End of Season Awards - (almost) everyone's a winner...
After a long and challenging season, it was time for the players to let their hair down again and find out who had earned some of the prizes on offer.
The 11-a-side 1sts and 7-a-side teams were in attendance at The Old Bank of England on Fleet Street for what some might say was a gala occasion. Those people would probably not have known what normally happens at a Wanderers' social.
Stuart Houston kicked off proceedings with the awards for Most Appearances for the 7-a-side team; a tie between Calvin McKenzie and Mark Wilson. The Most Appearances (or Apperances as the engravers chose to spell it) for the 1sts was also a tie; Ed James and Luke Wilson picking up shields to celebrate their commitment.
In a decision that shocked precisely no-one, Mark Wilson and Simon Fullwood picked up the 'award' for Worst Dressed player, resulting in £5 fines for both of them. Sadly for Simon, he also won Worst Haircut, resulting in another £5 fine in absentia, despite a late vote from Ashley Stokes for himself!
The Pitchero Fantasy Football Top Scorer Award was another tie, this time between Ashley Stokes and Darren Tracey, so they were both awarded with medals. Flukiest Goal went to Daniel Flash for any number of efforts - although talk quickly turned to his wonder strike against Weston Green Reserves so he shouldn't feel too bad about his £5 fine. Poor Simon Fullwood - if he'd kept his mouth shut about his own goal, Mark Wilson, James Byrne or Robert Goodall could have earned the Best Own Goal award but that's another £5 fine for him...
There were five winners in the Top Goal Scorer categories - Guy Bird picking up the top 7s scorer, partly, and he won't begrudge the comment, because James Green was injured for the past season and a half. Darren Tracey snagged another gong with the runner-up prize. For the 1sts, it was always going to be a three horse race and Ashley Stokes edged it over Daniel Flash and Jean-Claude Meta (which is lucky really as the two runners-up were no shows... Fined.)
Rob Goodall took over compèring duties and duly handed a certificate back to Stuart Houston for his Worst Goal Celebration. There was little competition in the category, so players will be expected to lift their game next season. Excessive Showboating could only ever go to one man - 'El Pequeño Maestro' - Xavier Galceran. His three audacious chipped goals paired with one unlucky and one unnecessary yellow card made his debut season one to remember.
Two more plaques were issued for Most Improved Player - unfortunately James McDermott (7s) and Adam Wood (1sts) weren't around to collect them.
The first cup of the night went to Wanderers Clubman of The Year which was awarded to Mark Wilson for his stirling work behind the scenes. He clearly wouldn't have won any of the performance related awards.
That proved to be the perfect segue for Rob to hand over to Mark to wrap up the night's presentations. For Rob that meant having to put his hand in his pocket for a fiver for winning the Worst Excuse for Missing a Game award. Options were varied - the clay-pigeon shooting incident was a contender but the outright winning event was missing a match due to being so drunk his girlfriend turned to Facebook to launch the 'Find Robbie G' campaign. Funds were raised, search parties mobilised, every gas station, residence, warehouse, farmhouse, henhouse, outhouse and doghouse searched. He finally sheepishly appeared unharmed several hours later.
The Memorably Poor Moment in a Game was a contentious decision; Calvin McKenzie shared the vote with Daniel Flash, whose 'reverse-goal' (where he scooped a one-inch tap-in around the post) was brought up. Yet Andrew Mileham failed to get a vote despite the infamous shielding of the ball before smashing it out of the park with a jumping header, despite there being no other player within 20 yards of him against Rollers Athletic.
The winner of the weekly Man of The Match text vote went to Darren Tracey, who was earning himself quite a haul of baubles. Best Banter went to Ross Sibbit who was absent because, as gossip had it, he was 'introducing' his new girlfriend (which one?) to his Dad. Images of ungentlemanly congress were painted before everyone quickly moved on...
The main awards were for Manager's Player of The Year and Players' Player of The Year. The announcement of the manager's awards were met with popular agreement; James Green rightly earned the prize for the 7s and Stuart Houston for the 1sts; both are players who have contributed a massive amount on the pitch for their respective teams.
The Players' Player of The Year was voted for by all members of the 1sts squad and rightly went to Darren Tracey whose work-rate, goalscoring, tackling, passing and all-action style endeared him to his teammates.
After the presentation of the awards was finished, the caravan of carnage moved on to Walkabout where mayhem ensued.