Brackley Town are celebrating a season to remember after being named Football Foundation Community Club of the Year at The National Game Awards.
The National League North club were honoured alongside the best and brightest in Non-League football at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge.
Chairman Francis Oliver and press officer Tim Carroll collected the gong on behalf of the club.
Their time as part of its organising committee has seen the average attendance grow tenfold from 50 or 60 to more than 600.
“I was gobsmacked when we found out we had won – it’s unbelievable to think we won community club out of all of the clubs in the country,” said Oliver.
“When I got involved with the club 15 years ago it was just a small-town club with 50 or 60 regular supporters.
“Now we’re a massive family club with an average attendance getting on for more than 600.
“For us, that’s unbelievable. It’s such an honour for the club.”
The Saints were recognised for their contribution to their Northamptonshire town both on and off the football pitch.
As well as the weekend football activity, they work with local schools and have a successful walking football side, as well as a thriving junior set-up.
Brackley also have a partnership with Project Uganda, an orphanage in the east African country where they send kit, boots and donations to help pay for essentials.
“We live in a beautiful market town and through the football club we have an opportunity to make a contribution to that community and our town,” said Carroll. “We take pride in being part of our local community.
“That vision goes past the club – it’s about the town of Brackley.
“It’s also fantastic to have an international dimension with the tentacles of the club stretching into the wider global community.
“For it to come together for us here today and win the award is pretty special.”
Last year’s FA Trophy winners have had another good season on the pitch.
Brackley finished third in National League North behind Stockport and Chorley.
But even if it had not gone so well, the club would continue to chip in and be an integral part of their community.
“It’s just lovely to get recognition for everybody,” Carroll added.
“It’s great for all our volunteers and people who work so hard to make all those things happen.
“It’s lovely to be selected for the award and be given that recognition.”