National League sponsors Vanarama have named December’s winners of their manager, player and volunteer awards in Non-League’s top flight!
Notts County boss Ian Neal Ardley took the division’s managerial accolade after getting his side back into the promotion-chasing pack when the winners were announced at 5pm on Friday.
Yeovil Town’s Courtney Duffus was named as the division’s top star in the final month of 2019 while Glovers volunteer Sharon Swaine collected the volunteers accolade in the National League’s top tier.
Vanarama National League Manager of the Month – Neal Ardley, Notts County
It’s safe to suggest 2019 wasn’t a year to be celebrated by anyone associated with Notts County.
But as they say, it’s not always how you start – it’s how you finish.
If December offered any clues, 2020 holds plenty of promise after a rocky year for the historic club.
It may have taken the Magpies a while to get up and running. But back in the play-offs and playing the type of football the fans know they can, confidence is growing that an EFL return at the first time of asking is a serious possibility.
Last month, Notts’ National League wins over FC Halifax Town, Maidenhead United and at Solihull Moors saw the New Year in with a bang.
FA Trophy victory at rivals Chesterfield also added weight to the arguments improvement is being made at Meadow Lane.
Calm Neal Ardley swotted off a difficult November and knows there’s more to come from his squad.
The manager has a big four months ahead as the club look to make their stay outside the EFL just a one-year one.
Vanarama National League Player of the Month – Courtney Duffus, Yeovil Town
Think Yeovil. Think goals. Think Rhys Murphy, right?
Nobody’s blaming you. The Glovers’ golden boy has had an incredible season to date and he became a talisman almost instantly after signing.
But dig a little deeper and you realise there’s someone rather special playing in attack alongside him right now.
Quite simply, Courtney Duffus had a December dreams are made of after stealing his experienced team-mate’s thunder!
The 24-year-old hit no fewer than ten goals – there really was no other destination for this award.
He even notched a classy hat-trick in the 6-2 romp over rivals Torquay United on Boxing Day to add some gloss.
His manager Darren Sarll described him as “having all the potential in the world” and it’s hard to disagree.
Duffus is now a marked man thanks to his goal explosion – but whether defenders can contain him in 2020 very much remains to be seen.
Vanarama National League Volunteer of the Month – Sharon Swaine, Yeovil Town
Sharon Swaine of Yeovil Town has won December’s Volunteer of the Month for the National League.
Sharon is chair of our Disabled Supporters Association and has for many years dedicated a huge amount of her own time to improving the matchday experience of disabled supporters at Huish Park.
Sharon has, for as long as anyone can remember, voluntarily organised the disabled parking at Huish Park, taking bookings at all hours and stewarding the disabled parking on a matchday.
When she knows someone needs assistance she has always made it her business to help, collecting tickets, providing wheelchairs and assisting people to their seats.
Both on a match day and during the week she tirelessly works to provide better disabled facilities and equipment at the ground and this month has led a group of volunteers to sand down and repaint the wheelchair shelters in the stadium which were in need of renovation, another small example of the work she is continuously during to improve match days here for disabled supporters.
Make sure you get your copy of The Non-League Paper on Sunday for the latest news and the big picture from across Non-League over the last seven days.