A glittering occasion at Banks's Stadium...THE WALSALL FC End of Season Awards and 125th Anniversary Celebration Event took place at Banks’s Stadium on Sunday evening.
It was a glittering occasion as the Walsall FC family came together with an audience of almost 400 made up of Directors, past and present players, staff and supporters packed into the Stadium Suite.
Before the event, guests were able to view a range of memorabilia from down the decades, including shirts, trophies and the actual match ball from our famous FA Cup victory over Arsenal in 1933.
The evening began with Grace from former skipper and current Club Chaplain, Peter Hart, before Roy Whalley told the colourful story of The Saddlers in between courses of a delicious four-course meal.
Guest of Honour, Lord Mawhinney, Honorary President of The Football League, spoke before the Awards Ceremony got underway.
The main Player of the Season award went to Will Grigg after the emerging front-man became the first Walsall player in 12 years to break through the 20-goal mark. He secured 31.8% of the vote to beat off the challenge of Adam Chambers (21.5%), who came second, and winner in each of the past two seasons, Andy Butler (17.1%).
Saddlers’ legend, Alan Buckley, was on hand to present Will with his award.
The Young Player of the Season prize went to a player who has really impressed with his exciting wing-play this term. In what was a fierce competition, Jamie Paterson, secured the award for the second year in a row and received the trophy from Nick Atthey, one of the few players to have appeared over 500 times for the club.
There was a special Lifetime Achievement Award for Roy Whalley, who retires after 27 years of sterling service to the club at the end of May.
Other awards given out on the night included Will Grigg taking the Players’ Player of the Season prize as manager, Dean Smith made the presentation, Craig Westcarr accepting the Goal of the Season award from Allan Clarke for his superb strike against Tranmere Rovers in March, Andy Butler taking the new Community Player of the Season accolade for his involvement in the Check Your Pulse campaign and youth team skipper, Matt Preston being named as Apprentice of the Season.
Don Martin was named Fan of the Season and Horace Brisbourne was given a Long Service Award for his matchday role of Match Officials/Matchday Mascot Liaison, which he has done for over three decades.
Reference was also made to an online vote which saw our Millennium Stadium victory over Reading in 2001 named as our Greatest Ever Match, Roger Boli’s sublime over-head kick against Southend United in 1997, which was given the honour of Greatest Ever Goal and the legendary, Tony Richards who was named as Greatest Ever Player.
All in all it was a memorable evening and a fitting way for the club to mark our 125th Anniversary as well as reflecting upon what has been a successful 2012/13 campaign.