The East Riding FA Unsung Hero of the Month award recognizes those individuals in our county who are going above and beyond to create a fun, safe, and inclusive environment for people to play and enjoy football.
We know that grassroots football in our county is supported by an amazing group of people who put their heart and soul into supporting the game for the benefit of others. This award is our way of recognizing and celebrating their efforts.
The winner of this month’s award is Andy Graham.
Andy is a true grassroots great with him dedicating over 27 years of loyal service to Holderness based side Easington United. Serving the club as both player and manager Andy has recently followed in the footsteps of club legends Iain McNaught, Craig Foster and Andrew McNaught by amassing over 700 appearances for the EastEnders.
Renowned for his tough tackling and fair play Andy made his debut for Easington back in 1996 when as a fresh faced 16-year-old he took to the field in the East Riding County League Division 3 for the very first time.
It was at the end of his debut season which saw Andy receive his first major accolade with the centre back going on to being presented with the Young Player of the Year Award after missing just one game all season.
Andy quickly became an integral member of the club’s senior team with him captaining the side for nearly four years whilst competing in the Central Midlands League.
It was during this campaign that Andy’s tremendous experience was put to the test as he stepped up to become the team’s assistant manager before taking on the role of first team manager.
Despite entering the twilight of his grassroots football career Andy has showed no signs of letting up with him being the recipient of the clubs first ever Mike Wilson Memorial Trophy which is a meritorious award given to player’s who consistently perform to a high level.
Its not just on the pitch where Andy excels though with him also providing help and support to many of the club’s younger players. Andy is a true team player in an era where commitment and dedication in adult football is often questioned.
When asked about his time at Easington United Andy said, “Easington United have given me some great experiences, in which I’ve met some brilliant players and managers. I’ve played and managed at some superb grounds all over the East Riding and beyond. The time spent with my teammates experiencing results that couldn’t have been expected, as well as forging bonds with hundreds of individuals due to games that can often prove both physically and mentally draining is something I wouldn’t change for the world.”
Andy’s dedication to grassroots football now stretches beyond Easington United with him also coaching his son’s junior team at Sproatley Juniors AFC.
East Riding FA Participation and Communications Officer Chris Johnson said, “Andy is a real inspiration and his longevity in the game deserves recognition. The influence he exerts on the people around him and the encouragement he gives to others mean that he is a true clubman. We are delighted to reward Andy for his long service to grassroots football in East Riding.”
If you know someone who deserves recognition for their contribution to grassroots football, then please click here and nominate them for next month’s award.