Despite England failing to get the result the nation was craving against Italy on Saturday night, Blackpool’s Hilton Hotel was rocking late into the night as the EVO-STIK League’s clubs celebrated yet another fantastic season, writes Natalia Bradford.
Complete with an England-themed backdrop and following on from a surprisingly sunny day on the Fylde coast, more than four hundred and twenty guests, including Football Conference Vice-Chairman Charlie Clapham MBE and Southern League Chairman Ken Turner, looked on as the season’s accolades for fair play, long service and success on the pitch and in the EVO-STIK League’s dugouts, were handed out on stage.
Premier Division champions Chorley, pictured, First Division North champions Curzon Ashton and First Division South champions Halesowen Town were among the winners who took to the stage to join EVO-STIK League Mark Harris and Dale Poulton, Commercial Director of Bostik UK, parent company of the league’s title sponsors, to collect their championship trophies.
AFC Fylde manager Dave Challinor and his promotion-winning club were among the biggest winners as guests were entertained between courses and the night's main awards by singer Jennifer Jewell.
As well their manager being named as the EVO-STIK League’s Manager of the Year, the Coasters capped a superb season by walking away with four more trophies - The Doodson Sport Challenge Cup, presented by Ian Hesselden of sponsors Doodson Insurance, the Premier Division Fair Play Award, presented by EVO-STIK League Respect Manager Phil Bradley and the Premier Division Play-off winners trophy, presented by the League's Chairman.
By an unavoidable quirk of fate, Challinor was unable to attend the awards as he was acting as best man at his best friend’s wedding and instead tasked his assistant manager at Kellamergh Park, Colin Woodthorpe, to collect the Manager of the Year trophy on his behalf.
The evening’s celebrations also saw the introduction of a new accolade for 2014 – The Community Club of the Year. Awarded to recognise the club that has had the greatest impact in their local community while generating the highest levels of positive media coverage, the inaugural winners were named as FC United of Manchester.
Four of the EVO-STIK’s League’s stalwarts were also honoured for their years of hard work at their respective clubs. With a combined total of more than 100 years of service to the game between them, Chasetown President Brian ‘Blondie’ Baker, Goole AFC’s Eric Lawton, Lancaster City Secretary Barry Newsham and Keith Ilett, the former Secretary of Worksop Town, were worthy recipients of their 2014 Long Service Awards.
EVO-STIK League 2014 Roll of Honour
Premier Division Fair Play champions & President’s Cup winners - AFC Fylde
First Division North Fair Play champions - Lancaster City
First Division South Fair Play champions - Brigg Town
Evo-Stik League Premier Division champions - Chorley
Premier Division runners-up - FC United of Manchester
Premier Division play-off winners - AFC Fylde
First Division North champions - Curzon Ashton
First Division North runners-up - Darlington 1883
First Division North play-off winners - Ramsbottom United
First Division South champions - Halesowen Town
First Division South runners-up - Coalville Town
First Division South play-off winners - Belper Town
The Peter Swales Trophy - Halesowen Town
Doodsons League Challenge Cup Winners - AFC Fylde
Manager of the Year Award - Dave Challinor, AFC Fylde
Premier Division Golden Boot Award - Leon Mettam, Worksop Town
First Division North Golden Boot Award - Jon Froggatt, Belper Town
First Division South Golden Boot Award - Lee Gaskell, Ramsbottom United
Long Service Awards – Chasetown’s Brian Baker, Goole AFC’s Eric Lawton, Lancaster City’s Barry Newsham & Worksop Town’s Keith Ilett
Image courtesy of Graham Lindley