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Southend United's Frank Banks wins Tokio Marine Unsung Hero Award

17 March 2014

The Football League Awards 2014 - Please click here for live blog and video

Frank Banks has won the Tokio Marine Unsung Hero Award at The Football League Awards 2014.

Banks received the award at the gala ceremony at The Brewery, London, on Sunday evening in front of over 600 guests from clubs, sponsors and the football industry.

This year a total of 36 clubs were shortlisted for 17 awards and Banks beat competition from Barnsley Assistant Kitman Norman Rimmington and Brighton & Hove Albion Club Lottery Volunteer Fred Wooven to claim the overall Tokio Marine Unsung Hero Award.

Banks started at Southend United in 1958 as a 13-year-old and still remains an integral part of United's community operations to the present day - over 55 years after he started at Roots Hall.

He signed as a player for the Blues when he was 17 and eventually retired at the age of 34, having played for Southend and Hull City (who voted him their greatest-ever right-back).

Banks has fulfilled the roles of youth team coach, first-team coach, assistant manager and manager at Southend, before becoming the club's first Football in the Community Officer.

He retired from that role at the age of 63 but continues to remain a vital part of the Community and Education Trust, while he gives up numerous hours of his time to support the Trust's work across areas such as sports participation, social inclusion, health and education.

On winning the award, Banks said: "The football club has been a part of my life from when I was 13 years old being spotted in the park and the club have been good to me throughout that time.

"I love being associated with people and I've got away with it for years. If I can keep going a bit longer then maybe I can earn a few more pennies.

"It [being a manager] never really appealed to me. Look at the managers now - the pressure that they're under.

"I know you're under pressure as an assistant but whether I could take that step I don't know. I like the interaction with the players but I think it's a bit different as an assistant manager, they see you in a different context."

Football League clubs across the divisions rely on passionate, hard-working employees. This award recognises loyal and dedicated service behind the scenes, often people who have given their whole working lives to their club. The contribution club staff make to League football often goes unnoticed by fans and media attending matches, but without such commitment it would not be the success that it is.

Shaun Harvey, Chief Executive of The Football League, said: "The Football League Awards 2014 has given us the opportunity to reward outstanding achievement, both on and off the pitch, by Football League clubs.

"Every one of tonight's winners is a worthy recipient of their award and all the other nominees have helped set an exceptional standard this year.

"It has been a tremendous celebration of life in The Football League."

The Awards were streamed live on The Football League's official YouTube and Facebook pages, as well as official club websites and YouTube channels for the first time ever.

To find out more about The Football League Awards, and for a full list of Award categories, please visit

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