In order to reward those grassroots heroes that the game could not do without, but who often go unheard, volunteers, clubs and leagues from Derbyshire, were brought together on Friday 7th September to reflect and celebrate everything that was achieved last season.
The latest instalment took place, for the first time, at The Riverside Centre, in Derby, with John Collins returning as our compere for another wonderful evening, as we played host to a room full of incredible individuals once again.
This evening had a little bit of a difference compared to others however, as we opened the doors to more clubs and leagues than ever before, in order to help bring the county together and reward more individuals, and made the most of The Riverside’s screen, stage and lighting setup to modernise our event.
Each year we want to make the event bigger and better to reward the sterling work of volunteers within Derbyshire as without volunteers the game could not run.
- Dawn Heron, DCFA CEO
The evening started with a bit of reflection as the DCFA Season Highlights video displayed some of the work the county has achieved of the past 12 months, before we kicked off the celebration with the first of the new FA and McDonald’s Grassroots Football Awards, The Grounds Team of the Year Award, which was won by the one and only Lee Watson of Clay Cross Town.
A total of 14 awards were presented throughout the night, with a variety of them being accompanied by videos and emotional speeches from the winners. Included in the evening was the introduction of the brand new John Clarke Award, which was won by our former Chairman, Dave Heron! The award will now be a permanent fixture of our annual awards evening.
The complete list of award winners can be found below:
- Grounds Team of the Year Award: Lee Watson, Clay Cross Town FC
- Supporter of the Year Award: Trish, Rachel & Lorraine, South Normanton Colts FC
- Young Volunteer of the Year Award: James Tew, Breaston Park FC
- Volunteer of the Year Award: Tommy Weightman, Derby Junior Football League
- The Respect Award: Lynsey Parker, Derby Junior Football League
- Match Official of the Year Award: Andy Wood
- Community Project of the Year Award: Shardlow United SSE Wildcats Centre
- Coach of the Year Award: Ben Hadfield, Heanor Town FC
- Charter Standard Club of the Year Award: South Normanton Colts FC
- Charter Standard League of the Year Award: Derby Futsal League
- The John Clarke Award: Dave Heron
- Derbyshire FA Life Memberships: Geoff Weir, John Woolley, Colin Sedgwick, Dave Heron, Ian Stevens and Alan Smith
- Derbyshire FA Long Service Award: Dave Heron
- FA 50 Years’ Service to Football Award: TBA (Surprise award and winner not present)
Dawn Heron DCFA CEO, said, “What a fantastic evening to celebrate the work of our volunteers in enabling football to be carried out in Derbyshire. There were some changes to the Awards as the majority are defined by The Football Association but this year saw the inaugural presentation of The John Clarke Award by the DCFA. This Award is in memory of John Clarke who served over many years on DCFA Council, Long Eaton Sunday League, Derby City Football League, was a former Referee, Assessor and Mentor and dedicated over 40 years’ service to football in Derbyshire.
"The Award will now be presented yearly by John’s family and it is In Recognition to Services to Grassroots Football in Derbyshire. Also an FA 50 Years’ Service to Football Award was presented, although the recipient was unable to attend. Each year we want to make the event bigger and better to reward the sterling work of volunteers within Derbyshire as without volunteers the game could not run. A massive thank you to you all.”
Lee Albrighton, Club Development Officer for South Normanton Colts FC, said, “It was great for the club to receive 2 Awards – ‘Charter Standard Club of the Year’ and ‘Supporters of the Year’ - which is testament to all involved for their hard work and dedication over the past 12 months! It is also great for grassroots football in our area. As a club, we will continue to build on what we have achieved and to develop further, and to continue to engage with the community at all ages – as we do already by offering football from Mini Colts (U6’s) through to our First Team.
“Club members had a great time at the Awards Evening, and we would like to pass on our thanks to DCFA for giving us the opportunity to celebrate our achievements along with so many other like-minded volunteers who offer so much to grassroots football throughout the County. We would also like to pass on our thanks to DCFA for their continued support.”
Liam Rooney, Football Development Officer for Clubs, Leagues & Workforce, said, “The Derbyshire County FA Awards Evening is always real highlight of the year, as they allow us to pay tribute to some of the most inspiring people in grassroots football across Derbyshire.
“We are so fortunate to have so many fantastic volunteers, clubs and leagues who help us strive towards providing better and more opportunities for people to participate in football across Derbyshire. I am sure for all our volunteers, clubs and leagues that attended the evening and heard the fantastic tales of the dedication from our Derbyshire winners; it will further inspire them to submit nominations for next year.”
The evening was rounded off with a raffle before being drawn to a close by Frank McArdle’s first DCFA Chairman’s Speech, in which he praised the work of all of the guests and reiterated the fact that the game wouldn’t be possible without them.
Derbyshire County FA would like to congratulate all of the winners and would like to extend their thanks to McDonald’s, The FA, Halliday Lighting, Replay Maintenance, Phoenix Sporting Goods, Sportsguard, Discount Football Kits and The Riverside Centre for their help and support which made it possible to host the event.
If you would like to see some of the content from the night, all the videos will be uploaded to our YouTube channel over the next week. You can also search #DCFAAwards18 on Twitter, to see the coverage of the event, or you can visit our Facebook page to view a selection of photos taken by our official photographer, James Williamson.