Thursday night saw the Football and Education programme host it’s first ever Zoom Presentation Evening, to celebrate the success of the boys and girls on the programme this year. Due to Covid-19 ending the playing season early and with the education element of the programme moving online, this gave staff and players the chance to come together, virtually, and reflect on what has been an incredibly challenging year but has seen players grow, develop and adapt to all the challenges that they have faced.
It was also a chance for the programme to award the prestigious FEP Student of the Year award, sponsored by The University of Northampton. This goes to the student(s) that it is felt have contributed to all aspects of the programme through their hard work, personality and determination to show excellence on and off the pitch. The award would normally be handed out at the Northampton Town FC End of Season Presentation night alongside the 1st team awards, but unfortunately due to the ongoing situation, that has not been possible this year. The award this year was shared between George Edwards and Dylan Martin, both fully deserving of the recognition.
Other awards were handed out on the night, including Players’ Player of the Season for both the male and female programme. These were all supported by a variety or club and FEP partners and we are very grateful of their continued support to Northampton Town FC. There were some tough decisions in all of the categories but all those that were chosen were fully deserving.
The evening included a chance for a social element as well, with some games of ‘Guess Who’ and a football quiz, going down well, as well as a chance for players to interact and have a chance to socialise, something that has been difficult over the last few months in lockdown. It was also a chance for FEP Lead, Fran Constancio, and Academy Education Lead and Assistant Education Centre Manager, Pete Stephenson, to share some praise amongst all the players on both the male and female programme, who we are extremely proud of for how they have conducted themselves and represented Northampton Town Football Club this season. Whether people won awards or not, we consider everyone to have been a winner this year with the amount of development that we have seen take place.
We hope to announce soon when we may be able to return to some form of training with our players moving into the 2nd year and for our talented new intake of both boys and girls, who will look to build on the foundations already laid and drive the programme forward into next season!
A full list of the winners of the awards and some information about the winners is below.
FEP Student of the Year – sponsored by The University of Northampton
George has been Mr Consistent across the 2 years of the Programme. A centre midfielder with great energy and desire, he has grown in confidence in all aspects of the Programme. His work has been He has been popular amongst both other players and staff and has represented everything we would expect of a Northampton Town player. He hopes to now continue his journey on a scholarship in the USA!
Dylan is someone that has really grown in stature over the 2 years. His confidence has come on so much and he has become a hugely popular member of the group. In the classroom, his work has got better and better and he has taken this confidence on to the pitch, where he started to really contribute in the South Championship team. Dylan is now going on to Cardiff University to continue his education as he pursues a career in football.
Male Players’ Player in association with Trapp’d
Lewis is the kind of player that can often go under the radar. Technically sound but with an incredible work rate and desire, he anchors the midfield very well, can break up play but also get on the ball and try and get the team playing. He also has the versatility to play in the defence as well and always does the very best he can with any challenge that is thrown at him. It is fantastic recognition from his peers that they value his contributions on the pitch, and no doubt also his personality around the Programme has also come in to this. It is great to see a 1st year get this award and hopefully Lewis will continue to be as influential next season!
Female Players’ Player in association with Boost Trampoline Centre
Halle has really grown in stature as the year has gone on and has become a big personality, not only amongst the girls programme but in all areas of the FEP. Her performances at Futsal fixtures have really driven the team forward and she has become an influential figure. She has shown that she has a lot of talent, both technically physically but also psychologically and it is something that her peers have no doubt recognised. With Halle being a 1st year, we hope that she can be a really positive influence to drive the girls programme forward as it moves to an 11-a-side programme next season!
Outstanding Achievement Award in association with Inter County Truck and Van Hire
There have been a number of FEP Scholars who have gone above and beyond during their time on the Programme. Both boys were chosen due to their volunteering at the club for not just the 2 years they have been FEP Scholars but before then as well. They may be familiar faces to anyone who has been at 1st team games, as both boys are part of the fabulous teams of match day volunteers you may see walking around the ground that help with putting out flags for children to flag-wave, helping with mascots, supporting in the Family Zone and managing the half time penalty shootouts. They have enhanced the experience of hundreds of youngsters that have been to first team games and they fully deserve the recognition of this award!
