The Indian Army Memorial Room at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst was the magnificent venue for the 2023 Army FA Awards Evening.
The guest of the evening was Nigel Adkins who provided an enlightening and fascinating speech on a unique footballing career which, so far, has covered over 1500 matches as a player and Physiotherapist before managing Scunthorpe United (taking the Lincolnshire club to the Championship twice), Southampton whom he led from 23rd place in League One to the Premier League in successive seasons. Nigel has also managed Reading, Sheffield United, Hull City, Charlton Athletic and Bangor City and is currently Technical Director at his hometown club Tranmere Rovers, where he also started his career as a 17-year-old goalkeeper.
Nigel made the opening Player of the Season presentations as follows:
Men Senior Representative – Sgt Craig Stevenson
Men’s U23 – LCpl Alfie Moulding
Crusaders Firsts – Capt Oli McAfee
Crusaders Masters – Lt Col Ali Beard
The following were recognised on the evening but unable to attend and will receive their awards in due course:
Women's Senior Representative - Cpl Imogen Fisher
Women’s Development – Rfn Sinead Bushell
Army Reserve Women – LCpl Chantelle Dumbell
Men’s Masters – Sgt Michael Morris
Army FA Vice President Major General Aidan Smyth QVRM TD made presentations to two recipients of the Long Service Awards presented to individuals having identified a minimum of 10 years’ service to Army Representative Football. Recipients received a framed engraved pennant:
Major Mark Evans
WO1 Gary Lewis
Nigel Wiscombe has been involved with Army Football since 1987. He made over 120 appearances for the Army and 50 for the Combined Services before spending over 20 years coaching representative team goalkeepers. He was unable to attend and will receive his presentation at a later date.
Former Referee Chair from 1997 to 2009, Lt Col (Retd) Tony Rock, made two presentations as follows:
Dobson’s Trophy (Most Significant Refereeing Contribution) – Sgt Dickie Doorbar
Le Breton Trophy (Most Inspiring Newcomer) – Cpl David Johnston
Army FA Chair, Brigadier Andy Cox MBE, opened the evening with an address covering all aspects of Army Football from Unit and Representative Football through to Community and Defence Engagement activity over a busy season. He also made the following presentations:
An award recognising a minimum of Nine Years’ service on the Board of Trustees:
Colonel Dave Jones
Mr John Taylor
A presentation to Mary Jane Little who had recently retired after 22 years working for the Army Sport Lottery and who had been the main contact to thousands of soldiers during that period supporting overseas sports visits.
Brigadier (Retd) Niall Stokoe OBE who stepped down as Chair in December 2022 upon leaving the Army. Niall who had been on the Board since 2015 was presented with a framed memento in recognition of his outstanding service. Niall responded with a passionate speech noting that it was fitting that such an enjoyable time involved within Army Football started and ended at RMA Sandhurst.
The Army Football Association are thankful to all our sponsors who were in attendance for the evening - Fujitsu, Supacat, F5, Holt’s Military Banking, Towergate Insurance, Royal British Legion, Leonardo, Babcock and VIMA Group.
We are also grateful to the British Army Band, Sandhurst String Trio who performed on the evening and to Debi Backhurst and her staff for the smooth operation of the evening.
Nigel Adkins requested that the fee offered to him for the evening is donated to a Military Charity. The donation will be made to the Aldershot Branch of the Royal British Legion. We are appreciative to Nigel for his generosity in this matter.
Photos from the Army Football Awards Meeting can be viewed here