wickersley Masons FC in 1993, running it for many years before joining Wickersley Old Village Over 35s and Over 45s in 2007 and he remains their secretary (being named League Secretary of the Year in 2012).
Lol, 74, has been on the Rotherham Sunday League committee since the 1990s, was formerly Disciplinary secretary and has been Fixtures secretary for over 15 years. He also serves on the committee of the Rotherham and District FA.
A tireless and committed worker, with selfless devotion, he is described as the heart and soul of the Rotherham Sunday League - heart being significant because, in 2011, Lol had a heart attack whilst watching his team, the goalkeeper’s prompt action saved his life - and he was back sorting out the fixtures just a month later.
He is now treasurer of the Rotherham branch of the British Heart Foundation.
Referee Long Service Award 2018 - Brian Coddington
Brian won the award for Referee Long Service Award last season but sue to unforseen circumstances could not attend the evening. It was our please to invite Brian to this season's awards to celebrate his achievements and collect his award.
Geldart Award - Karen Whittaker
The Geldart Awards was donated to us by the Geldart family, some of whom we have joining us today. The Geldart Award was created to recognise contributions to youth football. It is our pleasure to present Karen Whittaker with this year’s Geldart Award for her commitment to Thorncliffe Juniors. Karen works almost solely to keep the club running and organises all the administration and logistics for the club. Alongside this, she continues to develop the club by adding creating new teams for both boys and girls. Karen also provides support for her staff and looks to progress on courses to continue their own development. Unfortunately, Karen could not be with us to collect her award but asked to pass on her thanks to all the nominated her and for the recognition of her work.