Awards Winners

Cheshire FA is pleased to announce this years Grassroots Football Award Winners

We have selected 10 local recipients of The FA and McDonald’s Grassroots Football Awards 2018.

We have has selected 10 local recipients of the fa and mcdonald's grassroots football awards 2018.

The Grassroots Football Awards, known previously as the Respect Awards, recognise and celebrate the work of individuals and groups to instill The FA’s PRIDE values – Progressive, Respectful, Inclusive, Determination and Excellent – and make a positive difference in their club, league or local community.

Following receipt of a record 2,904 nominations, we have worked alongside The FA to select appropriate winners across 10 categories. The full list of Cheshire FA Grassroots Football Awards 2018 winners are below.

Greg Clarke, Chairman of The FA, said: "It’s been fantastic to see a record number of nominations for this year’s Grassroots Football Awards and hear so many stories of dedication and commitment throughout the grassroots game.

"The selection of winners chosen at Cheshire FA represents the diverse nature of football in this country and I would like to congratulate each and every one for their inspirational work."

Steve Stewart, General Manager of Cheshire FA, said: “The winners of these awards are representative of not only the immense talent that exists in Grassroots football in Cheshire but also the breadth and depth of their work. They are the true heroes and guardians of the game. Congratulations to all.”

On 9 July, The FA’s National Panel will meet to select national winners from the pool of County FA recipients and they will be formally announced at the 2018 FA Community Shield on 5 August.

The local Cheshire FA award winners will be presented with their awards at the Cheshire FA awards on the 13th of July 2018. For more information on how to book tickets visit:


To learn more about The FA and McDonald’s Grassroots Football Awards 2018, visit  

The 2018 grassroots football award winners

John Halfpenny - Altrincham FC
Coach of the year - John Halfpenny

John has a vision for Football and that vision is that “all are welcome"

He has clear boundaries which all encompass "Respect" - players, the opposition, the referee, the venue, the parents & the club you represent. He has a clear understanding of the F.A. Guidelines & helps all with his knowledge & support

He has spent his whole life in football.

Coaching teams, running teams, refereeing, working on committees, mentoring young managers & mentoring referees.

He worked for over 10 years at a Saturday Football Club with over 150 young players attending, introducing  the skills of playing the game of football that he is so passionate about. Each year he produces 5 new teams to the local league, that’s 55 new players. He visits their matches to offer support to players & managers.

He is a certified Level 1 coach and he is Altrincham FC Junior's Mr Saturday Club.

Chester FC Community Trust
Community project of the year - Chester FC community Trust

Chester FC's mental health project supports The FA's key value of being inclusive, ensuring that men who might otherwise be unable to participate in football are able to do so.

The project focuses on removing barriers to participation such as cost, assisting with transport to improve accessibility and ensuring to create a positive, welcoming environment in which men who have experience of mental health issues feel safe and able to play the game they love without restrictions.

It uses football to engage with and improve the lives of men, at risk of, or experiencing mental health problems.

The main outcomes of the project are to increase physical activity levels, to raise self-esteem and confidence, to develop coping strategies and build resilience in order to achieve positive changes to participants' physical and mental health.

It aims to remove barriers that may prevent men from accessing this support through harnessing their passion for football.

This project has made a hugely positive difference to the lives of those who attend and illustrates football’s potential as a force for good.

It provides participants with a safe, inclusive environment in which to play football and access support services to help them overcame the challenges they may face.

It creates a support network and examples of improvements reported include weight loss, BMI reduction and reduced dependency on medication with other benefits including a sense of achievement, a greater sense of belonging, improved self-esteem, increased confidence and reduced isolation through opportunities to meet new people.

Crewe FC
Club of the year - crewe fc

Crewe FC have grown extraordinarily over the past 2 years offering football coaching and playing opportunities to over 400 children within the local community as well as progressing to Chartered Standard Community Club status.

They have progressed over 40 children into professional football academies in the past 12 months and also arranged for 6 of their Junior Teams to compete in an international grassroots football tournament in Holland.

They support 35 FA qualified coaches and over 50 unpaid volunteers. The club work tirelessly to promote and grow the club benefiting local charities and hundreds of children in the local community.

Whilst also setting up their own Futsal League.

The club are constantly involved in many community projects going above and beyond the expectations of a grassroots community Club.

In the past 12 months, they have raised close to £10,000 for local charities and community groups.

They offer a free football provision to the local community for 5-7yr olds, which is regularly attended by over 40 children each week. They've also established a Wildcats Centre to promote, develop & encourage the participation of girls in football.

The club continually promotes diversity, disability and equal opportunities encouraging all children and young adults to achieve their potential.

womens league
Cheshire Women's & Youth League

The Cheshire Women's & Youth League has a progressive vision which has helped grow the league to three divisions in the Open age section and a strong Under 18's division this season.

The league has introduced a referees appointment officer and this year used the Whole Game System to do player registrations linking into Full time.

The league have now looked to reduce registration costs for clubs next season now that they use the Whole Game System for registration. They are always determined to look for ways to help clubs. They have also supported clubs at the start of the season with equipment packages.

The league has now established a strong committee of 8 and have club reps that sit on the committee to ensure that good communication is kept between the league and clubs. The league have also developed good links with the Girls Football Leagues in Cheshire ensuring that there is better transition between the junior and womens/youth league thus preventing drop out.

The league are friendly and approachable and try to be as flexible as they can to support clubs.

This approach has helped clubs to retain and grow in the league and has created a great open and positive environment. The league has always been supportive to see their clubs progress onto the next level in the women’s league pyramid to the Regional Women’s League and in within the County Cup competition.

