A local junior football coach has won a nationwide competition searching for the country’s favourite grassroots volunteer.
Josh Rutherford, coach of Amble East End Juniors, received the most nominations of all of the competition entries to win his team a training pack bundle consisting of more than £200 worth of football equipment.
The competition, sponsored by football equipment supplier Stadia Sports, aimed to celebrate the great work carried out by managers, coaches and volunteers at amateur clubs around the country.
To be in with a chance of winning, entrants simply needed to nominate their favourite local coach, team manager or a club volunteer and explain how they’ve gone above and beyond to make a difference to their local club or community in the last year.
Louise Emms, from Stadia Sports, said: ”The whole team at Stadia Sports would like to congratulate Josh and Amble East End Juniors for winning the bundle.
“We’d also like to thank everyone who submitted a nomination for their coach or local team; it was a pleasure to read so many wonderful entries celebrating grassroots football.”
Upon receiving news of his competition win, Josh said: “Thanks to the Amble East End Juniors parents and the community for their lovely comments, which meant I won the Stadia Sports Grassroots Competition. Training equipment has been won for the club.
“From when I was a young boy, I watched football and played grassroots football, so when I was old enough to do my coaching badges, I went on the courses and it’s taken off from there.
“It’s more for the love for the game I have really.
“My sporting hero is Kevin Phillips because he was a childhood hero of mine, growing up being a Sunderland AFC fan in the Peter Reid era, it made me love football!
“My role model as a coach is the obvious one, Pep Guardiola. I like to read books and documentaries about him, they are always fascinating.”
With regards to the future of Amble East End Juniors, Josh added: “We just want to keep progressing as a club really, it’s nearly a year since the club formed and what’s been achieved already is special.
“Next season we will have four teams in the Youth Football Development League in association with Newcastle Elite Academy, two at Under 7 level, an Under 8s and an Under 9s team, as well as our Mini Mariners scheme and Development Squad so an exciting time awaits for those connected to the club.
“Results do not matter at the end of the day, it’s a learning curve. Development for me is key, I love getting out there on a Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday with the children to try and enhance their game.
“As long as the children have a smile on their face and enjoy the football, if we lose its a case of ‘we go again next week’.
“The equipment we have received is ideal for the children at the club because some of the equipment we can use will help enhance the fundamental development such as using ladders, hurdles and speed rings so that will be beneficial.”