The time has come again to recognise and honour the unsung heroes of football groundsmanship in grassroots football across Derbyshire.
For nominations are open for the FA’s annual groundsman of the year awards, which are now fully established as the best way of rewarding volunteers who put in countless hours of work during their spare time.
The awards are open to clubs who play at step seven or below on the non-league pyramid, as well as youth football organisations. And Derbyshire will be hoping to maintain its proud record in the awards because, over the last four seasons, the county has had four groundsmen progress to the national stages of the competition. Famously, the main national prize in 2015 was won by Lee Watson, groundsman at Clay Cross Town, who play in the Central Midlands League.
Clay Cross again boasted one of the top three groundsmen in Derbyshire last season, along with Mickleover Royal British Legion and Tideswell United. This time round, the top three nominations will be decided by the county FA and will all receive awards before the winner progresses to the independent regional judging stage.
Nomination forms can be found on the website of Derbyshire FA, whose head of strategy and facilities, Keely Brown, said: “These awards are a fantastic way to recognise the unsung heroes of the game. I would encourage clubs to nominate.”