Inter Service Under 23 Competition
In Iine with the Men and Women’s annual Inter Services competitions it has been agreed that in addition to the overall winner’s trophy three individual trophies be commissioned for the three matches in the Under 23 tournament in recognition of selected individuals from each service as follows:
Royal Navy v Royal Air Force The Richard Wilkinson Trophy
CPOAET Richard ‘Wilkie’ Wilkinson sadly passed away in 2022. He leaves a legacy across all levels of Royal Navy Football after a distinguished playing and coaching career.
Wilkie made his RNAS Culdrose debut in the 1991/92 season. After deploying to the Adriatic where he represented HMS Invincible, he returned in 1995 winning the Manager’s Player of the year for the 1995/96 season, his first full season back at the club.
He went on to win five Navy Cups out of a total of seven Navy Cup Final appearances and additionally a sixth win as Assistant Manager at Fratton Park in 2011 against HMS Ark Royal. He represented the Naval Air Command & Fleet Air Arm at multiple Inter Command/Regions Championships as a player and in 2000/01 was called up for a senior RN Appearance. A successful civilian playing career took him to a number of South Western League clubs most notably Porthleven and Mullion locally before being part of the Helston Athletic Combination League winning side in 2010/11 season that started their rise through the FA league pyramid. Shortly after Wilkie returned to RNAS Culdrose Football Cub and quickly became a huge part of the club behind the scenes once again. He served the club as First Team Manager, First Team Captain, Reserve Team Captain, Bar Manager and Committee Member. His wealth of football experience was recognised by his appointment as Royal Navy Development Squad Assistant Coach, winning the Inter Service Championships in his first season.
Photo: *Richard’s wife Sasha and son Niall with the newly commissioned trophy.
Army U23 v Royal Navy U23 The Joe Collins Trophy
Joe Collins joined the Army Apprentice College at 16 years of age. Outstanding performances for his corps (Royal Signals) led to Army Youth then senior selection in quick succession. He remains the only player to have represented the Army at both youth, senior and UKAF level in the same season. He has represented the Army and UKAF at every level winning all major honours in Service football tirelessly giving back to the sport he loves. Joe played over 200 times for his corps, 169 Army appearances plus over 50 times for UKAF and captained at every level. His honours include five Kentish Cup and Inter Service titles, six Corps trophies and four Army Challenge Cup successes. In more recent times he has coached 4 LANCS to Army Reserve Cup success and has masterminded further success as they also became the first Reserve unit to win the Army Super Cup. In 2023 Joe coached the Army Masters to win the inaugural Masters Inter Services (Major Billy Thomson BEM Trophy) followed by Gold Medal success in the European Masters Games in Helsinki. Joe was awarded a Service to Football Award in 2015 for his “sustained and selfless dedication to Army Football over a quarter of a century and invaluable and dedicated service to the Association.
Royal Air Force U23 v Army U23 The Neil Hope Trophy
Neil Hope’s contribution to Service football has been outstanding since commencing in 1982. Playing and management was followed with increased involvement in football administration. Neil was Chair of the West Midlands Services Football League and organised the Annual ATC 5-a-side tournament which raised over £40,000 for local charities during this time. He then served in honorary roles at the RAF FA initially as Secretary of the Women’s representative team then Honorary Secretary of the Association combining this with his challenging jobs. In 2006 he set up the Taking Football to Africa and Beyond Charitable Appeal. Since the start of this appeal, they have sent over 350,000 items to 61 different countries. Kenya has been the main beneficiary with over 98,000 shirts provided. A monumental achievement. In 2008 he was then appointed as the FA Council Member for the RAF FA; a role he served for 15 years including involvement on many committees including as Vice-Chair of the FA Development Committee and eventually a seat on the National Game Board, the highlight level for grass roots football within the FA. Despite these higher-level opportunities Neil never stopped supporting the RAF where he has been responsible for the relationship with Shrewsbury Town FC to ensure that the Inter-Services home fixture for the senior men is delivered annually.
Under 23 2023/24 Calendar
Wed 7 Feb RAF v Army (Neil Hope Trophy) Rayners Lane FC 1400hrs
Wed 14 Feb Army v Royal Navy (Joe Collins Trophy) Aldershot Mil Stad 1400hrs
Wed 21 Feb Royal Navy U23 v RAF (Richard Wilkinson Trophy) HMS Temeraire 1900hrs