Chairman Frank Bell has led the community club all the way to Wembley and beyond
A club that has experienced the thrills of a journey to Wembley and helped thousands of youngsters enjoy the beautiful game is the first BT Sport Club of the Month.
In a tweak to our regular Manager of the Month award, we are celebrating the wonderful work of County Durham’s Consett AFC, led by their charismatic chairman, Frank Bell.
He took up his position at the club 12 years ago, and in that time, he has led the first team to the FA Vase Final, moved the club to a new purpose built stadium, forged links with Newcastle United and Sunderland so their academy players train on Consett’s 3G pitch, and grown the youth division at the club so hundreds have access to football every week.
It is a club well and truly on the up and one that gives so much to its community. Frank says:
“The success of this has been down to the people who come to this club. We only see enjoyment, we only see fun and to be part of that is actually a privilege
On the pitch, the first team are currently top of the Northern League Division One. In May they contested the FA Vase Final at Wembley, narrowly losing 3-2 to Hebburn Town.
“On the pitch that’s probably the proudest moment. It put Consett on the map and the whole community came together, but the ambition is to win at Wembley and that is what we will try to do,” he added.
(Photo by Paul Harding - The FA/The FA via Getty Images)
But it is not just about the first team. The club’s 3G pitch is busy throughout the week, with 56 kids an hour playing in various matches on Saturdays alone.
Frank also oversees numerous projects that benefit the community. The club has raised £50,000 for Great North Air Ambulance and a further £20,000 for a local hospice.
On top of that, the club’s facilities are used by various local church organisations, Weight Watchers, the Royal British Legion and many more.
Plus of course, the bar is regularly full for live football on BT Sport.
Live TV sport is integral to the whole package that we provide that brings people into the bar. BT Sport is an integral part of that.
Such has been Frank’s success that he was headhunted by the FA to help similar clubs to Consett.
He explains: “The supporter wants to see success on a long term basis. They don’t want to see their club just disappear off the face of the earth because a benefactor loses interest.
We are seeing a huge change in the landscape for sporting clubs and we are now seeing them emerge as community businesses.
And Consett is leading the way, hence winning the first ever BT Sport Club of the Month Award, to go alongside it’s many other accolades, including several Club Awards. Frank adds: “We are very proud of it. To win BT Sport Club of the Month is just wonderful.
They all deserve it. I never feel this is my club or our club it is the community’s club and it’s important to look after it. We do and we love doing it.”
Consett AFC in action in their 4-0 win over Penrith AFC, 30th October 2021
- Do you know someone who deserves to be considered for a BT Sport Manager of the Month – or Club of the Month – award? Let us know why on Twitter by tagging in @BTSportBars and using the hashtag #BTMOTM.