A DAD-of-three who set up a football team for his son to have something to do has been to Wembley to pick up the FA’s coach of the year award.

Optician John McGuinness, from Durham, was nominated for the national accolade for his dedication to Shincliffe Juniors football club.

He was handed his award by England legend Sir Geoff Hurst at a ceremony at Wembley, where he was named coach of the year during the Football Association’s awards for grassroots football.

He said: “There are many, many people giving up lots of time and putting a lot of energy who don’t get enough recognition so I was shocked, honoured and humbled to receive it myself.

“It was a once in a lifetime experience. The FA staff and ambassadors couldn’t have done more to make it special and having your name in lights on Wembley stadium and then getting to come out of the tunnel onto the pitch were pretty special and unforgettable experiences.”

The awards were handed out during half time of the Community Shield match, played between Chelsea and Manchester City on Sunday.

As well as Sir Geoff, Mr McGuinness also had the chance to meet FA ambassadors including Martin Keown, Danny Mills, Kieron Trippier, Casey Stoney, Dennis Wise and Stuart Pearce.

Mr McGuinness helped to set up the football club in 2012, alongside friend Sam Dale, for his son Henry, now 14, and his class mates at Shincliffe Primary School so they would have something to do.

Despite having no previous experience, the business man, who has practices in Newton Aycliffe and Washington, started coaching the boys and has since gained a number of qualifications, this year becoming an UEFAB qualified coach .

He now spends three evenings a week coaching at Maiden Castle, between Durham and Shincliffe, where he is in charge of the under 15s group, which has 31 boys and girls and has two sides and is developing a third.

He is also a coach mentor, supporting others to develop their practice and knowledge, and is a member of the FA coach mentor legacy programme.

He said: “ I fell in love with coaching purely through the enjoyment of seeing the kids doing something they loved and being able to share that great experience with my son and his friends and their families.

“I had no real ambition to be a coach beyond the entry level qualifications but wanted to better myself out of responsibility to the kids to help them be as good as they could be.

“After the my first further coaching course however I was totally grabbed by the magic messages that kids develop best in the environments they enjoy the most.”

The 44-year-old, also has two daughters, Eleanor, 12, and Eliza, 6, who is part of the club’s under sevens team.

He added: “I am grabbed by the desire of the kids to play and learn, they inspire me to be the best I can for them and I’m passionate about helping other coaches, where I can, to give as many young players in our area the best experience they can have in playing the game, whatever that is for them.”

Mr Dale, welfare officer at the club, said: “He really is the heartbeat of the club. He is the person who is driving us forward. He’s pivotal for our success.”

Club chairman Dave Glover added: “It’s been a complete journey.

“He didn’t have any professional coaching qualifications before and now he’s completed his UEFAB. He’s a role model.”