Respect winners unveiled

Ahead of Sunday’s FA Community Shield game at Wembley, The FA has announced the winners of the Respect Awards 2014. 

The awards, which are now in their fourth year, salute the individuals, teams and leagues across England which have been at the forefront of promoting Respect at all levels of the game.

Our judging panel was inundated with nominations, which served to demonstrate the tremendous positive contribution that people and organisations make week in, week out to upholding football’s values.

Fans at Leicester City support The FA

The annual Respect Awards take place every year at Wembley

Winners include Skelmersdale United of the Northern Premier League, which has been recognised for an impressive turnaround in its disciplinary record over the course of the past season.

And the Northern Premier League is also a winner in its own right – fighting off stiff competition from the Football Conference to scoop Best League award among the higher echelons of the National Leagues. Remarkably, it is the league’s third success in four years.

In Steps 5-7 of the National League pyramid, the Kent County Football League distinguished itself from many other excellent entrants and is recognised for its innovative policy of supporting clubs through difficult times rather than simply reverting to fines. 

The Women and Girls Award goes to the Herefordshire Girls League, which has earned a reputation for providing a friendly and inspiring environment to play the game.

At grassroots level in the men’s game, Dorset side Longfleet Youth wins Club of the Year jointly with Layton Juniors Football Club from Blackpool. Both clubs impressed the judges in the manner they drew on the energy and commitment of staff and volunteers to instil Respect principles at their clubs.

The Onyx Team Wear Grantham Football League and the East Lancashire Football Alliance are joint winners in the Grassroots League category. Grantham attracted the attention of the judges through their achievements in channelling the Respect theme into youth football with a focus on educating parents in regards to the support they should offer to their children on match days. The East Lancashire Football Alliance is recognised for its work with the Lancashire CFA to deliver adults and children’s football courses within the club environment.

At County level, Derbyshire takes the plaudits for an integrated approach across all of its activities, which included the production of a series of promotional films – but securing victory was a close run thing with Leicestershire, Kent, Surrey and Somerset each providing stiff competition.

A ‘People’s Award’ is introduced this year to recognise spontaneous acts of Respect or Fair Play – the Judges opted for two inspirational winners; the generosity of AFC Bournemouth supporters who raised money to pay for transport of Burton Albion fans to attend a rearranged FA Cup fixture gets the nod as does and the courage shown by Jackie Smith, a club Welfare Officer from Kent who stood up to a gang of thugs that had invaded the pitch, intent on disrupting a youth fixture. 

The prestigious ‘Bobby Moore’ Individual Award goes to Peter Malady of Bengeo Tigers FC in Hertfordshire. Peter has been a driving force in transforming the culture and atmosphere of the club through a combination of education and a willingness to confront those that did not share this vision. 

FA Chairman Greg Dyke presents Crewe Alexandra manager Steve Davis with a prize cheque for Fair Play Award.

FA Chairman Greg Dyke presented a Fair Play prize cheque to Crewe Alexandra last season

From the professional ranks of the game Walsall and Exeter are deserved winners of the Fair Awards for Football Leagues 1 & 2 respectively. While at the very top of the game Liverpool and Burnley each demonstrated an ability to combine successful football with a Respect for footballing values. The Reds enjoyed a memorable season that culminated in UEFA Champions League qualification and the Clarets showed impressive form in the Football League Championship to earn promotion to the Premier League.

The winners have been invited to collect their awards from FA Chairman Greg Dyke at a lunch to be staged prior to this season’s curtain raiser between FA Cup winners Arsenal and Premier League Champions Manchester City. 

“The Respect campaign continues to go from strength to strength, the winners represent the crème de la crème among an inspirational group of leagues, clubs and individuals,” said Respect Manager Dermot Collins. 

“Each has shown determination to ensure that the game is played in the manner it should be – by instilling and maintaining Respect in the game.”

Dyke added: “Since its launch in 2007, The FA’s Respect programme has helped achieve a real improvement in behaviour on and off the pitch from the top of the professional game through to the grassroots. 

“It is fitting that those that have excelled over the past season should be recognised for their achievements. I look forward to congratulating the winners personally.”