Fair play to Clitheroe!

Anne Barker collects the PFA Fairplay Award at Stamford Bridge
Anne Barker collects the PFA Fairplay Award at Stamford Bridge
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Clitheroe chairwoman Anne Barker hailed her management team after walking away with the PFA Fairplay award at The Non-League Paper’s National Game Awards at Stamford Bridge.

And she hopes to return next year to collect more honours!

Clitheroe were one of just two clubs in The NLP Fair Play table – alongside Whitby Town – not to receive a booking for dissent, abusive language or violent conduct.

They ended the season with 42 yellows in total, earning them the award, with Barker admitting the efforts of the players had ensured a better atmosphere at the whole club.

“It’s unbelievable, but I can’t take the credit for this. That has to go to management team Simon Haworth and Gareth Roberts,” she said.

“They got the message that we needed to be better and they and the players have embraced us to get to Stamford Bridge for this award.

“We had too many dissent bookings last season, so when the board appointed Simon it was made clear to him that we had to improve – and it’s barely been too much of an effort.

“The personalities that they have, being so calm during a game, has fed onto the players on the pitch.

“When you get so far into the season and they realise they haven’t had a dissent booking, they don’t want to get booked because they want to win that award.

“At the end of the season we were on tenterhooks, it only needs one moment to lose it, but thankfully that didn’t happen.”

Clitheroe enjoyed a strong season, finishing seventh in the Evo-Stik First Division North and reaching the semi-finals of both the LFA Challenge Trophy and Integro League Cup.

And Barker is eying further success next year: “I want to be back next year, but with the Manager of the Year and the Team of the Year and the Player of the Year – but to be here at all is fantastic.

“At the moment it’s very even and, on their day, any club can beat any club which is what you want to see. We’ll be there again next season doing our bit.”