Niko Muir secured another hat-trick this evening as he won three trophies at the annual end-of-season awards evening.
Club chairman Simon Lawrence opened the evening by saying what a good season it had been, and whilst it was very disappointing to lose the play-off final, we lost to very worthy winners in Dulwich Hamlet. He commented on the Middlesex Senior Cup success, together with the nine goals scored in that competition against Spelthorne Sports, and also highlighted the penalty shoot-out win at Slough Town in the FA Trophy.
Simon went on to praise young keeper Daniel Purdue, who made his debut at Slough in that FA Trophy win, and went on to also win a penalty shoot-out in his second game for the club just a fortnight later against Hanwell Town in the London Senior Cup. The challenge was set to see if Dan is the first player ever in football to win penalty shoot-outs in their first two competitive games.
Simon concluded by saying it had been a most enjoyable season, and that we'd seen boys become young men, and young men become Hendon legend.
Gary McCann then took the microphone and admitted that he'd found the ten days since the play-off defeat very difficult and tough. He admitted that we had perhaps come up slightly short in the final and ultimately it wasn't to be. He said he couldn't be more proud of the squad, and it was the best group of players he's managed. However, he was quick to iterate that its not just about those on the pitch, but the efforts that go on off the pitch by supporters - and he repeated what he oftens says, particularly in his programme notes - We are all in this together.
He went on to say that he was disappointed we've been moved across to the Southern League, but that he wants to back up our great 2017-18 season. He's not fearing the Southern League, and the focus is that we're only in the division for a year as we look to earn the place in Conference South that we were so close to achieving. He firmly believes that the current group of players are cabale of achieving that.
He, as did Simon, thanked Tom Stockman, Rob Morris and all the team at SJP, Daz for his great work behind the scenes in his first season as secretary, his management team, the players and the supporters.
And so it was on to the awards.
First up, was the players player of the season award, which was won by Niko Muir. The managers player of the season award was won by a player that Gary felt had gone slightly under the radar - Zak Joseph. Keagan Cole and Luke Tingey were given awards for reaching 100 first team appearances, and then Niko was given his second trophy of the evening as top scorer with 40 goals this season - the best tally since Paul Whitmarsh nearly 20 years ago. Gary's final award was the clubperson of the year award, which went to Steve Rogers, who Gary said does a lot of sterling work behind the scenes, and is someone that Gary often speaks to away from matchdays.
John Creith, manager of our U18 side, then made a short speech, saying how proud he was of the fact that four players had been signed for the first team. The U18 players player of the year was Riccardo Alexander-Greenaway, whilst the U18 managers player of the year was Malachy McGovern, who was going to be leaving the club as he heads off to America for the next four years.
John Rock, on behalf of the Supporters Association, then made the third award of the evening to Niko Muir, in the form of the Supporters Player of the Year.
Simon Lawrence then returned to mention the new 12th man fund, saying that last season is now done and we need to look to the future and build on the progression we've made over the past twelve months. He reiterated that we are a fans owned club, therefore we are financed by the fans. The 12th man fund is a very important tool, and everything donated to the fund will go to Gary's playing budget.
The final award of the evening was then made, with the chairman's award going to Gary McCann.
The full list of award winners is as follows:
Players Player of the Year : Niko Muir
Managers Player of the Year : Zak Joseph
100 appearance awards : Keagan Cole, Luke Tingey
Top scorer : Niko Muir
Clubperson of the Year : Steve Rogers
U18 Players Player of the Year : Riccardo Alexander-Greenaway
U18 Managers Player of the Year : Malachy McGovern
Supporters Player of the Year : Niko Muir
Chairman's Award : Gary McCann