The 2014/15 Barnet FC Player of the Year Awards were celebrated in style on Saturday night as fans, players and staff alike came together to reflect on a memorable season so far ahead of the crucial climax to the Conference campaign.
Taking place immediately after the Bees’ 5-0 victory over Welling United to take them back to the top of the Conference table, the evening began with a packed out Amber Suite being invited to sit back and enjoy a short film on two giant screens looking back on the contributions of every single member of the Barnet squad to their success this season.
The awards ceremony then got underway, hosted by our new hospitality compere Richard Carlowe with the three club awards being presented by Chairman Tony Kleanthous and the five supporters’ awards being presented by John Adkins.
Top scorer with 31 goals and counting John Akinde was the big winner of the night, scooping three awards in the Members’ Player of the Year, the Players’ Player of the Year and main event of the evening in the Player of the Year trophy.
Meanwhile Elliott Johnson was named as Young Player of the Year, with Luisma Villa being chosen as the Most Improved Player of the Year and player-coach Jon Nurse being voted as Clubman of the Year by the members of staff at The Hive.
Following weeks of voting, all those in attendance were then shown a video with the Sweet Child o’ Mine soundtrack featuring a shortlist of the five most popular goals from the season so far, with a live vote taking place on the night to decide the best.
Once the results were totted up Luisma Villa then claimed his second award of the evening with the Goal of the Season trophy – presented by local boxing champions Chris ‘The Flash’ and Andreas ‘The Ace’ Evangelou – thanks to his dramatic free-kick winner in stoppage time at home to Alfreton Town back in September.
The most emotional moment of the evening came with the presentation of the Lester Finch Trophy, given in recognition of services to the club and awarded posthumously for the first time in its history to long-time supporter Gareth Needham – affectionately known to everybody at the club as Donny Gaz – who sadly passed away back in November.
With close friends and family in attendance, the award was collected by Paul Cannon and Gaz’s father Graham – who gave a short speech with a touching tribute to both Gaz and the club that he loved.
Following the awards, a ticket raffle took place with some lucky fans winning some fantastic prizes that were handed out by various members of the first team squad, including ten separate pairs of tickets to go and watch England take on Lithuania in their Euro 2016 qualifier at Wembley on Friday; a Jako match ball and Barnet FC home shirt signed by Player of the Year John Akinde; and a pair of hospitality tickets to a home game of your choice with seats in the Directors’ Box directly behind the home dugout.
The evening was then rounded off with a speech from Martin Allen, who called all of the backroom staff and players up on stage in twos and threes before insisting that the entire room serenade them with a chorus of his favourite song, “We’re on Our Way…”
Thank you to all supporters who came along to share in a fantastic evening at The Hive, and if you were one of the lucky raffle winners and would like a copy of your picture above please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.