Bradford Disability Football Club’s Paul Jubb says it’s an amazing feeling for the club to receive recognition, with the head coach collecting the BBC Sport Unsung Hero award for Yorkshire.
Jubb started the team, which is a partner of Bradford City Community Foundation, in 2001 with only 10 players, but he now works with 150 members of varying ages and disabilities.
He was nominated for the award by Steve Parr, a volunteer and father of one of the players, and Jubb says it was an ‘amazing feeling’.
“I went to the live show at the BBC [Look North Yorkshire] as they told me I was one of four nominees, but I’d actually won it,” he told football-league.co.uk.
“It’s more about recognition for the the disability club than myself. I like to raise the profile; with the hope of getting more sponsors, volunteers and players. But obviously it’s nice to be recognised for what you do.
“The best thing about the programme we run is that the players get to build their self-confidence, make friends, and they all love being involved with Bradford City – it’s their lives, just like it is mine.
“Football is a great way of socialising and being part of a group with a sense of identity. We just completed a register and we’ve now got 150 members.
“We’re looking to perhaps increase our facilities and put on some extra sessions in the evenings and at the weekends. We never turn anybody away, whatever their disability or age, and want to keep growing.”
Now in its 13th year, the BBC Sport Get Inspired Unsung Hero award celebrates people from around the UK who volunteer their time and effort in encouraging the talents of others, and whose work enables local clubs and groups to thrive and flourish.
A winner was chosen in each of the BBC’s 15 nations and English regions, with those men and women joining sporting icons at the 2015 BBC Sports Personality of the Year event in Belfast on Sunday, where an overall winner will be revealed.
Ian Ormondroyd, Bradford City Community Foundation manager, reserved praise for head coach Jubb and believes Bradford City are proud of their disability club.
He said: “The players come to the club and feel welcomed, and are able to enjoy themselves, being part of a group that’s very inclusive and very friendly. All the parents get on and the atmosphere is brilliant.
“They play in a disability league but it’s more than just football as they go away on trips all the time. In all, they get to do all the things a normal footballer would – probably more, in fact!
“The players get to go on the pitch at half-time at Valley Parade two or three times a year, and the fans like that.
“Instead of going to get a pie or a pint, supporters tend to stay out and watch the disability club on the pitch, cheering them on. That’s very encouraging for the players – they have a great time.
“It would be great for Paul to win the overall award, but it’s not the be-all and end-all. It’s not about winning – the fact he has been nominated and the club has been recognised is fantastic.”