Brentford’s Queen Bee, who became the first fan to secure a Premium Seat at our new stadium and helps improve matchdays for younger fans, has been named Championship Supporter of the Year. Audrey Baker, a Bees fan of 88 years, has already snapped up premium seats for herself and partner Roy Romain at Brentford Community Stadium, ready for the opening next summer. And earlier at the start of the season she became Patron of our “Babees”, “Bee Team” and “Juniors” membership schemes, for supporters up to the age of 18. Now she has received external recognition.
The winner of the Championship YouGov Sport 2019 Supporter of the Year was announced at lunchtime. Audrey was nominated by Brentford FC for her generous donation to our younger fans. Her two-year investment will help the Club develop our offering for younger fans and attract new supporters to the Club. And Ealing-born Audrey – who first came to Griffin Park with her father in the 1930’s and lists Dai Hopkins and the prolific goal scorer Jack Holliday as her favourite players of yesteryear – a secured her own space in the Club’s history in January when she was the first person to buy a seat at our new home.
The winner of the YouGov Sport 2019 Supporter of the Year will be announced at the EFL Awards on Sunday 7 April. Audrey will be up against Roger Groves and Mike Davis of Shrewsbury Town and Frank Grande, representing Northampton Town, for the overall prize. And she is not the only Brentford nomination on the night.
Introduced ahead of the 2018/19 season, the Community Education Football Alliance (CEFA) league is a competition representing EFL Clubs’ Community Organisations (CCO)’s in regional leagues. Any players registered on a post-16 education pathway with Brentford FC Community Sports Trust and similar organisations at other clubs is eligible to play in the league. The competition provides playing opportunities for young people, regardless of ability, as well as the opportunity to participate in a football competition governed professionally by the EFL.
A male and a female participant will be awarded the CEFA Player of the Season on the night of the 2019 EFL Awards ceremony. Jason Evans, who represents Brentford in the competition, has been named in the top five. He will be up against a youngster representing Portsmouth and one from Wigan for the male prize on the night.
The EFL announced its Community Club of the Year shortlist after naming the winner in each of six regions at the end of last month. Shortlists and divisional winners have now been announced in other categories. More shortlists will follow in due course.
Middlesbrough are the 2019 Championship AmazeRealise Family Club of the Year. Having previously won the award in 2014, the Club have been selected for their innovative activities based on health, education and fun. The Generation Red Family Zone epitomises those principles and has proven to be very popular since its inception in 2013/14. Doncaster Rovers have been selected as the best in League One for their strong culture of fan focus at the Club, including their innovative kit design competition and Donny’s Dog Kennel. Whilst Mansfield Town represent League Two for their Family Area and the introduction of a new Family Room to enhance the matchday experience.
Will Vaulks of Rotherham United and Dan Butler of Newport County join Doncaster Rovers’ Matty Blair, who is recognised for the second year running, as the PFA Player in the Community divisional winners for their outstanding commitment to their communities. Over the last two seasons, Vaulks has been volunteering weekly at Bluebell Wood, a children’s hospice in Rotherham. With Bluebell Wood requiring £11,000 of funding per day to operate, Vaulks went under lock and key in a prison for ‘Jail and Bail’, which saw over £10,000 raised.
Doncaster Rovers’ Matty Blair has stepped up his involvement with ‘Fit Rovers’, completing more player visits than anyone else for the third year running. Blair has also continued to spearhead the Clubs’ mental health efforts, attending regular events held in partnership with the EFL’s charity partner Mind. Sky Bet League Two’s winner, Dan Butler, is the Club’s mental health ambassador, and has been for three years. Despite being one of the youngest members in the squad, his commitment and enthusiasm at the ‘We Wear The Same Shirt’ programme has had a lasting effect on the participants involved.