Grassroots awards presentation

Grassroots Awards winners announced

Grassroots Awards winners announced

We are delighted to announce our Northamptonshire Grassroots Awards winners 2023. The clubs, leagues and individuals below have been nominated by their peers and chosen by an independent panel based on the nominations we received.

Over the coming weeks, Northamptonshire FA officials will visit each award winner to present their trophy, certificate and gifts as recognition for their excellent contribution to grassroots football over the past 12 months.

Christian Smith, Chief Executive of Northamptonshire FA praised the contribution of all the award winners. He said “On behalf of the County FA I’d like to personally congratulate every nominee and award winner. We had just shy of 100 nominations in total and it’s crucial that their contribution is recognised and appreciated. The panel said how difficult it was to choose a winner.

We have 13 winners below, however every club official, coach, referee, grounds keeper and parent deserve an award for their vital contribution to grassroots football in Northamptonshire this year and we’re immensely grateful for their support.”

Congratulations to all the winners! A short summary of each nomination is also included below:

Club of the Year – Finedon Volta Juniors

The passion and drive of this committee really is second to none. The Club has forged a great relationship with Huxlow Academy and created 3 excellent pitches. Within the last 12 months the club has doubled in size and created new opportunities for girls to play. A wonderful set of volunteers for a great club - keep going Finedon Volta Juniors!

Grassroots League of the Year – Northamptonshire Women & Girls Football League

An almost entirely new committee started in summer 2022 and they have brought a modern, fresh approach to running a league.

Collaboration between the league committee and clubs has been strong, with quarterly drop-in sessions delivered to gain feedback and make changes. The female game is in safe hands in Northants. Well done!

Grounds Team of the Year – Heyford Athletic

Brian Edgington and Robert Hancox have held numerous committee roles at Heyford over the years and are now regular players at their weekly walking football sessions.

Both men have gone past retirement age and have stepped back from all other duties, apart from spending their days mowing and marking out all the pitches and surrounding areas.

Their impact is huge and the club and local football owes them so much. This is their final season and their presence next season will be hugely missed.

Young Volunteer of the Year – Harry Knight, Finedon Volta Juniors

Harry is 14 years old and helps coach the under 6s and girls at Finedon Volta Juniors. Harry has made a massive impact, especially in the beginning!  His help was priceless with very little volunteers at the time of starting girls and u6s it would have been a massive struggle. Both sections are now full of volunteers and thriving with 2-3 teams in u6 and over 20 girls. This role has really helped Harry grow as a person and into his role as a supporting Coach.  Harry is really inspiring and demonstrates a clear growth for leadership, coaching and mentoring.

Positive Environment – Russell Chandler, Northampton Parklands Tigers

Russell is Vice Chair of Parklands Tigers and has devoted over 10 years to the club. He is very caring, professional and player-centred youth coach who gives his heart, soul and commitment to his squad and to the club. His persona, body language, role modelling, encouragement and player development focus is so impressive. Russell has a positive and progressive vision for the club and displays it brilliantly.

Coach of the Year (Female Pathway) – Chris Webb, Crick

Chris has this special sparkle about him. He never raises his voice and is always full of praise. As long as the girls are smiling and having fun, he is doing his job to the best of his ability. He makes the girls want to come training in the rain and even when they lose a match he still manages to make them smile and turns the loss into a positive. His patience and kind nature has won the hearts of the girls and supporters. The level of respect they have for him is unreal and he has the gift of bringing out the best of them.

Coach of the Year (Male Pathway) – Paul Cunningham, Corby Hellenic

Paul continued with the team through to under 18s this season, despite his daughter finishing playing. He has recently setup the mini All-stars at Corby Hellenic for players aged 3-6 and 30 players now regularly enjoy their football and make new friends. Paul is mentoring 3 new parents to become coaches. Paul has had a real positive impact on many young people’s lives throughout their grassroots journey together.

Coach of the Year (Disability Pathway) – Paul Firth, Kettering FC

Paul has made a massive impact on the group of disabled players at Kettering FC, displaying patience and good humour with all the children. The players listen and engage with Paul really well and player numbers continue to increase thanks to Paul and his colleague’s fun sessions.

Lioness Award – Sinead Livesey, Oundle Town

Off the pitch Sinead is Vice Chair and has led a female revolution at Oundle Town. 2 years ago there were no female teams at Oundle Town. Fast forward to now and there are over 100 female players ranging from under 8s through to walking football. Sinade has an amazing energy and infectious enthusiasm for the game and we’re so proud of what she has achieved.


New Volunteer of the Year – Nick Thomson, Kettering Town

Nick is a quiet and reserved parent. Never in a million years did we think he would volunteer to be a coach. He loved watching football because his son enjoyed it. The way they have bonded over the game in and outside of the team has spilled into his coaching approach. He’s full of praise, laughter and fun and it rubs-off onto the team and all around him.

He’s reminded the boys that having fun, developing friendships and learning new things are more important than winning.

Match Official of the Year – Phoebe Horner

Phoebe starting refereeing regularly in the past 4 years and has recently been promoted to Level 4 in the men’s game and Level 3W in the women’s game. Phoebe is part of the FA Emerging Talent Programme for female referees and was appointed as referee for England women v Denmark under 16s at St George’s Park recently. Phoebe volunteers as part of the Northampton Referee Association committee where she is a great role model for attracting more female referees into the game.

Remember to check back on our social media channels in the coming weeks to see a special feature on three of the award winners.