CHRIS Byrne has spent the last 10 years helping others – now he needs your help.
The caring football coach is up for a national award but needs public votes to earn the prize.
Byrne, 28, has already been recognished at local level, winning the North West Outstanding Contribution to Community Football award which was presented to him by former Burnley manager Owen Coyle.
The awards are part of the 2014 FA Community Awards, presented by McDonald’s, and Byrne was recognised after he re-launched Ribchester Juniors FC in 2004.
Thanks to his hard work the club has become vital to the local community. Byrne will now join eight other regional winners from across England who have been shortlisted for this year’s People’s Award.
For the third year in a row, this special award gives the public a say in which local football hero deserves to be crowned the national winner.
For more than 12 years Byrne has been an inspirational member of Ribchester Football Club and his dedication to the club has been instrumental to its development. He is involved in every cornerstone of the club as a devoted coach, fundraiser, news reporter, volunteer manager, tournament facilitator, pitch maintenance manager and junior coach mentor.
Byrne re-launched the club when the senior team had folded by approaching friends, family and local professionals in Ribchester and persuaded them to help.
The club now provides football to over 80 members ranging from under sevens to open age adult football.
His involvement in the club began at age 16, when he offered a group of young footballers informal developmental coaching. They are now his current under 18s squad who have progressed from playing friendly fixtures to the Central Lancashire Junior Football Leagues and Lancashire Sunday Football League.
He trains the squad every week, motivating, praising and truly caring for the young people he has become a role model to.
He organises tournaments for the club and has been privileged to see some of the young people he has coached progress to academy and semi-professional football – a credit to his coaching attributes.
Despite a significant injury which has required surgery and Byrne’s demanding job which often requires him to work away from home, he has never missed a game or the opportunity to praise his squad for their commitment and contribution.
In addition to being a fantastic coach, Byrne has used his leadership and motivational skills to support other volunteers who are involved in the club and mentors junior members to encourage more members to invest time in the club.
Byrne has played a major part in developing youth football in his local community and without him Ribchester Football Club simply wouldn’t exist.
Voting for The People’s Award is open at thefa.com /yourgame and if Byrne accumulates the most votes he will be announced as the winner at the 2014 Community Awards ceremony at Wembley on Sunday.
McDonald’s director of football, Sir Geoff Hurst said: “We introduced the People’s Award and it has proven extremely popular. People like Chris are vital to the game and it is thanks to their ongoing commitment that grassroots football continues to thrive in so many communities. I hope the people of Preston demonstrate their thanks by voting for Chris, recognising that he is an exceptional part of their local community.”
To find out more about The FA Community Awards, presented by McDonald’s and to vote visit www.thefa.com/yourgame and follow @2014Grassroots