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WFC awards 2011

  1. 1. Opening the evening’s proceedings club Chairman Graham Taylor addressed the packed audience, saying: “It’s no secret that we went into this season on something of the back foot and with many pitching us as favourites for relegation. The fact we are where are now at this end of the season, and could end up finishing as high as 11th in the league is a fantastic achievement. “I’m sure you’ll agree that Malky Mackay and his team have done a tremendous job to get us to this point this season and tonight is all about recognising the many outstanding contributions that have been made in the name of Watford Football Club over the past 12 months.” As Taylor took his seat he was met with resounding applause, setting the tone for the remainder of the event, which saw many of the players taking to the stage to receive awards. Among them was Adrian Mariappa who received the accolade of Player’s Player of the Season. The award, sponsored by My Local News, was voted for by the players themselves, with video tributes from his team mates being played before the defender took to the stage to receive his trophy from My Local News editor Nik Allen. Now 24, Mariappa was an Academy graduate and has clocked up over 200 appearances for the club, 114 of them consecutively – a great example of the home- grown talent that Watford FC consistently produces. Proudly taking receipt of his award, Mariappa thanked his fellow players for the nominating him and said: “I’ve been at the club since I was nine years old and simply love it.” Other winners on the night were Will Buckley who just beat Marvin Sordell to the title of Young Player of the Season and skipper John Eustace who was awarded Goal of the Season for his outstanding over-head kick in the home game against Coventry. As Captain, Eustace also picked up the Team Performance award on behalf of the squad for their away-day victory over Millwall at The Den in September, where the Golden Boys thumped the Lions 6-1 on their home turf. Goalkeeper Rene Gilmartin was also crowned Community Ambassador of the Year. There were perhaps no surprises for guessing the recipient of this year’s Player of the Season, which went to the Championship’s leading goal-scorer and Watford FC’s golden striker Danny Graham. Graham netted in seven consecutive games for the club this season and has also had a host of other successes including being named in the PFA Championship Team of the Season and winning the PFA Fans’ Player of the Season Award. Recognising that the supporters play a key role in the club’s achievements, this year’s Supporter of the Season Award was given posthumously to Martyn Ginder of MK Ginder & Sons, a life-long supporter of Watford FC who died earlier this year. Taking his rightful place in the club’s Hall of Fame at this year’s awards was Duncan Welbourne, a Hornet for 11 years from 1963 to 1974, during which time he made no fewer than 457 appearances. Throughout his time Outstanding contributions rewarded at end of season dinner By Kelly Lavender As the football season drew to a close for another year Watford FC players swapped their football strips for tuxedos for the end of season awards dinner on Sunday 1 May. The black-tie event, held this year at Shendish Manor in Apsley, has become a highlight of the club’s off-the-field calendar, with everyone from the squad to managers and board members coming together in celebration of the club’s individual and team achievements over the past 12 months. And the winners are... Will Buckley scooped Young Player of the Year Danny Graham was crowned Player of the Season Malky Mackay thanked the players, directors and supporters Players Player of the Year Adrian Mariappa receiving his award from My Local News editor Nik Allen continued overleaf
  2. 2. at Vicarage Road he was known as a tough- tackling wing-back or full-back and played in a record-breaking 280 consecutive league games. As the evening’s celebrations drew to an end gaffer Malky Mackay took to the stage to give a heartfelt closing speech in which he thanked the club’s directors for two years of stability, before welcoming new owner Laurence Bassini who was present at the event, and the other new board members. Mackay said he was delighted with the strides the club was making in terms of embracing the local community and recognised the achievements that many of his young squad members have enjoyed internationally this season, with many representing their countries. As well as the awards , guests were also encouraged to take part in an open auction during the evening’s proceedings, with Danny Graham’s boots fetching £1,150 and dinner with Graham Taylor, Malky Mackay and John Eustace going for a very impressive £4,000, putting the pressure on the club’s Chairman, Manager and Captain to live up to expectations! The evening concluded with musical entertainment which gave the players the opportunity to mingle with the guests, with many of them staying to chat until the small hours. One guest who has attended the awards dinner for many years now is life- long Hornets fan Don Fraser, who told My Local News: “This is always a fantastically well organised event and I think this may have been the best one yet. It’s a wonderful opportunity to get to know the players and manager and it’s great to see them in such relaxed spirits, happy to talk to anyone, sign autographs and generally show their appreciation for the level of support they have in the local community.” Photos courtesy of Alan Cozzi & Watford FC Jean Ginder collected the Supporter of the Season trophy on behalf of her husband Martyn, who died earlier this year Rene Gilmartin was named Community Ambassador of the Year, an award presented by Jenny Tomley from John Lewis Captain John Eustace accepted the Team Performance Award on behalf of the squad for their emphatic 6-1 away win against Milwall

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