Brighton & Hove Albion were celebrating an award double last night, after the club and Albion in the Community (AITC) scooped major wins at the 2015 Football Business Awards (FBAs), at Chelsea's Stamford Bridge.
Albion were the first-ever winners of the Best Football Club to Work For Award, while AITC collected the Best Football Community Scheme Award for outside the Premier League.
FBA judges were drawn from a panel of industry experts from across the football business world; and for the Best Football Club to Work For Award, staff at all clubs from across the UK were invited to nominate their own clubs via written submissions.
The Seagulls beat off competition from Premier League big guns Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City to win the inaugural award.
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Albion chief executive Paul Barber said, "We have won awards for the brilliant, innovative and hard work of our staff, but this is a unique and very special award to win, given that clubs have to be nominated by their own individual staff."
"To hear that several of our staff made passionate and glowing submissions for Brighton & Hove Albion is something the fans, players, staff and directors can all be very, very proud.
"Togetherness has been our focus since the end of last season, and this award is just another example of that tremendous passion and team spirit that runs through the DNA of this football club.
"It's something which is infectious and hits you the moment you walk into this club. I am so proud to be chief executive of such a great club, and I would like to thank all the staff and players - as it is their ongoing, daily efforts which have won the club this prestigious award."
Staff from across the club collected the award from co-hosts, former Albion star Mark Lawrenson and TV presenter Ray Stubbs.
AITC added yet another award to their ever-growing honours list for what was described as an "exemplary scheme", and Barber also praised the efforts of the scheme's staff.
He added, "Albion in the Community made it a superb win double on the night, with yet another award. The work they undertake, in order to better the lives of so many local people, is astonishing and this award is down to the sheer hard work and endeavours of the staff."
Gary Townsend, the charity's chief operating officer, added, "It is fantastic for AITC to win this award and it is testament to the hard work of all our teams who are out in the community across Sussex every day making a difference to the lives of local people.
"Every single person involved with AITC should be incredibly proud. We were up against some very good community schemes and just to be short-listed was brilliant. To win just made it extra special."
Albion also finished runners-up in four other categories, while the club's architects KSS won Best Professional Business Serving Football for their work in designing the American Express Elite Football Performance Centre.
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