On Thursday the 12th of September the London FA held their 8th annual Awards Night at Selhurst Park.
Approximately 100 volunteers, supporters and members of staff came together to celebrate the work of volunteers within grassroots football across the county over the last season.
David Fowkes, London FA Chief Executive commented on the awards night by saying “A host of winners came forward to collect their awards in recognition of outstanding service to the game in a number of different areas: clubs, leagues, refereeing, etc. The standard of award winner is consistently high.”
The awards started off with a hilarious performance from Football Impressionist, Darren Farley. With words from Roy Hodgson, Michael Owen, Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard, Harry Redknapp, Jamie Carragher, Rafa Benitez and David Beckham the crowd were duly primed and ready to appreciate the work that has been done at a local level throughout the last year.
Alex Welsh, who is the Chief Executive of the London Playing Fields Foundation, compered the evening.
The first award presented was the Facility Partner of the Year award. This award went to Petts Wood FC and was presented by the London FA Partnership Investment Manager, Josie Clifford. The committee have worked tirelessly to improve and attain planning permission for a new clubhouse, going from Portable Cabins to a fully established clubhouse is a huge achievement and the London FA wanted to recognise and show that all of the hard work they have done in getting this up and running.
Terry Dolan was then called up to collect the award for Grounds Manager of the Year. Terry is someone who is self-motivated, reliable, hardworking and dedicated to the Job that he does. He is the in charge of the ‘day to day’ management of the London Marathon ground in Kidbrooke. Terry’s passion shines through with his continued hard work, including being out there in all weather conditions, with no complaints. A thoroughly deserved award winner.
Coach of the Year went to Francis Tardioli for his work in coaching across London. Francis has been coaching since 1984 and has worked for two London based teams with Arsenal and Wimbledon within their Youth Academy set-up. However, he has also worked abroad in Portugal and Italy, enhancing his coaching experience across the continent. He currently holds a UEFA B and several Youth Module awards and is one of the first in the country to pass The FA Youth Module 4 award.
The award for Young Volunteer of the Year went to Holly Orton. Holly started volunteering 3 years ago with her club’s new girls Saturday club. With her help the club has brought in over 35 girls who are now playing football regularly and she has now also taken up a role helping to coach the under 8 boys team. She referees junior matches for the club, volunteers at club social events and is currently working with her local council to help run and coach their primary school girls district football team. She is always enthusiastic, positive and is a great role model for the young people that she works with. As well as being recognised by the London FA she has also been noticed by the Football Association and has picked up The FA’s Regional Young Volunteer of the Year award.
There was an award for Volunteer of the Year. This award was won by Angela Wood for her exceptional service to youth grassroots football in London. Angela volunteers at Charter Standard Club, Junior Reds, who are in the Charter Standard League, within the Selkent League. She currently holds the positions of Club Fixture Secretary, Child Welfare Officer, Club Kit Manager, Registration Secretary for the club’s 18 mini soccer teams, Saturday Soccer Club Administrator and assists with the club’s annual presentation evening. If this is not enough she is also the Treasurer and Registration Officer of a London under 9’s Charter Standard Youth League. Angela devotes an incredible amount of time to youth football to ensure that so many young people can get involved and play the game and she does this without expecting any favours or rewards, so it was felt that it was about time to reward her for the fantastic work that she does. Unfortunately Angela was not able to attend the awards evening, Andy Wood accepted the award on her behalf (pictured left).
As you can see from the video above the London Football Association have some fantastic young leaders on our Football Futures programme, however, this year two of them have stood out. Maahir Subhani and Ella Statham won the award of Football Futures Volunteers of the Year between the two of them they have accumulated over 200 volunteer hours towards football across the county; and they do this by fitting it around their studies, this shows how much passion and enthusiasm they have for the game.
Maahir has been a coach at a Charter Standard Club, whilst also helping to increase participation in his college. He has been recognised by the British Colleges Sport as a National Leader of the Year for 2012/13.
Ella is the Chairperson on the London FA Young Leaders Council and has led the council through a highly successful first year. It has also been very recently announced that she is going to be recognised by The Football Association as a National Football Futures award winner for her tireless work around promoting the game.
