A CHAIRMAN of a football club has had his hard work recognised with a nomination for BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

Sal Docky, founder and chairman of Bolton United FC, was put forward for the category of Unsung Hero at the awards which will be held on December 20.

Although he was not selected for the shortlist, Sal has been invited to sit in the virtual audience at the event.

Balancing the role alongside his job managing a post office in Huddersfield - which he commutes to from Bolton - there's no surprise as to why he was nominated for the award.

Sal said: "I have no idea who's done it, obviously I didn't make the short list but it's still great that somebody's recognised what I do.

"It does make me feel proud of the club and what we do in the community.

"I've been doing this for about 20 years. I started it off with just a small five-a-side team and we did local football tournaments.

"The football club helps keep kids off the streets and keeps them busy, I've always done lots of work in the community and with my local mosque so it's important to me.

"We've got teams that start from eight years old to under 21s, football is really important as it gives them social skills and teaches them how to interact with others.

"It keeps the kids busy and it's important to have children from different backgrounds meeting each other at the club and at matches."

The dedicated club chairman created the club to offer Bolton youngsters an opportunity he didn't have when he was young.

It has since evolved into an organisation providing opportunities for volunteers to get involved too.

Sal added: "When I was growing up we used to play on the streets, there was no where for us to play football together.

"At first I used to do everything by myself, but now I've delegated the tasks and we have a team of around 30 volunteers.

"I've got children of my own now and I work full time alongside this, so it is busy.

"But it's really important for me to be involved and I always make time to go to the training sessions and matches.

"This year has been incredibly challenging and hopefully we won't have anymore lockdowns in the future.

"I do have plans to do more in the community with some more projects in the pipeline, so I won't be going anywhere just yet."

Nazira Yusuf, media officer for Bolton United, said: “Bolton United are a brilliant community football club over the past 12 months I have seen the growth and progress its made.

"I’m so proud to see the club chairman Sal Docky get his nomination.

"Although he didn’t make the shortlist he really does work hard and is very committed to make everyone within the football club and community happy."