By Tony Leighton
Clubs from every division were honoured during Sunday's 2013 Football League Awards at The Brewery in London, where 650 guests were in attendance to see the presentation of 28 awards acknowledging excellence both on and off the pitch.
As well as accolades for players there were awards to mark outstanding contributions and achievements by individuals and clubs within The League.
Goalkeeping legend Peter Shilton OBE, who made a record 125 England appearances, was delighted to receive the Contribution to League Football award.
"This is certainly up there with all the awards I've won in the past." said Shilton, whose high-achieving 30-year playing career was, at club level, most notable with Nottingham Forest, where he twice won the European Cup and also collected winner's medals in the top flight of The League and The League Cup.
"I played in The Football League for 30 years and had a fantastic time," added Shilton, 63. "The Football League is about real football people who do it for the love of the game, and I am really pleased to pick up this award."
A more recently retired player who can also stake a claim to legendary status, Graham Alexander, was handed the Capital One Credit to the Game award.
Full back Alexander, 41, hung up his boots at the end of last season having become only the second outfield player in the English League system's history - after Tony Ford - to make over 1,000 first team appearances.
Now manager of League 2 side Fleetwood, Alexander said: "I had a great career, a lot of it down to hard work but some luck along the way and belief from my managers.
"I was fortunate with injuries and I had some great highlights, like making my first-team debut as a 19-year-old with Scunthorpe, playing for Scotland, and then scoring a goal with my very last kick as a professional - at that moment I knew I'd made the right decision to retire, it was a great way to finish my playing career."
A popular winner of the Football Manager Outstanding Managerial Achievement award was Bradford City boss Phil Parkinson, who by leading his League 2 team to the final of the Capital One Cup made history as the Bantams became only the second team in history from that level to reach the final of the competition.
The Wembley final was lost to Premier League Swansea City, but Parkinson was rightly proud of his team's achievement. "This is a special award and I feel very honoured to receive it" he said.
"It's not just the team on the pitch it's also the team off the pitch, and the efforts of the team behind the manager have been fantastic. So for me to get the award is reward for everyone who's been involved.
"I've loved what we've achieved this season, and now I hope I can help the club to progress and go on improving."
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