Club chairman is named as Unsung Football Hero

Gianfranco Formosa
Gianfranco Formosa

An Italian man who came over to England for a holiday at 15-years-old, and never went home, has won the fifth Unsung Football Hero award.

Gianfranco Formosa, now 43, formed Eastwood Athletic FC in 2013, along with his wife Domenica, and the team is now a very important part of his life.

As Chairman of the club Gianfranco has given his time and commitment to developing the club and has taken it from one team to four in just one season.

It now includes two under 9s sides, Cobras and Gladiators, an under 18s and an under 21s team.

He has also given an opportunity for the older boys, who find it difficult to get a game, to play league 11-a-side football.

Gianfranco said: “I first came to England for a holiday after I left school in Italy at the age of 15 to visit my mum’s family.

“I didn’t speak any English, but I loved it here and ended up staying.I then studied English and went to school in Nottingham. Later I met Domenica and we moved to Eastwood and had our two sons, Owen and Leonardo.

“Our boys played football with a local team and we helped out.

“I took the FA Level 1 in Coaching, but the team folded.

“We knew there was a need for a local club, so we started Eastwood Athletic FC and it has gone from strength-to-strength.

The main reason that children join us is there is a real family ethos to the team.”

Gianfranco is the fifth winner of The Nottingham Building Society’s campaign.

As part of his prize Gianfranco will be taking his wife and sons to enjoy a Nottingham Forest game from the the executive box very soon.

After living in Nottinghamshire for 29 years, Gianfranco is an avid Nottingham fan. Although he admits his heart belongs to his beloved home team of AC Milan, he has been a season ticket holder at the City Ground for years.