The committee work tirelessly to ensure that females get not only the opportunity to play but a quality experience for all involved.

sandbach pitch
Sandbach United FC
Grounds team of the year - sandbach united FC 

Sandbach United has a club size of 40 Teams. They have progressed there playing facilities to be at a very high standard. Including a 3G AWP now with a stand to seat 50 people along with 7 excellent Full size grass Pitches, with one pitch meeting the standards required for the North West Counties League.

In a difficult year for many clubs due to weather, this club has had minimal fixtures postponed which is due to the hard work and professionalism of their grounds team. Only one fixture was lost to the Fog in the North West Counties league.

The club has a high level of playing surfaces enabling safe and consistent playing conditions all year round. The grounds team are very dedicated and professional, taking pride in their skilled approach to his work.

greg nixon
Greg Nixon
Match Official of the Year - Greg Nixon

Greg is a member of our Cheshire FA Academy Referee.

He has had an excellent season resulting in his promotion to Level 4 Supply League Referee Status. Greg has finished a second successful season in FA CORE as well as the Cheshire FA Academy.

He will represent Cheshire FA at the 2018 Iber Cup in Lisbon, Portugal.

He has his feet firmly on the ground and is always willing to learn and develop as a match official. His attitude and maturity is first class and I have no doubts that if he continues in this manner he has a very bright future in refereeing.

He referees on the West Cheshire League as well as his local Sunday leagues. Clubs look forward to him taking charge of their game knowing that they will get a referee who displays empathy, respect, integrity and humility.

cheshire girls league
Cheshire Girls League
Respect award - Cheshire Girls League

The Cheshire Girls League has shown determination and a progressive attitude in developing and delivering their ethos where the clubs, players, and referees have the best possible environment ensuring a positive match day experience is had by all.

The league has worked hard to ensure that all involved value the FA respect programme. They delivered a Respect workshop at the start of the season for all team managers to attend.

In addition to Respect Barriers used by teams the league has introduced Manager/coaches technical areas so that over enthusiastic managers are not running down touch lines shouting or encroaching onto the pitch.

All of the above has helped to create a more positive environment for the players to enjoy the game.

The league only has a small committee but they are always striving to deliver excellence and create the best possible environment not only for the young players but the young referees who are starting out in their career.

The League has over 1200 girls playing this season and has helped support & develop many young female & male referees all of which have had a positive and enjoyable experience.

neston nomads
James & Will Bather of Neston Nomads
Supporter of the year - James & Will Bather

These two boys are two 8 year old twins, they are brothers to one of the U12 girls players at Neston Nomads.

They have learning support needs with cystic fibrosis. Their confidence, positivity & outlook on life is a lesson to all of us. They are coaches, referees, motivators, supporters & team mascots. They bring a smile to all of the girls with their cheeky antics & are always winding the parents up. They are part of the Neston Nomads 'family' and they are embraced by all.

Their courage & determination is a credit to their single parent father, Geoff who ensures they lead a ' normal' lifestyle.

They show that suffering with a life-changing condition does not mean your quality or enjoyment of life should be affected. These boys truly put some people to shame who take their health and outlook on life for granted. They make you smile when you are down & lift the mood of the team instantly.

sandbach girls
Liz Clark of Sandbach United
Volunteer of the year - Liz Clark

Liz has progressed the girls/ladies section to over 100 participants from U9 to adult ages and has received excellent reviews her peers.

In the last 3 years Liz has been instrumental in raising income of over £10K for the girls section of the club and recently started the wildcats section to involve girls at a younger age.

Liz has a determined and professional attitude and is respected inside SUFC and with the wider football community. Liz sits on the SUFC committee and runs 2 teams also.

Liz had dedicated a major amount of time to build and create a girls/ladies section that has become the biggest among small/medium size clubs within the Cheshire. Two major events in May/June symbolize the value Liz has to the community.

In May a Girls football tournament was held at SUFC attracting 30+ Girls teams. In June a charity game was held v Crewe Ladies to raise money for the Nel foundation in respect of the MEN terror act in 2017.

Liz is resilient, determined, motivating and supportive.

Lucy Jones of Cheshire Blades
Young volunteer of the year - lucy jones

Lucy coaches a Cheshire Blades team at a Wildcats Centre in Crewe and is instrumental in helping to manage the team.

She is always striving for improvement, evidenced by her enrolling on the FA Level 1 Coaching course. She is extremely popular with the girls and parents, a capable and respected individual, who leads by example and is always professional in her approach.

Lucy has a lovely rapport with the girls and makes them feel at ease and listens to their ideas which makes them feel part of the ‘family’.

She shows real commitment and dedication, which is second to none and is always willing to put in the time to help make the sessions productive, whilst at the same time has an overwhelming desire to make the sessions fun.

Lucy is always looking at different ways to improve the sessions and proactively takes time out from her social calendar prior to the sessions, to develop fun and innovative ways to ensure that the girls learn different techniques in an enjoyable and safe environment.

She is determined, embraces challenges and has an outstanding ability to motivate and encourage the girls.

Lucy is an excellent role model for the girls and this is evident in the way the girls look up to and listen to her, from this the girls have gone back to their respective schools and spread the word about the sessions, which has resulted in more girls attending, thus raising the profile of girls’ grassroots football.

She provides knowledge and guidance to the girls in an informative, however enjoyable manner, to help them grow and improve their skills and ability. The way that she conducts the sessions is a credit to her and her confidence has grown immensely.

Cheshire FA Awards

Join us in celebrating Grassroots Football in Cheshire!

13th July

Cresta Court Hotel, Altrincham, WA14 4DP



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