Awards recognition for a superb season at Shrewsbury Town
The ultimate prize of promotion is still all to play for – but Shrewsbury Town celebrated the end of their memorable season with a fantastic awards evening at Montgomery Waters Meadow.
Midfield star Jon Nolan scooped the main prizes as Town’s fans, sponsors, guests, boardroom, staff and players united to toast a stunning campaign at a packed out Sovereign Suite.
He won the players’ player of the season prize as well as the overall player of the season, voted for by supporters.
Nolan, signed from Chesterfield last summer, has caught the eye with his stylish displays from midfield this season. He has netted nine times in 52 outings.
The midfielder, who also took home his trophy for being included in the League One team of the season, said on being acknowledged by his team-mates: “My vote went to Shaun (Whalley).
“It is nice getting the support from the lads but he would’ve been a worthy winner as well.”
Manager Paul Hurst and assistant boss Chris Doig attended the event and enjoyed the evening alongside the rest of the management staff, who have helped guide Town on a phenomenal journey in League One and in the cups this season.
Dean Henderson took home young player of the season, while Shaun Whalley’s stunner at MK Dons in December won Town’s goal of the season via a vote on the night.
Henderson has been an integral part in Town’s success this season. The hugely popular on-loan Manchester United goalkeeper has created a fine rapport with the fans and was named in the PFA League One team of the season.
The 21-year-old, who has played 45 times this season, said: “I’m really delighted with how the season’s gone so far. It’s far from over but to get the recognition means a lot to me.
“For me it was to play as many games as I can for a team favourites to go down. They explained that, I thought I’d come here, make loads of saves and make myself look good!
“The team’s done really well and the togetherness has seen us through loads of games.”
Whalley added: “I really did enjoy that goal as we were 1-0 down and looking like we were going to a defeat. I struck it well – I couldn’t even remember it afterwards to be honest!”
Fourteen-goal hitman Stefan Payne claimed top goalscorer. The forward will be desperate to add to his tally in the remaining – up to – three games of this season, beginning with the play-off semi-final first-leg at Charlton on Thursday evening.
Payne, who joined from Barnsley on a permanent basis last summer, said: “As a centre-forward, wherever you are, you want to be top goalscorer.
“It was kind of disappointing that I haven’t played as many I wanted to and scored as many as I wanted, but I feel the goals I’ve scored have been important goals.”
Shrewsbury Town’s charity partner, In The Community, handed the community player of the year to Omar Beckles. Head of the community Jamie Edwards spoke about Beckles’ determination to make a difference in the area.
Junior Brown also won plaudits for his willingness to attend sessions with schoolchildren and alike.
Edwards revealed the feedback on events with Town’s popular left-back is always top rate.
The video trailer for Beckles’ Hub365 Foundation, set up in memory of his late father and featuring a host of his Town team-mates, was played on stage and received one of the largest ovations of the evening.
“It is nice but it’s not why I do what I do, to get awards,” said defender Beckles, who also won his trophy for inclusion in the League One team of the year.
“It’s nice to see there’s been a bit of recognition.
“We’ve all got a life outside of football. Mine coincides with charity work with my family.
“Hub365 has been brewing for a little while now. The guys here have been fantastic. If it wasn’t for them we wouldn’t be in the position we’re in now. They’ve given me incredible support.”
The true or false game, played between guests later in the evening, could not be split between the four finalists so the £300 prize money was awarded to Beckles’ Hub365.
The entire of Hurst’s first-team squad, including younger members, attended the event and were happy to mix with guests.
Town’s boss addressed the room at the end of the evening: “We were favourites for relegation. It’s been an absolutely fantastic season, this may never happen again.
“We’ve got a very special group of players and staff.
“Of late performances have not been what we like, but I back the players because they’re honest.
“If – a big if – they perform how they can then we can win these play-offs.”