Coaches Male Player in association with PTS Training and Apprenticeships
Tom Simmons – Tom has been a standout performer this season for a team that was predominantly 1st year players. It was a challenge up against, at times, boys that were 2 years older, but he has still stood out with his determination but also his quality in driving the team forward. As a first year, we hope he will continue to develop and be part of what could be a very exciting squad next season!
Tom Walton – The term ‘consistent’ was made for Tom. After missing the first game of the season through injury, he was an ever present. The strong centre back led by example, showing incredible desire and but also real quality. He was one of 3 players that attended the NFYL All Star trials and was incredibly unfortunate not to be selected. He was also one of the 1st year players to take part in Youth Team training and played in a Youth Team friendly against an Indonesian team coached by former Chelsea player Dennis Wise!
Coaches Female Player in association with Nuffield Health
Holly has been a driving force in many of the Futsal games played this season and has not only shown fantastic desire and determination but also very good technical quality. She added goals to her game but her defending ability is fantastic and she has a lot of potential to play at a good level of Female football. Her attitude for playing is second to none as well and at times, we had to hold her back to protect herself after suffering a concussion! This encapsulates her desire to play and contribute to the team and she has been a very important player within the girls programme over the last 2 years.
1st Year Best Learner of the Year in association with Sheinman Opticians
Both Lewis and Emma have shown an incredible hunger to learn and develop their knowledge and understanding over the course of this year. Although the award predominantly relates to the learning in the classroom, both players have taken this desire to learn and improve themselves into their football and it has resulted in lots of positive development both on and off the pitch. They are both fantastic examples to others to show how a positive mindset to learning can really develop yourself as a footballer. We hope both continue to lead by example into next year and will continue to grow and develop further!
2nd Year Learner of the Year in association with Grange Mortgages
Josh has really worked hard and shown a fantastic desire to learn and develop himself. Again, he is one that has really improved on the pitch as well as in the classroom from his ability to listen, take on board information and do the best he possibly can to put it into action. He is one of many 2nd year who we have seen a real positive development in over the course of the Programme. A lot of Josh’s improvement comes from his desire to learn and he has displayed the exact attitude that we want from all those that join the Programme. He is now moving on to The University of Northampton where he will hopefully continue his journey towards a career in the football industry!
Most Improved Male Player of the in association with Mick George
Alex came to the Programme after spending 2 years as part of the Northampton Town FC Academy, predominantly as a left back. However, during this season, he has developed into a very effective left side centre back and his improvement was rewarded by signing non-contract terms with the U18’s in February. He has really worked hard and taken on guidance from coaching staff then gone out and shown it on the pitch. Before the lockdown, he was training regularly with the U18’s and had featured in several games. We are hoping that he will continue with this opportunity when the U18’s are allowed to return to training. We are sure that whatever happens, he has a big future and will play at a very good level of football!
Most Improved Female Player of the Season in association with Imperial Cars
Emma started the season lacking in confidence but as the year has gone on, she has improved week on week to the point where she has become an important member of the team. She has been versatile when required and has played in goal on several occasions, excelling at times and making some unbelievable saves. One of the most impressive areas of her development has been her tactical and game understanding, which she has really developed as the year progressed. She is not only showing all the hallmarks of being a good footballer but also potentially going down a coaching line in the future. As a first year, we hope she will be an important part of what is looking like a very talented Female squad for the 20/21 season!
Best Male Performance of the Season in association with T3 Signs
Eric’s performance against Crystal Palace was nothing short of sensational. After the team started well, a controversial red card during the first half left the team down to 10 men with over 45 minutes to play. During the 2nd half, a yellow card for dissent put the team down to 9 men for a 10 minute period. Up stepped ‘Big Eric’! The centre back not only dominated defensively but showed his immense quality on the ball and it was hard to tell who the team were with 9 men. When they returned to 10, the team went on to grab a 1-0 win, which flattered the visitors, as it could and possibly should have been more. However, Eric’s performance showed the quality that he has and we are sure that he will now go on and work his way up the football pyramid. Remember the name!!
