08/07/2013 03:09 BST | Updated 06/09/2013 06:12 BST

Grassroots Heroes Need Your Support


The anticipation around the start of the 2013/2014 football season is already building with transfer rumours, managers coming and going and fans planning their away trips. But it's worth remembering that all of the football superstars, their fans and the hundreds of column inches dominated by the beautiful game owe thanks to the people at junior and youth football clubs who work hard to ensure that communities and young players have access to football. Without this army of volunteers, the game as we know it simply couldn't continue.

Thanks to my role as McDonald's Director of Football, a role I've enjoyed for a decade, I have had the pleasure of visiting dozens of grassroots football clubs across the country and have met hundreds of volunteers who keep football alive at that level.

Whether it's the coach who gives up all his free time to train teams, the handyman who helps maintain the pitch or the tea lady who has been at a club for 50 years, they all have their part to play and all deserve our thanks and recognition.

That's why The FA Community Awards presented by McDonald's are so important. Now in their fourth year, the awards are a way of celebrating and thanking the thousands of volunteers who work tirelessly to ensure our young players have the chance to enjoy playing the game.

As with previous years, I am sitting on The FA Community Awards judging panel which includes the very difficult task of picking the 2013 winners. The general public also have the chance to have their say on who they would like to win one specific award - The People's Award 2013.

Eight nominees, each representing their region, have the opportunity to win the Outstanding Contribution Award 2013, but it is solely down to you, the public, to vote for who you feel is most deserving to win this national award.

I've read about each of the nominees, and they all have extraordinary stories and a wealth of experience from coaching and fundraising to organising tournaments and even setting up teams which in some cases are still going strong some half a century later.

I would urge everyone to take the time to find out about our nominees on the website below and vote please get behind the nominees from your local area and show your appreciation for their hard work by voting in the People's Award 2013.

The People's Award 2013 nominees:

• Jed Hewitt - South West

• Trevor Jones - West Midlands

• Clive Draper - East

• Roy Smith - London

• Brian Elsey - North West

• Mike Breeze - North East & Yorkshire

• Phil Moss - East Midlands

• Pam and Roy Lomax - South East

To read about each of the People's Award nominees and cast your all important vote, please visit: