For the first time in the history of The FA Community Shield sponsored by McDonald's, we’re giving you the power to decide who will be crowned as the national winner of the 'Outstanding Contribution To Community Football Award' as part of the newly launched People's Award.
Each of our eight nominees have already been selected as regional winners for their ‘Outstanding Contribution to Community Football’ confirming their status as true grassroots heroes but they now need your help and your vote if they are going to be named The People’s Award winner for 2012.
The inaugural People's Award winner will be crowned at The FA Community Awards ceremony sponsored by McDonald's on Friday 12 October at the new Wembley Hilton Hotel, scheduled to coincide with England’s World Cup Qualifier against San Marino.
You can get involved now and place your vote by clicking here.
Andy Lowe – Middlesex
For the last 37 years Andy Lowe, Chairman of the Harrow Youth Football League, has devoted countless hours of his time to youth football. Whilst being in full-time employment, he still manages to make around 40-50 hours of meetings and training sessions every week. Andy is committed to providing more opportunities for players, coaches and referees to enjoy football each week and thanks this commitment grassroots football has been made possible for almost 9,400 youngsters in the area. Andy helped form the Harrow Soccer 7’s Combination League which along with the Harrow Youth Football League is now recognised as an FA Charter Standard League. Under his leadership the league has since been recognised as one of the best in Middlesex for player development. Today, the league facilitates football for 574 teams, enabling over 9,300 boys and girls to play football. Andy registers all players each year and also fills out 570 match result cards every single week. His continued dedication and commitment is unparalleled, providing guidance and assistance to colleagues, member clubs, managers, coaches and referees. Andy is well recognised and respected within the footballing fraternity (at Local, County, Regional and FA levels), admired for his tireless commitment – an outstanding contribution by an exemplary role model.
Bob Mowlem – Dorset
Aged just 16, Bob soon began running teams in his local football league, marking the start of his long and distinguished coaching career. Now, Bob holds both an FA Level 1 Coaching Award and an FA Level 2 Coaching Award, which he passed in 2010. At 65, Bob is the current Chairman of the Dorset Youth Football League and has completed almost 50 years of voluntary work in local football. In the five decades that he has participated in grassroots football, he has founded a number of clubs including Dorchester Cosmos Youth FC and helped leagues such as the Dorset Youth Football League gain Charter Standard League status. A typical week for Bob is delivering community coaching to three local schools, coaching a youth football team at training and matches; acting as League Secretary for the Dorset U10 Mini-soccer League; attending committee meetings of the Dorset County Football Association and attending matches either as a DCFA or DYFL official.
Bob has endless enthusiasm for youth football, and his wealth of knowledge and experience is readily shared with others. Without him young grassroots players simply wouldn’t get to enjoy football in Dorset. Bob’s dedication and enthusiasm for the grassroots game rubs off on anyone involved in football for Dorset.
Shirley Johnson – Oxfordshire
Quite simply, without Shirley Johnson Launton Ladies FC, which has provided women’s football in Oxfordshire for 43 years, would not exist.
Shirley has been the driving force behind Launton Ladies FC ever since she arranged a friendly against a rival village in 1968. The club continues to grow and currently competes in the Southern Region Women’s Premier League and attracts players from all across Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Wiltshire. Behind the scenes, Shirley has given up thousands of hours of her time to fill almost every role possible at the club from writing weekly match reports to captaining the side on many occasions. She is heavily involved in fund raising to ensure that the club is able to continue year-on-year. Her crowning achievement at the club was the creation of the Judy Fry Memorial Tournament to commemorate the past Launton captain who sadly passed away. The tournament, which is one of the main fundraisers for the club, occurs annually and has attracted teams as far away as Glasgow who all travel to Oxfordshire to compete. Her contribution to the club doesn’t stop there, she has shown incredible persistence and drive to set up a youth side and a 5-a-side team to greatly improve the opportunities for local girls to get involved with grassroots football. Her love and passion for the beautiful game has led to four decades worth of women having the opportunity to play football in the local community.
