RUGBY TOWN: Club to collect fair play award at Wembley

Action from last week's Newlands Shield friendly with Kettering, David Kolodynski scoring    Picture by Martin Pulley
Action from last week's Newlands Shield friendly with Kettering, David Kolodynski scoring Picture by Martin Pulley

Winning record of 35 yellow cards and one red in 51 games

Rugby Town have scooped another national fair play trophy, after the FA announced the winners of their 2016 Respect Awards.

Respect seeks to address unacceptable behaviour in football on and off the pitch, and the awards, which are now in their sixth year, salute the individuals, teams and leagues which have been at the forefront of promoting the ideals of the Respect campaign.

A Valley delegation will collect the team gong for the National League system covering all levels below the Football League at this Sunday’s Community Shield fixture at Wembley between Leicester City and Manchester United.

This latest success comes on the back of winning last season’s Non League Paper Fair Play trophy for the top four levels of the non-league pyramid, as well as the Evostik NPL South Division 2016/17 one and numerous monthly league nominations too.

An FA film crew attended Rugby’s recent home friendly against Coventry City to capture footage for a short piece that will be shown in the Wembley Suite ahead of the presentation at the weekend.

Town Director Neil Melvin welcomed the FA accolade. He said: “It’s a great achievement for us a club, and even more impressive considering the turnover of players we experienced last season and the affect this could have had on continuity of behaviour.”

Some 56 different players featured for the club throughout a campaign, which eventually saw Valley finish in ninth place in the table.

Melvin continued: “Considering that at the start of the season we were involved in a potential relegation battle, before an upturn that propelled us to the cusp of the play-off zone, it is even more remarkable that we have won this award, as it often mid-table teams who have less to play for that come out on top in these type of things.

“The panel have highlighted that we made it through the entire year without a single booking for dissent as part of an overall impressive disciplinary record, and hopefully we can maintain this into the coming season and beyond.”

Town received just 35 yellow cards and one red card in 51 games across 2106/17, and their Respect prize is due to be presented to them by FA Chairman Greg Dyke ahead of Sunday’s big Wembley game.

Laurence Jones, The FA’s Head of Clubs and Leagues, said: “The winners represent the crème de la crème among an inspirational group of leagues, clubs and individuals. Each has shown determination to ensure that the game is played in the manner it should be - by instilling and maintaining Respect in the game.

“Since its launch in 2007 The FA’s Respect programme has helped achieve a real improvement in behaviour on and off the pitch from the top of the professional game through to the grassroots. It is fitting that those that have excelled over the past season should be recognised for their achievements.”