Arsenal coach wins prestigious award from London FA

Francis Tardioli

Francis Tardioli - Credit: Archant

Arsenal community coach Francis Tardioli has been named as the 2013 Coach of the Year at the London FA Awards, held at Selhurst Park.

The 47-year-old from Holloway nearly missed out on collecting the honour because he had to be coerced into attending the awards ceremony by a friend.

“Originally I was not going to go,” said Tardioli. “But a friend of mine, who I now know knew I was a winner, kept on at me.

“He never told me I had won but he was saying ‘you’ve got to come along, you will really enjoy it’.

“When I was sitting down one man came up to me and was asking me all kinds of questions about myself, so I was really puzzled as to what was going on.

“Then when they announced I was winner of Coach of the Year, I was really shocked. I couldn’t take it all in. My first thought was that ‘I’m glad I decided to come.’

“I have been given two plaques and it is just wonderful to be recognised for doing something you love so much. It’s also testament to the skill of the children in Islington.”

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Tardioli currently works for Arsenal’s in the Community programme, but as a player he signed schoolboy forms for rivals Tottenham, before moving to Luton and later to various Isthmian League clubs.

A UEFA B Licence coach, who has won several Youth Awards and recently became one of the first in the country to pass his FA Youth Module Four with FA Learning at St George’s Park, Tardioli’s career has taken in many different clubs and countries.

Having turned to coaching in 1984, he went on to manage youth teams in Islington and also worked as a community officer for Wimbledon for nine years from 1993, as well as becoming an academy coach for the Dons.

Tardioli then began his career with Arsenal’s youth academy, as well as undertaking the recruitment and development of six to eight-year-olds at Leyton Orient, before taking his skills overseas, to Italy and Portugal.