Andre Ferguson won the Inclusion Partner of the Year award for his work with Meakabears. Andre is the founder of the Meakabears organisation , which was inspired by his own deaf daughter. This organisation does more than just football, it also includes swimming making it a multi-sport organisation providing educational supplement for children who are deaf in Southwark; and now they are moving into Lewisham. They are an affiliated London FA club who are working towards their Charter Standard award.
Club Welfare Officer of the Year award went to Grainne Bellenie. Grainne has been a club welfare officer at Beacons FC for three years. Not only is she is also the club secretary. She ensures that the day-to-day running of the club runs smoothly and that child welfare is at the forefront of every decision made by the club. Her club have described her as “passionate about the welfare of young people” and that “it is an incredible honour for her and the club she represents” in winning this award.
There was also a Long Service award for Contribution to Grassroots Football that was awarded to Pat Neenan. Pat has been associated with Midway FC for 68 years and has been the club secretary for 33 years. However, he is stepping up to chairman next season as the secretary role is very demanding. Pat has always attended league meetings, although this is some distance from his home and he always sorts out the clubs fines & instills discipline into the squad of players. The club would not be in existence but for this true gentleman.
Sally Dolan was named League Secretary of the Year. Sally won this award for her knowledge on everything there is to do with Youth football, if we have any query we can always contact Sally and she will do her very best to help and provide us with the information that we require. Without her there would be no SelKent League. She is a truly remarkable Woman and here at the London FA we have the upmost respect for her.
The award of Club Administrator of the Year went to Brian Vandervilt. Brian who has recently been put in post as the Chairman of Corinthian Casuals FC. His role last season was as Club Secretary who worked diligently to ensure that all administration for the club was kept up-to-date. He is described by one of his fellow club members as “a kind, considerate gentleman who always has the welfare of the club in mind.” A truly well thought of individual by club and county.
League Administrator of the Year was awarded to Peter Panayiotou from the Islington Midweek League. Peter has been part of the Islington Midweek League since 2000/2001 season, he has served as Results Secreatary, Fines Secretary and has been Chairman for the last 3 years. He takes a ‘hands-on’ approach to all aspects of the running of the League. Peter is a great help on all administration side, he’s extremely punctual and vigilant about supplying the county with the relevant information regarding players suspensions and any information, such as, addresses and dates of birth for players, that the clubs fail to send in. Unfortunately Peter was not able to attend the awards evening, so Steve Kelly, Islington Midweek League Secretary, collected the award on his behalf.
This year The FA launched The FA Carlsberg Referee Awards and more nominations were received for London FA than any other county across the country, so first and foremost, the London Football Association would like to thank everyone who nominated someone for one of these awards.
The FA Carlsberg Referee Award for Outstanding Contribution to Refereeing went to Alan Hill. Alan does so much for refereeing, he is a true workhorse. He is an active level 5 referee, FA Registered Tutor delivering Basic Training Courses, London FA honorary Examinations Officer arranging examinations for approximately twenty courses every year and attending most as an examiner, Criminal Records Bureau identity verifier, Accredited FA mentor, FA registered Referee Assessor and arranges match officials for various tournaments, notably including those for the London FA Female Officials Programme.
Jeff Pettitt won The FA Carlsberg Referee Award for Outstanding Contribution to Refereeing within a Referee Development Setting. Jeff is a level 5 referee, founder and co-ordinator of the Charlton Athletic Referees’ academy, where he regularly coaches referees, co-ordinator of the FA’s London & South East Regional Level 4 Referee Coaching Group, active FA registered Level 2 Referee Tutor, delivering both Basic Referees Training Courses and at In-Service training events of the London FA and FA registered Assessor operating at Contributory level.
The final FA Carlsberg Referee Award for Outstanding Contribution from a Volunteer went to Steve Kelly. Steve is an active level 5 referee, secretary of the Islington Midweek League, which is used as a ‘finishing’ school for London FA’s potential level 4 officials, and he is also a Coach at the Arsenal FC Referee Academy, where he imparts his wisdom from his time at the higher levels of the game to the young and developing referees of the future.
The London FA also likes to recognise the work of the match officials who have refereed continuously and with passion and exemplary service for 15 and 25 years. During the evening two of these awards were presented to Les O’Gara (for 25 years), pictured left, and Chris Conroy (for 15 years), pictured right. This shows the sustained commitment and enthusiasm of our match official workforce who do such an incredible job making sure players are safe and play according to the Laws of the Game set out by FIFA.