Best Female Performance of the Season in association with Holiday Inn
After just missing out on the 1st place playoff, the girls faced Derby County with a chance of finishing third on the day. Derby were a strong outfit with some of the best individuals of any team, and were disappointed, as were our team, to not be in the 1st place playoff. Mollie started in goal and the team made a disastrous start, falling 1-0 down in the first minute after a defensive mistake, and for the first few minutes, spent a lot of time on the back foot with Mollie making several saves. A well-timed time out half way through the half saw Mollie swap with Kelisha McAllister and take up her normal role on pitch. Within a minute, she had equalised with a fantastic finish and then she went on to score the winner and secure the win for the girls with another very good goal. In a season where there have been several good performances from the girls, this one stood out! Mollie is now going on to do a Foundation Degree next year whilst hopefully remaining an important player in the Northampton Town Ladies 1st team!
Male Goal of the Season in association with DBFB
Charlie’s debut for the FEP was marked with what ended up being the Male Goal of the Season against Leeds United. Known for his excellent technique, he received the ball well and then struck the ball fantastically from 25 yards into the top corner. It was a glimpse of the talent that Charlie has and he was another of our players who attended the NFYL All Star trials and was very unfortunate not to make the final squad. Subsequently, he suffered a nasty leg break but we hope that now he is well on the road to recovery and we will see him back out on the grass doing what he does best in a claret shirt!
Female Goal of the Season in association with Sixfields Travel Club
There were several great goals scored by the girls this season. A team effort where every player, including the keeper, touched the ball before Jess Callow swept it in and a long distance strike by Holly Knight ran it very close but in the end, Halle’s unstoppable volley into the top corner against Lincoln City edged it. The ball came in and Halle moved on to the ball to strike a first time volley that the keeper didn’t even see before it smashed into the top corner of the net. A worthy winner!
NCS Person of the Year in association with Sport Against Suicide
This year was the first time we have been able to offer the National Citizenship Service to our players and it was a massive success, both the residential in Shropshire and the community action work done after. Everyone that participated had positive outcomes and contributed to what was a fantastic thing to do. However, the programme seemed to really bring the best out of Ayo. He had had experience of some of the community aspects of the programme from his time as part of the first ever Traineeship Programme run by the club. However, he really stepped up and came out of his shell during the residential and he was one of the prominent people throughout the whole of our NCS experience so this is a very much deserved award for Ayo!
Funniest Person of the Year in association with Buddies Diner
To be fair to the group we have, there were a few contenders for this but I think that most were in agreement that whenever Will is about, laughter isn’t far away. Whether it has been the exuberant speeches or the attempts at being Lewis Capaldi, there have been many lighter moments throughout this year that have left people laughing. The great thing with Will is that when it matters, especially on the pitch, that humour can be left to one side and he shows the determination and desire to do the best he possibly can and help the team to perform. It is an underrated trait in people and will be something that will stand him in good stead going forward!
Highlight of the Year in association with VLUK
There were several contenders for this, most involving Aaron! He has become a very popular member of the group, indeed he was not far from being voted as Players’ Player. Whilst he always brings a fantastic effort and attitude to doing the best he can, he is undoubtedly someone who seems to end up involved in memorable moments. Whether it was his performance on the water during the NCS residential, or the ‘accident’ on the way to QPR, there is plenty to remember from the year from Aaron. In the end, the winning moment was in the game away at Mansfield. Initially, Aaron had done well to read the ball in the air and went to head it away. However, the ball went up rather than out so he had another crack. Again, it went up rather than out so in his bid to clear the ball, he went for it again, ending up doing a valiant impression of a seal! Those there that day on both sides appreciated the humour of the moment despite the intensity of the game. I think everyone agreed that it was a fitting winner!
Once Covid-19 restrictions are lifted sufficiently, we hope to do a formal presentation with all the award winners, including the formal presentation of the FEP Student of the Year shield to George and Dylan by The University of Northampton. We are also hoping to have a face-to-face send off with the 2nd year group if regulations will allow it. However, we would like to place on record our huge admiration and gratitude to all the players and staff that have worked so hard this year. 1st years, enjoy your little break as best you can and we will see you for training soon. 2nd years, we wish you all the very best on the next step of your journey and we hope we will stay in touch and see you plenty more times in the future!!!