Home / Insights / Grassroots Hero overwhelmed by award

Grassroots Hero overwhelmed by award

Matt Ankers of Norton Athletic was named our 2024 Fosters Solicitors Anglian Combination Grassroots Hero.

Norton Athletic FC volunteer, Matt Ankers, has expressed both his surprise and thanks at being named this season’s Fosters Solicitors Anglian Combination Grassroots Hero.

Matt was nominated by Norton Athletic for our competition, which looks to celebrate those who go above and beyond for their grassroots football clubs participating in the Anglian Combination across Norfolk and Suffolk.

Upon finding out he had won this year’s Fosters Solicitors Anglian Combination Grassroots Hero Award, Matt said: “I was completely overwhelmed. It was a crazy first 24 hours. My phone just didn’t stop, I received so many messages.

I’m so honoured to have received this award and thank the club so much for the nomination. I owe so much to Norton Athletic, I am so thankful to them. They have given me so much and done so much for my family, I can’t thank them enough.”

Like so many grassroots volunteers, Matt gives up his whole weekend to help his club. In Norton’s case, Matt runs their tea hut for both first team and veteran matches at The Highfield, unlocking the ground and cleaning up – and he also looks after the medical bag and player treatment for their first team away games. However, the competition judges were also taken by the warmth and respect the club had for Matt at a time of personal challenge for himself, highlighting the comradery and sense of football family which is ultimately the lifeblood of the grassroots football community.

Matt explains: “I was put in touch with the club by local fan, Phil Maskell, after struggling with my mental health and I just fell in love with them. I went to the club for the very first time and then two weeks later I went to my first away game. Everyone is so supportive, from the Chairman Nigel, the groundsman, staff and the players, they all come and say hello and now my father and son come to the games too, it’s such a family club.

The club don’t understand how much they have helped me, by helping me increase my self-confidence and by showing me such love and support. I would do anything to help support them. That’s why I get involved at all their games and with all the teams.

I’m fine to say I’ve been under the mental health services, which I’m now being discharged from. The club have given me such confidence, which has helped me greatly.  I’m so thankful.”

Matt will be presented with his award at the forthcoming Mummery Cup Final at The FDC on the 11th May, with Norton Athletic also receiving a brand-new Macron kit for the 2024-25 season, courtesy of Fosters Solicitors and Anglian Combination kit and equipment partners, Macron Store Norwich.

This article was produced on the 30th April 2024 for information purposes only and should not be construed or relied upon as specific legal advice.