NWCFL AGM and Awards Evening 2024 Round-up

Wed 10th July 2024 | A Look Back
By Jay Cooper

On June 15th, 2024, the North West Counties Football League season 2024/25 officially began!

 

This year's Annual General Meeting from the Imperial Hotel in Blackpool was a rousing success. The day began at approximately 11am, with the commencement of the AGM itself. Highlights included saying a sad farewell to the teams leaving the NWCFL after the conclusion of the 2023/24 season. These include Wythenshawe and Wythenshawe Town (both promoted from the Premier Division); Kendal Town (laterally moved to the Northern League); Brocton (who were also moved laterally following their promotion from the First Division South); and Shelley (a third team moved laterally to the NCEL).

However, there were teams ready to be introduced to fill the vacancies left by the teams listed above. One of these were Foley Meir, who make a return to the NWCFL after a one-year absence. Joining them in next season's First Division South will be Allscott Heath, near Telford; Shawbury United, who's new home is just north of Shrewsbury; and Wolverhampton Sporting Community, who join the league despite an appeal.

The other new teams introduced to the league at this years' AGM were Merseyside outfit Maghull, who join the First Division North alongside Thornton Cleveleys, who were easily the new team with the least miles to travel to this meeting, being from near Fleetwood.

 

In addition to the welcoming of the new teams to their tables, the AGM also saw some overdue awards being presented to the relevant clubs. During the meeting itself, all of Bury FC, Ilkley Town and Stockport Town were presented with their respective divisional plaques for winning the League Respect Award for the months of February, March and April. On top of that, FC Isle of man were also given this same award for the months of November, December and January. 

 

There was also more important news to be shared after all new teams were introduced, however. As previously noted on social media by the NWCFL, as of the 2025/26 campaign, there will be two high-ranking seats at the table with new faces sitting in them. This is because John Deal, our longtime League Secretary and Treasurer will be stepping down from his post after this coming season, having been continually involved with the league since near its creation in 1986.

Also making the tough decision to step down from his existing role was League Chairman Paul Lawler, who's filled this role for a decade as of now. He decided that the time was right to leave his position, although he did say he has no plans to fully leave the NWCFL, to ensure a true "changing of the guards" within the league.

 

With the admin of the day done and dusted by the time the clock struck 1pm, and with a few hours in Blackpool passed until the evening, the celebrations could begin with the commencement of the 2023/24 NWCFL Awards Evening, including a special guest host making an appearance - regular talkSport presenter and journalist Ged Mills!

 

Up first was the award for Matchday Programme of the Year, expertly and handsomely presented by myself to our winners from each division; Bury FC from the Prem, South Liverpool from the First Division North, and Brocton from the First Division South.

Secondly, our Respect Awards for the season were presented to their winners by League Management Committee Member Mick Ainsworth. FC Isle of Man, Ilkley Town and Cheadle Heath Nomads won the awards for the Premier Division, First Division North and First Division South respectively.

Following that, League ambassador Andy Nelson was called to the stage to present the Fair Play awards for the 2023/24 campaign, The winners from the respective divisions were Charnock Richard, Ashton Athletic, and Stockport Town.

It was at this time that the individual awards began, and League Management Committee member Martin Fallon got the ball rolling by awarding the Top Scorer awards to Colne's Lucas Weaver for the Prem; Zak Khan of Route One Rovers for the First Division North; and Stockport Town's Dan McLaughlin for the South.

Craig Buxton, also of the League Management Committee, was the next presenter summoned to the hotseat by Ged Mills, to give out the Player of the Year awards to the players with the most Man of the Match awards throughout the campaign. In the Premier Division, Kendal Town's Steven Yawson was by far and away the winner, with 16 Man of the Match awards; but there were joint winners in the First Divisions North and South. Formerly, it was FC St Helens' Joe Baker and Atherton LR's Lewis Rawsthorn; and latterly, it was Abbey Hulton Utd's Matthew Ward and Nicky Parker, formerly of Market Drayton Town.

Then came the awards for each divisions Goalkeeper of the Year, awarded to the GKs with the most clean sheets from the league campaign, and sponsored by Reusch. There was another tie in the First Division North for this one, but Jeff Voller, of the League Management Committee, was first tasked with awarding the Premier Division award to Wythenshawe Town's Greg Hall, for a whopping 21 clean sheets. Atherton LR's Joe Bickerstaffe and FC St Helens' Joe Mason were joint winners in the North with 12 each; and Brocton's Tony Allsopp took the prize for the South with 15 clean sheets.

The last award given out before a short break in the festivities was the Manager of the Year award, and perhaps these were academic. From the Committee, Debbie Jessop presented the Premier Division's award to Wythenshawe FC's Shane Goldrick; the First Division North's award to FC St Helens' Mike Smith; and the First Division South's award to Brocton's Alex Curtis. All the league title winners were given their dues.

 

Up after a break of food and photography were two awards that are not presented every year, but we're always very pleased when they are - the Outside County Cup Trophies. Both Colne and Cammell Laird 1907 were given their honours by Jeff Voller for respective victories in the Lancashire FA Trophy and Wirral & District Senior Cup.

Next were the play-off award presentations, and another Jeff/Geoff, this time Wilkinson, the League Vice Chairman, was on hand to hand out the plaudits. Runners-up awards were given to all of Ashton Town, Stockport Town and Bury FC, with the winners, of course, being South Liverpool, Abbey Hey, and Wythenshawe Town,

After this, from the League Management Committee, Rob Goodwin was summoned to present the trophy to those teams who had seasons to remember in the Edward Case Cup. Semi-finalists Droylsden and South Liverpool were both recognised, as were runners-up Euxton Villa, with the eventual trophy being handed to Bacup Borough for the second year running.

There was one more cup competition to see the victors be presented with their trophy. Gary Langley, the last presenter of the night to be labelled as "from the League Management Committee" awarded the Macron Cup trophy to deserving winners Barnoldswick Town, with runners-up Chadderton and semi-finalists Alsager Town and Droylsden also receiving well-earned mentions.

Our last host of the evening was soon-to-be departing Chairman Paul Lawler, and, naturally, the most important task fell on his shoulders - handing out the trophies to our respective league champions, as well as the silverware to the winners of the First Division Champions Cup. Again, runners-up were recognised, with both Atherton LR and Stockport Town being given their share of the applause, but it was, of course, FC St Helens who took home the trophy for the North, and Brocton who did the same for the South.

Before the Premier Division Champions were called on for their award, FC St Helens made a brief return to the stage to receive the First Division Champions Cup, which they had defeated Brocton for at the end of the season.

And, finally, after a nod to Wythenshawe Town for pushing them all the way, Premier Division Champions Wythenshawe FC were presented with their richly deserved prize, just one year on from collecting the First Division South trophy at the 2023 Awards Evening.

 

A HUGE congratulations to all our winners!

Please feel free to check out more photos from the event here!

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