Middlesex FA hosted a full house for their Annual Awards Evening on Thursday. 13th July, held in the superb Legends Lounge at Brentford FC’s Gtech Community Stadium. The event celebrates the achievements of the County’s volunteer workforce and the audience was comprised of representatives from every part of the Middlesex football family, together with a selection of friends and colleagues from The Football Association, neighbouring county associations and leagues and their partners.
The evening was, as usual, put together and organised by the County’s dynamic team and was controlled in masterly fashion by Peter Gilham BEM, Brentford FC’s Matchday Announcer. Peter’s 54 years at Brentford is longer than any other football club PA announcer in the UK. He received the BEM in the last New Year’s Honours list for services to football and the local community.
After Peter had opened the evening’s proceedings with the usual housekeeping information, we were shown a video illustrating the achievements and the progress that Middlesex FA made during the 2022-23 season.
Middlesex FA Chairman, John Taylor, then welcomed the assembled gathering. He felt that it was fitting that we holding our event in Brentford, which is the historic County Town of Middlesex and also because of Brentford FC’s strong connections with the grassroots game. John noted that 2023 marked Middlesex FA’s 140th anniversary and was the 5th year at our Rectory Park headquarters.
John introduced our chief guest, James Kendall, the FA Director of Football Development. James stressed the importance of the ongoing relationship between The FA and the counties. He referred to the challenges ahead but felt that we have much to celebrate.
The awards presentations revealed many inspiring stories regarding the dedication and achievements of representatives from our vast army of volunteers. It is humbling to realise that these examples are only the “tip of the iceberg”.
The challenging selection process was undertaken by the MFA Team, led by Neal Hickey (Head of Participation and Development) and Chairman, John Taylor.
The Positive Football Environment Award, the first of the evening, was presented to Eamonn Newell (Twickenham Cygnets FC) by Rhys Porter, last season’s recipient of this award. Other nominations were Denis Nugent (Celtic FC) and Simon Sweeney (Actonians Girls FC).
The Grounds Team of the Year Award went to Sean Cummins and Warren Carr (NPL Youth FC). This award was also presented by last season’s winner, Terry Reader (Bedfont Sports FC). Tony Hesketh (Acton & Ealing Whistlers FC) was also nominated.
MFA Vice Chairman, Doug Douglas, presented the Match Official of the Year Award to Surekha Griffiths. Other nominees were Pat Klosinski and Fadi Mansour.
The Coach of the Year Disability Pathway Award was won by Connor Bagenal (QPR). It was presented by Kevin Coleman, Community Champion of Diversity and Inclusion.
The Coach of the Year Female Pathway Award went to Victoria Ward (Actonians Girls FC). The award was presented by Kate Wells (Middlesex FA Football Development Officer Women’s Participation and Development). Other nominees were Andrea Gooden (Larkspur Rovers FC) and Dominika Netschova (Actonians Girls FC).
The Coach of the Year Male Pathway Award was presented to Robbie Rutter (Enfield Rangers FC) by former MFA Director and previous awards evening MC, Mike Heavey. Other nominees were Mark Davitt and Jan Saunders.
A slide was now shown about the Association’s new Charity Partner, Ealing Foodbank, who have served more than 39.000 people over the last year.
Middlesex FA have so far provided 95kg worth of needed items to Ealing Foodbank, through donations received at the Rectory Park collection poin.
Ealing Foodbank sponsor our Senior Charity Cup and receive the cup final gate receipts and the proceeds of collections made at all of our cup finals. They also benefit from various sponsored projects organised by our HQ staff. Altogether, a total of £1671 has been raised to date.
There was now an interval during which a delicious two course buffet was served and which provided an opportunity for networking and meeting friends and former colleagues.
The second half of the evening was kicked off with a video celebrating the 5th anniversary of Middlesex FA’s move to Rectory Park.
