People’s Award for Chris

Ribchester Football Club coach Chris Byrne has scooped the big prize at The FA Community Awards presented by McDonald’s at Wembley.

The ceremony took place ahead of kick-off in Sunday’s FA Community Shield and Chris was crowned this year’s winner of the People’s Award.

Now in its fifth year, The FA Community Awards shine a light on the tremendous efforts of the 400,000 volunteers who make grassroots football what it is. 

Chris Byrne

Chris Byrne coaches at Ribchester

The People’s Award, one of eight honours handed out at Wembley, gave the power to the public who voted in their thousands for their chosen grassroots hero from an eight-strong shortlist. 

Selected as regional winners for their ‘Outstanding Contribution to Community Football’, Chris picked up the most votes to become the winner. 

He received his trophy from England’s World Cup winner and McDonald’s director of football, Sir Geoff Hurst, ahead of Arsenal’s 3-0 victory over Manchester City.

Chris has been an inspirational member of Ribchester Football Club, based in Lancashire, for over 12 years and has been instrumental in the club’s development. 

He single-handedly re-launched the club after the senior team had folded and helped the club grow to over 80 members. He hosts weekly training sessions and regularly organises club tournaments. 

In addition to being a brilliant coach, Chris uses his motivational skills to mentor and encourage junior members to volunteer at the club.

Chris Byrne

The goals don’t put themselves out

As well as the People’s Award, their were seven other prizes presented at the national stadium. 

Sir Geoff said: “Volunteers
and clubs like these are
what keeps the grassroots
game alive. 

“Their efforts give children
and adults of all abilities the
opportunity to enjoy and
participate in a safe
environment, and without
them the game we know
and love couldn’t exist.” 

National Award Winners

FA Charter Standard
Development Club of
the Year

Castleford White Rose FC 
Castleford completed their
three-year development
plan in year one, increasing
football opportunities for
women and locals. All
coaches now have FA
qualifications and the club
is taking steps to secure a
permanent home in the
Leeds area. 

Coach of the Year

Allan Lambourne

Lambourne has coached
youngsters at Selsey FC for
seven years, increasing the
number of players and
teams, starting girls’ sides
and recruiting new coaches.

FA Charter Standard
Community Club
of the Year

Berkhamstead Raiders

Founded in 1996,
Berkhamstead Raiders now
have 700 young players on
their books. The club works
closely with local schools
over pitches and
encourages coaches
and referees to take
qualifications and actively
participate in running
the club. 

Volunteer of the Year

Sue Bonnington

Bonnington has dedicated
17 years to Heanor Juniors
FC, helping the club grow
from three teams to 11.
She covers numerous roles
from training to
sponsorship and welfare. 

Charter Standard
League of the Year

Lancashire Sunday
Football League

Formed more than 40
years ago, this league
has more than 90 teams
and is still growing. It
ensures all matches are
officiated by qualified
referees and has high
quality administration. 

Young Volunteer
of the Year

Jakub Matweijszyn

A Hanwell Town player,
Matweijszyn is also a
Level 2 qualified
coach who
manages a school team,
officiates at games, tends
pitches in his lunch break
and runs a homework club
for players while studying
for his A Levels.

FA Charter Standard
Club of the Year

Bodmin Youth

The club has 200 members.
It launched two girls’ sides
and has plans for affiliation
with Bodmin Town FC
and to become an FA
Community Charter
Standard club.