On the night there was a special award presented to Steve Child, who was Assistant Referee on this year’s FA Cup Final. It was an incredible achievement and really celebrated the excellent season that Steve had on the Premier League during 2012-13. Steve was presented with a decanter and glasses with an engraved plate. Well done again Steve and from us all at the London FA keep up the excellent work.
There was then a brief interlude between the awards and members in attendance were treated to a Question and Answer session with Chelsea and England Full-Back Clare Rafferty. Both Questions and Answers were tweeted via the London FA Twitter Account and using the #LFAAwards13, @clrafferty1, @WagFDOLondon. Below is a screen shot of some of the tweets.
Awards were then presented for members who have seriously contributed to Women’s Football over the last 12 months.
Parkwood picked up the award for Female Charter Standard Club of the Year. They were one of only three teams (at their level) to reach the 1st Round Proper of the Women’s FA Cup, by beating Anchorians (who are a league above them), Crawley Wasps (a Step-4 team) and Crystal Palace (who were then a Step-3 team from the combination league). They also reached the quarter finals of the league cup and the final of the Kent FA Plate competition. Along with all of this the team were nominated for The FA Fair Play Award and Respect Awards, reaching the final voting stage. If this was not enough they have also recently gained promotion to the South East Counties Women’s Football League Premier Division for the first time in their history. Many congratulations Parkwood on an incredible season of Football.
The award for Outstanding Contribution to Female Football went to Katee Hui. Katee started Hackney Laces in late 2011 after noticing a lack of opportunities to for girls to play football within the borough. As well as increasing participation in the female game and being a good female role model, she also puts players have been awarded their FA level 1. She has created a place to play for so many young women that didn’t exist previously, fostering a safe and fun environment for young women in Hackney.
The Charter Standard Community Club Award went to Balham Blazers FC. Balham have been an excellent club and have worked in accordance with clear Charter Standard objectives. This season they have opened their doors wider and have taken on a further 50 young footballers, boosting club membership to 200 overall, with teams from under 8’s through to senior football.
Bedhead FC picked up The FA Charter Standard Development Club Award. Bedhead run and help out with a whole host of interesting and innovative projects to get more people involved in the game. They have not only been recognised by London FA, The FA have noticed their incredible work and that’s why they were also awarded the National Charter Standard Development Club Award.
The penultimate award of the evening, The FA Community Club Award went to Petts Wood FC. Standing still is not an option for this club who are constantly striving to develop. The club run ‘growing our own’ players sessions starting at toddler fun sessions, 4-6 year old activities and a total of 35 teams from mini-soccer through to senior ladies and a new senior men’s team for this season. They have recently received a Grow the Game grant to coach girls in a local primary school in years 3, 4 and 5 and then continue free coaching at the club in an effort to develop girls team locally. Last year they held a fundraiser during which they broke a Guiness World Record for the most people in a 5-A-Side game; 626 competitors in over 24 hours, which raised a hugely impressive sum of £23,000 for one of their players who has leukaemia. A truly inspirational club and a well deserved award winner.
The Outstanding Contribution to Community Football was the final award of the evening and was presented to Jamie Mehmet. Jamie is a coach that does so much more than just coaching for his team. In addition to working his way through the coaching badges and managing a team with Docklands JFC he puts in many hours and much effort into arranging tours and games to provide great life experiences for his players. This has included trips abroad to play against the likes of St Mirren, Porto, Valencia, Galatasaray and hopefully for next season Chicargo Fire who sponsor the club. They arrange ‘team building’ activities such as Paintballing, Go-Karting and most recently a Q&A session with boxer David Haye. In addition to winning our county award Jamie has also won The FA Regional award.
Natalie Doyle, London FA Workforce Football Development Officer, who has been instrumental in putting this evening together, commented on the evening by saying “Selecting the winners of these awards gets harder each year as we have so many brilliant individuals and organisations involved in football within London. It’s important that we recognise the amazing contribution that these people make to the game and tonight has been a great celebration of that. I’d like to say huge congratulations to all of the winners and a massive thank you from all at London FA for the tireless work you do.”
Tony Sharples, London FA Chairman, closed the evening with giving thanks to not only all of the award winners, but also to all of the volunteers that make grassroots football happen across the county.
This year’s awards evening just goes to show how much people love this sport and how without them football just would not happen. So, once again, from all of us at the London FA thank you and well done.