The team back in 2021 at the start

Uttoxeter Juniors under 16’s Presentation

Three years ago in May 2021, as the nation came out of covid, Mitch Stafford started a new Uttoxeter Juniors football team, many of these players had played for other teams and together for many years, but this gave them all the chance to play together for Uttoxeter Juniors in the Mid Staffs league with Mitch during this time being assisted by James Lomas and then by Nigel Mottram.

The team has played together since then until this season, when as 16year olds it signifies the end of junior football, for which most for these players have been involved in for over ten years, playing football every weekend and training every week, developing their skills and being part of a committed team. With this being such a momentous occasion, it was the coach, Mitch Stafford’s vision to hold a final presentation evening with smart attire, a red-carpet arrival, buffet, full awards and of course a party to finish off the evening.  The players really stepped up and all arrived on the red carpet looking very dapper at the Manor Golf Club, Kingstone to celebrate this end of an era together.

Mitch started the presentation off by going over the history of the team mentioning their first league win against Lichfield City 4-3, and how the team had reached the quarter finals in both the league cup and county cup, and amazingly in the first season secured promotion to the Mid Staffs Premier league. He said “As a coach I am really proud and that all of the lads have developed into great young men” He continued by saying “my proudest moment was when the team reached the quarter final of the county cup during the 22/23 season”. He then handed out an award to every individual player, giving a speech about them and putting (a usually embarrassing photo) on the projector screen making everyone laugh.

After all the players had received their award Mitch then went onto handing out the individual awards for the evening again giving a small speech about each winner starting with Clubman of the year award which went to 3 lads that started at Uttoxeter Juniors over 10 years ago and have played together ever since, showing great club spirit. They were Rohan Macdonald, George Mycock and Corey Stafford. The next award was the coveted Players Player as voted for by their peers and this went to Superkeeps Tom Robins, who has had a great season and saved a penalty or two along the way!

The Supporters Player voted for by the parents who turn up every week regardless for the weather to show their support went to Corey Stafford, the Coaches Player was awarded to Callum Heath for a great season on the wing, and always being reliable on the pitch.

Most Improved Player went to George Mycock who has taken on the right back position this season and been integral in the back line.

Most man of the matches was sponsored by Dako and presented by Mick, this year there were four players with equal numbers of man of the match awards, and Mitch said he had treble checked! The four winners of these amazing plates were George Ratcliffe, Aldrick Asepma, Rohan Macdonald and Max Griffiths.

The Top goal scorer this year was awarded to the runner up of this award the last two seasons, Corey Stafford who had scored 10 goals from his midfield role.

Mitch finished the presentation to the players by wishing them well, and hoped to see many of hen continue into adult football, he then continued by acknowledging that it takes a lot more people than just himself to ensure that the  runs smoothly and the lads get the best experience and that himself and Nigel can concentrate on the players, without having to worry about other details.

Firstly, he thanked Paula Armstrong, Steph Atherton, Jenny Barnes and Emma Mycock for arranging tonight’s presentation and sorting the venue, buffet, cake, decorations, trophies and music.

Special mentions went to Martin Ratcliffe Independent Financial Advisors and Mick from Dako for sponsoring those first kits, so we didn’t have to continue wearing borrowed second hands one and gave us the best start to the teams first season. Also, to Howards Accountants in Stafford for providing all the lads with Winter coats, hoodies, beanie hats and water bottles this meant the team started out looking professional, and full of confidence.

There were mentions to Tim Robins, Martin Ratcliffe, Tony Atherton and Alex Barnes for running the line weekly, and also to Jack Mottram for also helping out in this role and to Jack Stafford and James Atherton for being fabulous ballboys, to Des Mycock for general help and maintenance, and sorting lawnmowers with flat batteries and Helen Priestley for being a stalwart in running the tuck shop.

A particular mention to Alexandra Stafford for putting up with Mitch and being his number 2 when he couldn’t get there, carrying balls, giving team talks – which were usually shorter than Mitch’s!

Mitch finished off his presentation by thanking his assistant coach Nigel Mottram, he said when he advertised for help, he felt like his call had been answered when Nigel arrived and how much he appreciated his help and support and footballing knowledge.

Tony Atherton then took over and gave a moving speech about Mitch and Nigel and the time and dedication they had put into the team to make it a success. The Players and parents then cheered and gave them a standing ovation. The lads all received a replica mini shirt with their names on as a memento before partying the night away!

The fabulous trophies were purchased from Trent Trophies.

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