Mansfield Town manager David Flitcroft said he was very proud of the club’s progress as the awards and accolades flowed at the Sky Bet EFL annual presentations night on Sunday.
Krystian Pearce, CJ Hamilton, Mal Benning and Tyler Walker were all in the League Two Team of the Season, Pearce also in the overall EFL Team of the Season, while Stags also picked up the Family Club of the Year award.
“It was a brilliant night,” said Flitcroft.
“I love what the EFL represents. You see the work that goes on and what a football club means to a town, city or community.
“There was a stat that something like 11 of our England World Cup squad played in the EFL. We have got the best leagues in the world.
“The Premiership gets all the coverage. But this was a night for the EFL to celebrate what they are brilliant at.
“I was so glad I went as I was inspired by a lot of what I saw.”
In particular he was delighted to see how Mansfield Town is marching upwards and onwards in the national eye.
“A lot of work has gone on over the last seven years to make Mansfield Town as good as it can be off the pitch,” he said.
“To get the Family Club of the Year award shows the work put in by Tina, Paul (Broughtons), Danielle (Betts) and all the staff on that.
“You are proud as a manager, not just with the football, but also to go down there and support that.
“Seeing the players up there representing for us filled me with immense pride. You work with these guys all year and they have now been recognised as top performers this season.
“It’s brilliant to see and I was made up for them.
“We we got here, there were too many rocks and we needed sponges. We got players in who wanted to listen and learn.
“What is amazing is that three of them, Pearcey, CJ and Mal Bening were in and around the team but not absolutely nailed-on starters.
“Those three and Tyler have probably put in more training time than any other players. They are out there all the time working on their craft and their skills set.
“That gives you that understanding you can make those massive improvements. It’s credit to the players and to the staff.
“Nothing has been won or lost yet this season, but when you get recognised like that – and having four players in the team – it tells you you’re doing something right.”
As an ex-Bury manager, he was also moved to see his former player Joe Thompson honoured after twice beating cancer.
“Joey Thompson getting the Tom Finney award was some accolade too,” he said.
“The standing ovation just kept going, and rightly so for what he’s been through.
“That’s the stories football throws up. That’s the pyramid that supports the Premier League.
“Joey was not on great money at Bury, Tranmere and Rochdale.
“They are right on the cusp these players. If they don’t get it right next season, you can potentially be out of work and unable to pay your mortgage.
“Some of the football down at low levels is breadline stuff and for Joey to survive cancer twice and get that recognition was absolutely brilliant.
“It was a brilliant night and Mansfield Town were a big part of it.”