On Monday 5th December 2016, Paul (SDSA Secretary), Bill (Committee member) , and Paul’s wife Ange (as helper) attended the 2016 Football Supporters’ Federation (FSF) Awards, in partnership with Virgin Media, in London, as the SDSA had been nominated for the Fans for Diversity award (shortlist of 6). This award was decided by a FSF panel instead of by a public vote as with most of the other categories receiving awards.
After the champagne reception, the SDSA representatives took their seats in the main dinning room to enjoy the food about to be served and wait to see if the SDSA had won.
The awards were split into categories and mixed up at different times of the evening. i.e. 4 before starters, 4 after middles and so on with the category the SDSA was in being the last but one.
James Richardson ran down the nominees of our category, and when the SDSA was called out, there was a small cheer, maybe from the Virgin Media (who are currently the main sponsor for Saints) team table, until someone was asked to say who the winner was.
Bangla Bantams were voted the winners. Bangla Bantams are a group who are resident in Bradford and do a huge amount to aid the inclusion of minorities into football and the community.
Whilst very disappointed not to have won, the recognition gained from being nominated in the first place was fantastic for us and far and beyond what we could have expected.
On balance, it was right that Bangla Bantams won it as they appear to do an awful lot for community cohesion and inclusion, and the SDSA are currently not at the level of Bangla Bantams in this area, but we are working hard.
If you are part of a group, or know of a group, that we can help with, please let us know.
Our aim is to be nominated again in 2017, and of course bring the award back to Southampton.