In September 2015, the Nottingham Building Society launched an exciting football campaign to find ten unsung football heroes at grassroots level.
The ten winners below were nominated in recognition of their tremendous commitment and dedication to their respective local football clubs.
Winthorpe & Coddington Tigers F.C.
Steve Tur was nominated by committee member Steve Hanstock. He has been a coach for 13 years as well as helping with refereeing, cleaning the club house, writing lengthy match reports and taking the team out for activities such as dirt buggying and bowling. His dedication is outstanding and is demonstrated through his team’s performance including one league win and three cup wins. He’s even taken his team out to a Forest game to use it as a coaching session!
Shipley Park Rangers F.C. under 11s & 15s
Ben Saxton was nominated by his mum, Sherrie. Ben played football between the ages of seven and 15 before deciding he would like to use his skills to coach youngsters at his local club, Shipley Park Rangers FC. It is Ben’s dedication and commitment to the youngsters that is so inspirational. Despite the fact he works full time as an IT apprentice, he gives up around five hours each week to the clubs in addition to spending time planning the training sessions to be delivered.
Steve ‘Coco’ Chaplin
Pelican Colts FC
Over 20 years of dedication to grassroots football has led to Steve ‘Coco’ Chaplin becoming the third Unsung Football Hero. For years Coco, who lives in Bramcote, has dedicated his own time and money to Nottingham’s Pelican Colts FC. On a daily basis he maintains the ground, washes kits, organises matches and inspires the young players at the club.
Nottingham Knights Youth Football Club
After turning around a struggling children’s football team Jason Giblett has become our fourth Unsung Football Hero. Jason, of Nuthall in Nottingham, is a Manager and Coach of Nottingham Knights Youth Football Club under 7s and under 8s. Today it is a successful club with 200% growth in players with a waiting list of young players – but 18 months ago it was a different story when the previous coaches left for personal reasons. It was at this point that Jason moved from being a dad on the sidelines to become the Manager and Coach along with two other parents. Jason officially qualified as a coach with the Football Association and the team was re-branded as Nottingham Knights Youth Football Team.
Eastwood Athletic FC
Our fifth unsung football hero is 43 year old Gianfranco Formosa. Italian born Gianfranco has lived in the East Midlands since he was 15 and has been an avid Forest Fan for 25 years. In 2013 he and his partner Domenica set up Eastwood Athletic FC to meet the high demand for local football teams in Eastwood, and the club has grown ever since. They now have four teams including U18s managed by our second unsung hero, Ben Saxton. At Eastwood Athletic the focus is on having fun as well as scoring goals, and Gianfranco certainly puts in the hours, working for the club five days a week.
Newark Town FC youth team
Meet Craig Mountney, the sixth of our unsung football heroes. Craig has been coaching since 1999 and has managed the same Newark Town FC youth team since 2010 and has led them to two cup wins, runners up in two consecutive years as well as three local tournament wins. Parents of players told us how much extra he puts into his team, such as taking them out paintballing and buying them Christmas presents with his own money. He’s definitely an unsung hero in our eyes- well done Craig!
Domenica Lo Pinto
Eastwood Athletic FC
Our seventh unsung football hero is Domenica Lo Pinto. Domenica, known as “footy mum” by her team, set up Eastwood Athletic in 2013 with the help of fellow unsung hero and partner Gianfranco Formosa. Domenica creates an atmosphere where her players enjoy themselves and value teamwork, regardless of the results. Her next project is to start the Pink Panthers- Eastwood Athletics’ first girls only team. Domenica juggles family life, studying for her social work degree, coaching and managing Eastwood Athletic, whilst managing her disability. Her determination and work ethic are inspirational. Well done Domenica!
Meet Scott Mitchell, our eighth unsung football hero. Scott was nominated by Gemma Gosling and her son Aaron, who plays in goal in Scott’s U12s team at RHP Lions. Aaron told us that Scott is “a fun coach and a good friend. He always fills us with confidence, which I lack as I have disabilities”. Scott took on eight children who otherwise may not have been interested in football and helped them develop their love for the game. He always treats his team with respect and fairness, and tries to give each of the team members an equal chance on a match day. Well done Scott - your award is truly deserved.
Cotgrave Colts u8s
Lee has been playing for Cotgrave Colts since he was ten years old when the club first formed in 1991. As well as playing for the club for 25 years, Lee has been coaching an under 8s team for the last two seasons after helping out with the soccer schools for under 6s. Although the results aren’t always on their side, Lee encourages his two teams to have fun whenever they play. No task is too big or small for Lee, as he helps set up and maintain the pitches, raises money for the club and referees for other teams when he can. Well done Lee!
Our last, but certainly not least unsung hero is Kevin Newton. Kevin has been heavily involved with Teversal FC for 30 years and has gone from being a player to becoming involved behind the scenes. He is currently the Football Secretary for the whole club, Chartered Standard Co-ordinator and Coach for the U11s Sunday team, as well as the Tevie Tots training sessions. He puts between four and six hours a day of his time towards Teversal FC to make sure it runs smoothly.