KATH IN THE RUNNING
FOR SUPPORTER OF THE YEAR AWARD
Famous five named as fan finalists for Evo-Stik NPL Supporter of the Year award.
The five finalists nominated by their clubs and fellow fans to become the inaugural Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Supporter of the Year were named on Sunday.
Amongst those five nominated is Mossley fan Kath Field (81) who has been supporting the Lilywhites for more than 70 years. She first went to a game with her grandmother when she was seven.
Kath’s late husband Brian was a long-term volunteer at Seel Park and club committee member, and Kath herself has spent many hours painting around the ground and doing other vital jobs, from washing kit to working in the pie hut.
She still helps out at the club when she can, but in recent times Kath has suffered ill health. This hasn’t stopped her going to matches, home and away.
After suffering a second stroke earlier this season, her number one aim was to get back to watching her Mossley heroes — which she managed in five weeks.
The five nominations, three men and two women, were chosen from more than 50 supporters put forward by their clubs for the new accolade and will now be among the guests of honour at the 2014 Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Players of the Year Awards in April when the winner will be unveiled.
Brazil-bound referee Howard Webb handed out the honours at the inaugural awards in Barnsley in 2012 and either England’s top official again if he can spare the time before heading to the World Cup, or another top footballing name like last year’s guest of honour, Doncaster Rovers’ Director of Football Brian Flynn, will have the honour of crowning the Evo-Stik NPL’s number one fan.
Back in October all 68 clubs were asked to nominate a worthy supporter and the five were chosen by judges from a shortlist of eleven who’d made it through to the second round of the competition last month. The finalists are Ashton United’s Jez Sayle, Darlington’s Martin Deans, Ilkeston FC’s Lynda Bacon, Mossley AFC’s Kath Field and Scarborough Athletic’s Are Guttlevik.
Title sponsors Evo-Stik are sponsoring the new fan’s accolade to celebrate the recent extension to their current sponsorship deal to at least the end of the 2015-16 campaign and all five will be overnight guests of the league at the awards, held for the third year running at the four star Brooklands Holiday Inn on the outskirts of Barnsley.
Now in their third year and the brainchild of former Manchester City keeper and NPL man Alan Ogley, the player awards are a unique celebration at the top levels of Non-League football with the focus on recognising the league’s stars after a secret ballot by their managers and coaches. Voting slips went out in January and supporters are currently nominating their favourite players to make the short-list for the NPL Facebook Group’s prestigious Fans’ Player of the Year Award.
The title was won last season by Ryan Kendall a few weeks before North Ferriby United were crowned as top flight champions and is the only footballing honour in the UK run by fans.
As well as the NPL Facebook Group's accolade and the new honour for the league’s top supporter, April’s awards will see two players named as Player of the Year and Young Player of Year in each division along with 11 more in three Teams of the Year.
An individual’s outstanding contribution to league off the field of play will also be recognised with the Evo-Stik NPL Merit Award, won last year by Matlock Town’s Keith Brown and for the first time in 2012 by Marine’s legendary former manager, Roly Howard.
Elliott Durell, pictured collecting last season’s Evo-Stik NPL Premier Division Player of the Year trophy from former Wales manager Flynn, was in the news this weekend following his switch from last season’s play-off champions Hednesford to Wrexham. Sponsors Evo-Stik are delighted that their bid to honour the league’s most worthy supporters for the first time is proving to be a popuar addition to the awards.
Dale Poulton, commercial director at Evo-Stik’s parent company Bostik, said: “We are delighted with the extension of the deal and now we’re looking forward to getting even more involved with the league, its fans, players and officials.
"Being involved in sponsoring and judging the new Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Supporter of the Year Award can only strengthen our partnership and help generate even more awareness for Evo-Stik as the premium brand of adhesives and sealants."
* Time is running out for fans to nominate their favourite players for the NPL Facebook group’s Fans Player of the Year.
The Tuesday February 11 deadline is looming to register nominations online and spokesman James Heyes said: "This award is a great honour to win for the players as it’s truly voted for by the fans of the league. It adds that extra sparkle to the title and we hope to be swamped with nominations for the third year running.
"Last season there were over 120 players nominated, more than 2000 votes were registered and no club was forgotten about. I expect the same again. The playing standards on the pitch this season have excited fans so I’m sure it will be a close fought contest again."