Manchester FA’s annual Grassroots Awards took place on Friday evening, to celebrate the incredible work of the volunteers involved within grassroots football, in Manchester.
Over 300 volunteers attended the ceremony, held at the Midland Hotel in Manchester, for an evening of recognition and celebration of the 2018/19 season.
Hosted by sports presenters Hugh Ferris and Natalie Pawaleck, the prestigious ceremony included presentation of 15 awards, celebrating every area of the grassroots game.
Alongside recognition of those who have 10, 15, 25 and 50 years’ service in the game, award winners on the night included:
• Match Official Of the Year - Jacob Davies
• RESPECT: We Only Do Positive Award - Cerebral Palsy United FC
• Grounds Team of the Year - Ashton United FC Grounds Team
• Team of the Year Awards:
o Futsal - Manchester Futsal Club Women’s
o Disability - FC United of Manchester Open Age
o Female - Heyside U12 angels
o Male - Deans Youth and Ladies U13s Sports
• Supporters of the Year - Oldham Athletic Girls and Women U16s supporters
• League of the Year - Greater Manchester Women’s Football League
• Coach of the Year Award - Matt Wall AFC Urmston Meadowside
• Rising Star Award - Melissa Young (Better Things FC)
• Grassroots Project of the Year Award - Follo FC
• Volunteer of the Year Award - Norma Keigher (Moorside Rangers)
• Club of the Year Award - Chadderton Park Sports Club
• Frank Hannah Lifetime Achievement Award
o Posthumous award to Bernard Halford for his services to grassroots football
During the evening, guests also took part in a Q&A with trailblazer Rachel Yankey OBE and Manchester City Women’s Manager Nick Cushing, discussing their own careers, the impact of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup and excitement around the first professional women’s Derby in Manchester, this September.
Rachel Yankey OBE, who became the first English female professional footballer in 2000, commented on the impressive commitment and passion shown by Manchester’s grassroots football community,
“It has been an honour to attend Manchester FA’s Grassroots Awards and see the efforts that volunteers go to throughout the year to provide football opportunities in Manchester. Without volunteers, grassroots football would not happen and I certainly would not have had the career I have had without volunteer support, and so it was a real pleasure to be part of tonight’s celebration.”
Manchester City Women’s Manager Nick Cushing added: “Through my work at Manchester City, I regularly see the fantastic work done by volunteers in the grassroots game in the local area and to recognise these individuals, clubs and leagues who give so much was a special experience to be part of. Future professional players are currently playing at grassroots clubs just like the ones we celebrated tonight and as a team we hope we can do our part to inspire them to keep playing the game.”
Colin Bridgford, Manchester FA Chief Executive Officer, opened the evening and reflected on a fantastic season in grassroots football in Manchester that would not have been the success it was, were it not for the thousands of volunteers that drive the game locally.
“The evening was a fantastic event that celebrated every area of our game in Manchester, from our clubs, leagues, officials and volunteers, through to inspirational projects that use football as a vehicle to engage with different communities or those going through difficulties in their own lives. Without the passionate, committed and inspiring volunteers within grassroots football, the game wouldn’t happen and so we are honoured to have been able to put these individuals in the spotlight this evening and show our huge appreciation to them.”
Winners from the ceremony have been put forward to the national FA and McDonalds Grassroots Awards and national winners will be announced by the FA on the 4th August 2019.
Photos from the night will be shared shortly, on our Facebook page.