Winner: Concord Rangers chairman Ant Smith collected the Unsung Hero award on behalf of Albert Lant at last year’s NGAs.
By David Richardson
Without doubt, one of our most important National Game Awards, year on year, is the SCL Unsung Hero.
That’s because we know – guaranteed – that whoever is honoured at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday May 16 will have a genuine love and passion for the game. These are not awards for your one-season wonders! The Unsung Hero really does separate the men from the boys and the women from the girls.
The process for this NGA is quite straightforward. Unlike most, it’s not a straight vote – we want you to nominate the person in the Non-League game who you believe we cannot ignore, and who deserves a special day out. That person with decades of service behind them, maybe someone who has run your club’s busy tea hut single-handedly for years without missing a game or the manager who washes the kit, puts out the corner flags, fills out all the forms – and then picks the team!
To dedicate a large chunk of your life to a club is something that definitely deserves recognition, which is why 93-year-old Albert Lant was named the SCL Unsung Hero last year.
Albert took Concord Rangers into competitive football for the first time in 1967 and managed them in their formative years, helping lay the foundations for their future success.
A move to Saturday football soon followed with Albert overseeing the promotions to the Essex Senior League as chairman.
Lant retired from the position in 1991 and became club president, a post he still holds to this day with Rangers now an established National League South side.
Concord chairman Ant Smith was on hand to pick up the award on Albert’s behalf and says every club needs a character like Lant.
“Albert was the founder of Concord Rangers 50 years ago last year, so I thought it was about time to put him up for the award after all the years of service,” he said.
“He’s been very hands-on over the years. I remember him being at the club and fixing doors and doing everything at the club.
“That’s exactly what a Non-League club needs; people to help out every week, you need it kept tidy, the pitch needs to be done and there are other duties with turnstiles – he embodies what every club needs.”
It meant so much to Albert and there’s no doubt it will to whoever wins this year.
First, however, we need you to send in your nominations for your Unsung Hero – email firstname.lastname@example.org with your picks for the prize!