Carshalton Athletic FC welcomed former Chelsea and England midfielder Ray Wilkins to the War Memorial Ground on Saturday as part of their reward for being named the national FA Charter Standard Community Club of the Year, writes Jordan Foster.
The Robins have over 500 players of all ages spread throughout their 40 youth sides, which includes women and girls teams, a Girls Football Academy and a disabled side.
Wilkins over-saw the Carshalton disability team in a training session during his visit and hailed how vital grass roots football can be in developing young players.
"When I was younger I went through the local school and district route to Chelsea," he said.
"I was also playing for Senrab (a club in East London, with famous alumni including John Terry, Sol Campbell and Jermain Defoe). They worked a lot on technique rather than winning, which shows how important local clubs are."
Carshalton rely on an army of volunteers, coaches and parents to run the club - something Wilkins thinks is often overlooked.
"When you're at the age of some of the kids here, you probably forget about the amount of time parents and coaches give up - but without them, they just couldn't play," he added.