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Jobi McAnuff scoops Sir Tom Finney Award

24 April 2022

Former EFL star Jobi McAnuff has been presented with the Sir Tom Finney Award at the EFL Awards 2022.

The prestigious prize, which is presented to a player who has had an outstanding career and contributed an exceptional amount to the EFL and football in general, has been awarded to the former midfielder, who totally more than 750 appearances for eight Clubs.

McAnuff, who played in all four tiers and captained Reading and Leyton Orient to promotions, becomes the latest recipient of the annual award.

"It's a massive honour and privilege to receive an award like this," he said. "To win an individual award after my career is finished - I didn't win many when I was playing - is special.

"For me, playing football has always been a dream. That's what kept me going as long as I did and gave me that drive to keep going.

"Professionally, just to be recognised with the nature of the award, it's a special one. You look at some of the past recipients - people that are held in incredibly high regard in the football and in the EFL, which I've got a very close affinity to, as well."

Long-standing Burton Albion Chair, Ben Robinson, accepted the first accolade of the evening, winning the Contribution to League Football award.

"I had some clients who had a business and I was an insurance broker," he said, recalling how his love affair with the Brewers began. "We were having Christmas lunch and we played squash at 6am the next morning. They didn't know the offside rule but they'd been drafted in by the Club and they were there to help the Club expand and develop their sponsorship and engage with businesses within the community.

"The following year, the Chairman decided to hang up his boots. That was the start of becoming Chairman.

"I look back and our Club has had a phenomenal journey, starting one Tuesday night when it was wet and windy but I loved it. That's where it started back in the Southern League then getting promotion to the Conference. Then, in 2001, we got promotion to the EFL."

The Kin + Carta Family Club was awarded to Ipswich Town, seeing off competition from MK Dons and Sheffield United.

Central to Ipswich's family offering is their fan zone, and for anyone who has been to Portman Road will be familiar with it, outside on the synthetic pitches, with kids enjoying a kickabout before the game.

"It's a great honour," noted Dan Palfrey, PR Manager at Ipswich. "There's so many people at the Football Club who create special experiences for families, and it's gone a long way to achieving this award, from full-time staff like myself and my colleagues in our department to volunteers and stewards; it all goes into making the matchday experience so special."

Swansea City supporter Cath Dyer has been named the Supporter of the Season for her tireless work in helping to establish and promote the Club's Disabled Supporters' Association (DSA).

Working to make football more inclusive, she has also supported other fans who are looking to launch disabled supporter groups at their respective Clubs and created a monthly meetup for DSA members up and down the country to share ideas and best practice.

"I'm just so proud and honoured," Cath remarked. "We're a big happy family and a community Club - that's important.

"I started following the Swans in 1981 when we were in the old Division One. We moved away but continued to travel. When we moved back to Swansea 12 years ago, I joined the Community Trust. I helped to form the DSA so I'm still secretary of that.

"For some disabled people, it's the only place they go. They've got family and friends, and they want to be part of it and enjoy it and have fun. They just want to follow their local team. Football is important in bringing people together. We all want to be involved and we all want to be included."

The Sustainability Award, which recognises a Club that has developed an environmentally conscious campaign, project, or initiative, went to Cambridge United.

Ashley Dyer, Education and Skills Manager for the U's, said: "We've got so much gratitute towards the fans for the help in the way that we engaged with the project, which was all about encouraging fans to take part in environmentally sustainable activites."

And finally, Blackburn Rovers scooped the Diversity Award at the EFL Awards 2022.

"It's an amazing recognition for all the work that happened at the Club," stated Yasir Sufi, Integration and Development Manager at Blackburn. "It's something that the Club's taken pride in over a number of years. To finally be recognised for it, everyone is ecstatic about it."

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