Enzo Valente – Bedfordshire
Enzo Valente is a shining light in the local community of Farley Town, Luton and is responsible for the creation of two local sides that have enjoyed remarkable success this season. Having originally encouraged local children to attend his free midweek training sessions, he was able to form and manage two sides that now compete in the Premier Division and Reserve division of the Luton Beds South District League.
Enzo has shown real passion for grassroots football and manages to complete all of the club's secretarial work in between running his own hair salon. His commitment to the local community has seen many children who were causing trouble on the streets sign up and play weekly football. Since the clubs formed six years ago, they have shown remarkable improvements, with a team currently on the brink of winning the Premier Division.
Mike Taylor – Derbyshire
New Mill Juniors FC is now in its 40th year of providing grassroots football to the local Derbyshire community, thanks to the hard work of Mike Taylor. The Derbyshire club has grown in size and stature since it was formed in 1972 and now provides football to 150 local children across ten separate teams on a weekly basis. The club originally started as a promise made by Mike to his son who wanted to be part of a local football team. To his surprise around 30 children turned up at the local field all wanting to play and New Mill Juniors FC was born. Mike is still very active within the club and currently acting as club secretary which he combines with running mini soccer schools every Friday for local youngsters who are taking their first steps into football. These classes prove to be as popular as ever and have even led to the formation of a new U8s side.
Steve Frost – Lancashire
Over the last 15 years, Steve has turned Wilpshire Wanderers from a club with no facilities, no teams, no pitches and no sponsors to one with more than 200 kids playing football at a home venue which has one of the best small-sided facilities around. Steve, as the Club Chairman, was involved right from the start - transforming a derelict wasteland into a home venue to be proud of, having raised money through local businesses, sponsorship and initiatives. Steve is always striving to improve the club at all levels and played a huge part in the development of the club’s partnership with St Augustine’s High School - raising funds to develop the pitches for not only the clubs’ older players but also the nearby school and the rest of the wider community. Steve gets involved in organising the local Sportspersons’ Dinner and also runs an annual awards evenings for the club’s players to celebrate their achievements and performance. Steve still finds the time to attend matches most Saturday mornings to ensure everything runs smoothly - from putting the parking cones out to setting up the goals and making drinks for the supporters. Steve is involved in all aspects of the club and its success is testament to his commitment and passion for the Wanderers and community football.
Rob Houghton – Durham FA
Rob Houghton was a founding member of Leam Rangers Junior Football club in 1993 and he has been involved in the running of the club on a daily basis since then - overseeing the clubs’ development from a field with very basic changing rooms, to what is now one of the biggest Charter Standard clubs in the Tyneside area. Leam Rangers now boasts a magnificent clubhouse and changing facilities for their 22 teams featuring age ranges from U6s all the way through to U18s, including three girls teams. The club now also has two senior teams so that the kids that have come through the junior system can stay on and play at an adult level. In his free time away from his full time job as a school caretaker, Rob can be found cutting the grass, marking pitches, painting, sweeping and putting up and taking down goals most days of the week. For nearly two decades, Rob has always been on hand to give advice to managers and coaches and to make arrangements with league secretaries, referees and other teams and always carries out his duties with a smile on his face. Rob is well respected and known by the local FA and other clubs in the area and he has enabled thousands of young players to play the game they love in a safe and well cared for environment in their local community.
Mic and Shirley Sharrod – Staffordshire
Mic and Shirley started Lichfield Diamonds Ladies FC nearly 20 years ago, initially setting up the team for their daughters as there was nowhere for them to play and enjoy football in the local area at the time. Mic and Shirley have gone on to establish a club with a wide range of age groups – from U8s to adults, with the oldest team competing in the Midland Combination Premier League. The couple are both heavily involved in every age group and have recently encouraged four individual players to join as coaches for the team. Their passion and love for the game has inspired hundreds of young players and coaches for nearly two decades and their enthusiasm shows no signs of stopping. They are active members of the League Committee, regularly attending meetings, training sessions and club games every week. Mic has even chosen a career of a driving instructor after leaving his previous position to ensure he has the flexibility to keep the club going, while Shirley is the club secretary, cook and self-confessed biggest fan. They travel everywhere with the football team, and every season welcome dozens of girls and ladies into the club who want to come and enjoy football in a safe, friendly and passionate environment.