It’s the annual announcement which can only mean one thing. The return of the National Game Awards signals the start of what can be best described as the business end of the season.
When we sound the NGA klaxon, the countdown is officially on. The season’s end is in sight and the nerves and excitement begin to kick in. The biggest few football months of the year are now upon us.
Not just for the players on the pitch, looking to grab a title, seal promotion, win a cup or simply avoid the drop. Here at The NLP, we really are getting busy – the big day is just over ten weeks away.
So what’s different for 2016? The venue, for starters. We’ve gone back to the future and it has provoked an enjoyable trip down memory lane. The National Game Awards are returning to Stamford Bridge – after all, there will be trophies won out at Chelsea this season!
The last time were were on the blue side of west London, we were joined by a megastar in the making. Jamie Vardy didn’t hesitate in getting on a train down to the capital with his then-Fleetwood team-mate Jamie Maguire four years ago.
Vardy wasn’t just collecting an award, he was taking a tour of his future. Leicester and their striker have soared since he picked up our Player of the Year accolade.
And should the Foxes lift the Premier League title? Yes, they’ll be champions on the final day of the season at the Bridge – four days before this year’s NGAs.
So who will be crowned this year’s king or queen of the King’s Road? Wednesday May 18 is the date for your diary and we’ve got another smashing set of awards to dish out as we recognise the great and the good of the Non-League game in fitting fashion.
What else is new? Well we’re thrilled to announce a new title sponsor for the event – welcome and thank you to SCL, the leading provider of sports coaching and education are on board for 2016 as we’re back bigger and better than ever.
We will be providing weekly run-downs, award-by-award, in the lead up, but the Sports Shield Player of the Year looks sure to be hotly contested. The SCL Unsung Hero is one of our favourites, as is the NLP Lifetime Achievement.
Long-term supporters Reusch return, Bob Fidler is again backing the Goalkeeper of the Year gong, with the PFA fully behind the Fair Play award as journalistic mind-makers Sportsbeat put their name to the Young Player of the Year award again. Ian Senior and SK Kits will knight the star of Steps 3 and 4.
We’re also making new friends this summer. Acerbis – renowned manufacturers of motorsports clothing and equipment but now looking to be a big player in the UK football market after success over the past decade in Italy, Spain, Holland and Switzerland – are backing the Cup Run of the Year award, and Morrant get behind the always absorbing Golden Boot accolade.
The NGAs wouldn’t be the same without the Football Foundation’s Rory Carroll dishing out the in-demand Community Club of the Year trophy, while FieldTurf reward the year’s top boss with the Manager of the Year award.
HuckNets are back involved for another year and they are sponsoring the Goal of the Season with William Hill helping out once more with the Fan of the Year award. Red Insure take on the Team of the Year – we couldn’t do it without any of them!
NGA 2015-16 list of awards
Sport Shield Player of the Year
Sportsbeat Young Player of the Year
FieldTurf Manager of the Year
Reusch Goalkeeper of the Year
Morrant Golden Boot
SK Kits Step 3 & 4 Player of the Year
Red Insure Team of the Year
Acerbis Cup Run of the Year
The Non-League Paper Lifetime Achievement
Huck Nets Goal of the Season
William Hill Fan of the Year
The Football Foundation Community Club of the Year
The PFA Fair Play Award
SCL Unsung Hero
How to vote
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to cast your vote or use #NGAvotes on twitter.