If you had told Jordan Hulme he would be collecting a Player of the Year award a year ago, he would not have believed you.
The 27-year-old striker fell out of love with the sport after leaving Salford City at the end of last season, having been featured in the Class of 92 documentary during his time there.
Thankfully, he joined Altrincham and turned indifference into goal difference, contributing a third of their 101 goals which got them promoted from the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Division.
He was recognised last night at the National Game Awards in association with SCL, where he was crowned the Brandon Hire Step 3/4 Player of the Year on a night which celebrated the achievements of another special season of non-league football.
“I didn’t really like football nine months ago, to be honest,” he admits.
“I fell out of love with it and got on board with Altrincham to see how things went.
“But to be winning an award now is unbelievable and I’ve really enjoyed every minute of it – I’m just so happy to win, I still can’t believe it.
“You can go to places on a Tuesday night and be questioning whether you want to be doing it anymore.
“Then you come to this part of the season and you’re absolutely loving it, you can’t wait to start again. It’s a long season of ups and downs but that’s football.
“There’s a common goal to do well in football and you need these things to get people together.
“I feel like I’ve had a good season but I’m helped by great teammates, a great gaffer and a great club – but I am taking all the accolades at the minute and I can’t complain about that.”
SCL are one of the UK’s leading independent providers of education through sport for 16-18 year olds. SCL deliver Academy programmes across football, rugby and cricket, in partnership with more than 70 professional, private and grassroots sports clubs, foundations and community trusts. Find out more at www.wearescl.co.uk/education