Last night, the winner of the inaugural John Twentyman Spirit of Football award was announced live on BBC Radio Cumbria.
The awards are in the memory of a true football man and someone who throughout his distinguished and long career epitomised the spirt of football.
Nominations were received and shortlisted to the 7 finalists and there was a public vote, which saw around 1,000 votes being placed. These votes were then ranked and combined with the scores from a panel of judges including the CFA Chair and John's son and daughter.
Each finalist will receive a £50 voucher courtesy of our kit suppliers, kitlocker.com, and the overall winner will receive an FA Respect Club Package including barriers for their respective club.
The Top three:
1st Place – Lee Coan (Whitehaven Miners Social FC)
Recognised for his work at the club, Lee was described as being instrumental in creating an atmosphere that makes the club ‘feel like a family’. It is well due recognition as without people like Lee, grassroots football clubs wouldn’t be able to function and he does it all with a smile on his face.
2nd Place - Dennis Devlin (volunteer and podcaster)
The silver medal went to Dennis in recognition of the his own health issues and the fact that despite these he has just ‘got on with what he loves’, which is ‘Cumbria and football’.
3rd Place - Lee Tedford (Carlisle Glass Longhorn Referee Appointments Officer)
‘Teddy’ stepped in to fulfil the role of referee appointments officer for the Carlisle Glass Longhorn Youth League to ensure that youth football continued.
The CFA also awarded a Special Recognition Award to Peter Shepherd (Northbank FC)
Peter was a long-term friend of John Twentyman.
He is a true football man, who epitomises fair play and the spirit of the game and has done throughout his career within the grassroots game.
We know, like John, he will not thank us for this recognition as he will not see himself as doing anything extraordinary. However, he does and we can’t think of anyone more befitting of this award and we are sure that Mr Twentyman would agree.
Cumberland FA CEO and Lead Officer with regards to Positive Football Environment, Ben Snowdon, stated:
“I would like to thank all those who nominated, and everyone who voted, including our panel of judges. I would also like to congratulate all of those shortlisted and of course our winners, Lee and Peter.
Last season, 94% of all football played in Cumberland was done so in a positive football environment and whilst we are not saying that there is an issue with behaviour and understand that one serious incident is one too many, it is important that we recognise that the large percentage of those involved in the grassroots game demonstrate the behaviour we want to see and all of the finalists are all wonderful examples of this and remind us of all that is good within the game.”
The Cumberland FA will be in touch with all finalists and the winners to arrange for delivery of their prizes.