Many of our region’s footballers are already on the beach; the rest will soon follow with their shades, sun cream and swimming trunks.

For those left behind there is plenty of unfinished business especially members of the MBNA Northwest Football Awards family contributing to the greatest game away from the pitch.

That’s why May 28 is a red letter day for the hard-working and dedicated staff involved in community initiatives, business and industry plus medical profession. Even members of the media are given chance to make their own headlines for a change.

And for one extraordinary, invaluable, loyal, dedicated ‘Unsung Hero’ this could be their moment of glory too.

A fortnight after a stunning launch of the 2015 MBNA Northwest Football Awards at Hotel Football, Old Trafford, it’s time to get serious.

It’s time to open nominations for a host of prestigious categories that mean as much to the winners as do the playing awards to thousands of North West footballers.

And the goal for all is to collect trophies at the MBNA Northwest Football Awards at The Point, Emirates Old Trafford on November 16.

So, will Everton in the Community its Premier League community club of the year accolade?

Can Wigan and Blackpool shrug off their respective relegations from the Championship to defend their own community accolades from last year?

Mills & Reeve will be pulling out all the stops to keep the Professional Services to Football title from their rivals and after two successive victories via Mark Ogden and David McDonnell, can the broadcast media prevent a hat-trick of Journalist of the Year awards for their written counterparts?

Chester City stalwart, Barrie Hipkiss, and Blackburn fan legend, Alan ‘Birdy’ Birkbeck have been popular recipients of the last two ‘Unsung Hero’ prizes and organisers are making a big push this year to ensure the most fervent fans get due recognition.

“I consider myself a keen football follower but the passions some people have and the lengths they go to in order to support their clubs is remarkable, “said Laura Wolfe, managing director of Journey9 and the MBNA Northwest Football Awards.

“Our ‘Unsung Hero’ award continues to grow in popularity but there must be many more who haven’t yet had the recognition they deserve and who can challenge this year.

“With the nominations now open we hope to discover more die-hard football supporters like Barrie and Alan.

“However, because football is so entwined in the fabric of North West life, we know competition across all our nominated Awards is going to be really fierce.”

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