SADLER'S NIGHT AT THE AWARDS SADLER'S NIGHT AT THE AWARDS

SADLER'S NIGHT AT THE AWARDS

In the latest of his columns, Pete Sadler shares his thoughts on last nights awards ceremony, an evening that saw the Walsall Family come together and celebrate a successful if unspectacular season.

In the latest of his columns, Pete Sadler shares his thoughts on last nights awards ceremony, an evening that saw the Walsall Family come together and celebrate a successful if unspectacular season;

I'm glad that the Colchester game wasn't my last involvement with the club for the 2013/14 season. The result, the actions of a couple of 'fans' with a flag and ugly scenes behind the goal would have left a nasty taste in my mouth...unlike the food I enjoyed at the End of Season Awards Dinner.

Being my debut I didn't really know where I was going, however an ever-so-slightly hungover Febian Brandy was kind enough to show me the way. I was sat on a table with our Stadium Announcer but I was embarrassed to talk about the club being such a novice, however there was still plenty going on around the room to observe.

Speeches from Neil Woods, RO'K and Deano amongst others really encapsulated the ethos of the club on development and binding together as a footballing family. This was galvanised by the entertainment for the evening, Billy Flywheel, making a fool of the dour Ben Purkiss. He took it in good spirits however and shortly after picked up the Community Player of the Season Award (not linked to his performance that evening I hasten to add). Liam Kinsella received the award for Academy Player of the Season (thanking his Dad for the positive influence) whilst the allegedly outgoing Andy Taylor accepted the Goal of the Season title for his free-kick away at Colchester, Mal Benning picked up Young Player of the Year, he'll surely have a big 2014/15.

In Richard O'Donnell we seem to have found some stability in between the sticks and for me he has gone from strength to strength. Consistency for a defensive unit is helpful surely. Worthily O'D took the Players' Player of the Year accolade and immediately thanked Big Cuts and the rest of the keepers in the squad for their support, amongst others.

The main award of the evening went to a man I have lauded all season as the player we should look to build around, with Sam Mantom taking the Fan's Player of the Season. Looking dapper in a blue three-piece akin to my own for the evening (although looking a lot better I admit) he humbly suggested his own quest for a high level of performance every week and joked that none of his goals made the cut for the 10-goal shortlist gong eventually won by Tayls.

The final prize was a Lifetime Achievement award that went to Mick Kearns, greeted to the stage with a standing ovation from all present. Mick summed up the evening beautifully...reminiscing on past times and thanking the fans for their relentless support over the season. A job very well done by all concerned. Onwards and hopefully upwards for the 2014/15 season with some tough decisions on the horizon.

By: Pete Sadler.
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