Football fan named best in the country

PUBLISHED: 06:17 29 May 2014

Simon Stephens collecting his award.

Simon Stephens collecting his award.

Archant

A WESTON Football Club supporter, who hasn't missed a game in 24 years, has been named the nation's fan of the year.

Wind, rain and glorious sunshine, Simon Stephens has enjoyed and endured a lot following the Seagulls around the country.

Currently the club’s press officer, he has also taken on roles of associate director and academy match day operations manager – all on a voluntary basis.

He provides pre-match and post-match nutrition and refreshment for the under-18s and under-19s.

He does the same for first team games as well as forking out for the man of the match champagne for every home game and player of the month trophies – a treble that costs him £2,450 on its own.

Simon was nominated by Sean Burke for the William Hill Fan Of The Year prize.

He was selected by a panel consisting of staff from the Non-League Paper. The event was held at Fulham’s Craven Cottage ground and in association with Budweiser Club Futures.

Simon said: “You don’t seek recognition for what you do, but to win something when there are so many eligible people watching the game at non-league level is a great honour and a privilege. Weston have overachieved again in terms of budget and resources. Probably for the fourth season in succession we have punched above our weight.

“We have beaten sides we are not supposed to beat as we are still seen as little old Weston.

“There has also been a change in the managerial chair and I’d like to thank Craig Laird who has departed but I think the future is bright under Mickey Bell.”

* Budweiser Club Futures has invested £1m into non-league football over two seasons, providing 16 clubs with £50,000 grants. Two of these clubs received additional £100,000 Super Grants. To watch the documentary on the Budweiser Open Trials, which gave amateur footballers a second shot at glory, visit www.youtube.com/budweiseruk

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