Players, Staff, Fans and Dignitaries gathered to honour the achievements of the Club at this Season’s “End Of Season Presentation Evening”.
A packed hall at the Elstree Moat House Holiday Inn heard via Chairman Danny Hunter just how significant a Season the Club had enjoyed. Followed by a moving reminder of the Club’s history by its 84 year old President Bill O’Neill.
It was Danny’s twelfth year in charge and the most successful to date with a record seven boys in the last twelve months from the PASE Scheme earning full Schools and College England Caps. That together with a highest ever League position of 14th in the Blue Square Bet South achieved by the First Team and Reserves walking away with the Suburban Football League North Division title meant there was plenty to celebrate.
A special award from the Club was presented to Mark Dawe, the ex-Principal of Oaklands College, whose drive and determination had helped Danny in fulfilling his dreams. “Mark was instrumental in introducing “A” Level exams into our PASE Scheme, B-Tec and Construction portfolio, a first in the country and his vision has helped us continue to build and improve the biggest Scheme of its kind in the whole United Kingdom.”
In fact such was the success of the Scheme there was an unprecedented double award for “Young Player of the Year”, with Lee Close and Charlie Hunter both picking up awards. Lee was also presented with his England Schools cap whilst Charlie can now boast representing his Country at “Under 16”, “Under 17” and “Under 18” level, an unbelievable achievement.
There was also a special mention for Reserve Team Managers’ Ryan Kirby and Paul Burrows, whose side lost just twice since their coming together in October. A remarkable statistic considering the entire Squad is made up playing in mens football!
On the First Team front rather expectedly Mario Noto ploughed a well deserved furrow in the carpet picking up awards for “Supporters Player of the Year”, “Players’ Player of the Year”, Leading Goal scorer and a 100 appearances award.
One of the biggest cheers of the evening accompanied the announcement that Luke Garrard had received the accolade of “Manager’s Player of the Year”, which was replicated when he returned to collect the “Chairman’s Player of the Year” award.
First Team Manager Ian Allinson praised the support he received from the Chairman in his summary of the Season. “The shock of the jump in standard caught us out since our promotion last Season. I did my upmost to turn things around bringing in various players, yet after the defeats to St. Albans City then Woking and Bishop’s Stortford in the New Year I seriously questioned whether I was the right man for the job. Yet Danny remained positive, came in and talked me round, made funds available to get the players I thought we needed, yet could scarcely afford and we got ourselves right out of the mess with a fantastic run at the end of the Season. Without Danny’s belief and support this Club would be nowhere near where we are today.”
The plan for next Season? “A top eight finish!” declared Allinson.
The full list of awards were:-
“Supporters Player of the Year”: Mario Noto Runner-up: Greg Morgan
“Players’ Player of the Year”: Mario Noto Runner-up: Elliott Godfrey
“Manager’s Player of the Year”: Luke Garrard
“Chairman’s Player of the Year”: Luke Garrard
“Clubman of the Year”: Cameron Baker-Owers
“Young Player of the Year”: Lee Close and Charlie Hunter
“Top Scorer”: Mario Noto
Reaching 300 First Team appearances: Ryan Moran
Reaching over 100 First Team appearances: Mario Noto and Greg Morgan
“Supporter of the Year”: Geoff Wickens
“Players’ Player of the Year”: Simeon Akinola Runner-up: Bradley Fraser
“Manager’s Player of the Year”: Connor Lancaster
“Most Improved Player”: George Hunter
“Clubman of the Year”: Liam Griffin
“Top Scorer”: Simeon Akinola