James Kendall, The FA’s Director of Football Development presented the next award. This was the Club of the Year Award, which went to Pitshanger FC. Other nominees in this category were Uxbridge Amblers FC and Bedfont Sports FC.
The League of the Year Award went to the North West London Mental Health League and was presented by Simon Reid, the Secretary of last season’s winners, the Capital Girls League. The Middlesex County Youth League were also nominees.
The Lioness of the Year Award was presented to Andrea Gooden (Larkspur Rovers FC) by Katie Phillipson, formerly MFA Head of Participation and Development, now an FA Regional Development Manager. Other nominees were Jenny Dawuda (Acton Ealing Whistlers) and Gill Taylor (Greater London Women’s League).
Natasha Kalawan (Enfield Rangers FC) won the New Volunteer of the Year Award. This award was presented by previous award winner, Michelle Johnson. Tekeste Ghebremariam (Minds United FC) and Vimal Guiga (Larkspur Rovers Youth FC) were also nominated.
The Young Volunteer of the Year was Oliver Ellery, who is among other things, a Middlesex FA Football Services Officer, Chairman of Staines and Lammas FC. Vice-Chairman of the Surrey County Football League and Chairman of the MFA Youth Council. The presentation was made by Nayim Ahmed, Chairman of the National Youth Council and Volunteer Development Officer for Middlesex FA and London FA. Other nominees were Alfie Spencer (Explorers FC) and Yania FC (Ickenham Youth FC).
Chairman, John Taylor, then presented Special Recognition Awards to Tony Hesketh, Tre Asquith, Middlesex Youth League, Tekeste Ghebremariam, Gill Taylor and Jenny Dawuda.
MFA Vice Chairman, Doug Douglas, presented the Referees Long Service Award to Paul Mitchell (for 20 years’ service). Nicholas Nicolaou was unable to attend. Derek Russell, who has qualified for a 40-year award was also unable to attend.
MFA President, John Davies presented 10 Year Long Service Awards to Anthony Cox (Middlesex County League), Tony Hesketh (Acton Ealing Whistlers FC), Marian Kelly (Actonians LFC), Andrew Perren (Headstone Manor Ladies FC) and Paul Sharpe (Headstone Manor Ladies FC) and 25 Year Long Service Awards to Terry Reader (Bedfont Sports FC), Donald Thompson (South Ruislip Rangers FC), Susan Whitehead and Paul Whitehead (both Kodak FC).
Unfortunately, Ron Durrant (10 years), Mike Holland, Adrian Mann, Bob Parry and Peter Proverbs (25 years) were unable to join us to receive their Awards.
John Davies presented Gladys Reader (Bedfont Sports FC) with the Meritorious Service Award.
John Taylor presented The FA 50 Year Long Service Award to Bill Baker (Staines Town FC and now Staines and Lammas FC). John Cook and Shirley Harrison were unable to attend to receive their awards.
The evening’s presentations were brought to a fitting climax with the award of the highest honour that the Association can bestow, The Middlesex FA Fellowship, to Life Vice President Peter Clayton. Peter was elected as a Councillor in 1978. He served the County in a variety of roles, most notably as Secretary and Chief Executive for an unprecedented 30 years from 1987 until his retirement in 2017. He is only the third recipient of this award. The presentation was made by Past President and former Chairman, Jim Taylor, the previous recipient of the Fellowship.
A final video demonstrated the commitment, collaboration, creativity and connectivity that our organisation possesses to achieve its future goals, before the Chairman closed the evening by thanking everyone in attendance and also Brentford FC, for being wonderful hosts and providing the perfect backdrop to a great night.
Thank you to Jim for capturing the events of the evening with his account of the night, we'd also like to thank Chris Benn who has kindly provide a full album of imagery from the night. We'd also like to thank the Vice-Chair of Middlesex FA's Youth Council, Matthew Dyachuk who also captured some of the events of the night.
Full Album Courtesy of Chris Benn
Full Album courtesy of Matthew dyachuk