The Linfield end of season Gala Awards event took place at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Shaw’s Bridge last night.
Over 300 members of the Linfield family enjoyed what was a real joyous celebratory occasion, with the star attractions not just the players and staff, but also the Premier League and League cup trophies.
The evening was excellently hosted by UTV’s Ruth Gorman and after Linfield chairman Roy McGivern welcomed everyone to the event, he presented NIFL Premier League Winners medals to 15 of David Healy’s first team squad. The players not in attendance will receive theirs at a later date.
Jamesy Robertson of Linfieldtv broadcast an excellent video montage of the season’s highlights on the big screen and followed this up with a video of the nominations for the Goal of the season award. 4 of the goals nominated for the award were scored by Jordan Stewart.
The first of the 7 club trophies presented on the night was the Goal of the season award
The winner was Jordan Stewart’s individual strike against Crusaders in December. Jordan also won the award last year and he received the Ronnie Morrison trophy from Pat Fenlon and award sponsor David Sales.
The second of the 7 club trophies was The Billy Meikle memorial award
named after the former Linfield Trustee and presented to a player deemed to have displayed the traditional passion and never say die qualities so admired by Billy.
Billy’s son Glenn presented the award to this year’s winner Josh Robinson.
The third of the 7 club trophies was the Bobby Braithwaite memorial young player of the year award
. The trophy was named in honour of the former 7 Trophy legend and in addition to the African Trophy presented to the club by Bobby’s son Paul, the winner also gets to receive a Ronnie Morrison provided crystal trophy.
David Healy presented the trophy to this year’s deserving winner, Stephen Fallon.
By this stage Ruth Gornan had conducted short on stage interviews with Jamie Mulgrew, Jordan Stewart, Josh Robinson, Stephen Fallon and David Healy.
A break in proceedings allowed the gathering of 300 plus to enjoy a superb 3 course meal provided by the Crowne Plaza Hotel catering staff.
After the meal a ballot was held to win several top prizes and there was an auction of a Linfield shirt in aid of the club’s official and most deserving charity - the Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice.
3 supporters clubs made their presentations at this point.
East End LSC presented their award to Jimmy Callacher.
South Belfast LSC presented their awards to Jimmy Callacher and Jordan Stewart. One of the awards was voted for by adult members and the other (the Melissa McKelvey memorial award) was voted for by junior members.
The Supoorters trust presented 3 awards. Their April Player of the month was Gareth Deane. Their young player of the year award went to Stephen Fallon and their Player of the year trophy was presented to Jimmy Callacher.
At this point, the after dinner entertainment was presented by local comedian Tim McGarry and he was well received by the supporters in attendance.
There remained 4 trophies to be presented
The fourth of the 7 club trophies to be presented was the Malcolm Brodie memorial players’ player of the year trophy
named in honour of the late, great former sports editor of the ‘Belfast Telegraph’.
Jimmy Callacher was the winner of the award presented by Linfield Trustee Paul Weir and Rajesh Rana of the Crowne Plaza Hotel.
The fifth of the 7 club trophies was The Torrans Trophy
presented to a Linfield player deemed to have attained legendary All time great status.
Honorary secretary Andy Conn made the announcement that the award this year was being presented in honour and memory of and by way of tribute to one of THE ALL TIME GREATS - ‘Head Heel or toe, Slip it to Joe’ - the legendary Joe Bambrick (1905-1983).
Receiving the award on behalf of Joe was another man with Roden St roots - the Linfield chairman Roy McGivern.
The sixth of the 7 club trophies was the Merit award
The Ronnie Morrison sponsored trophy was presented by Roy McGivern and club president Peter Lunn MBE to former player and long serving sports therapist Terry Hayes.
In attendance were several of Terry’s former team mates George Dunlop, Roy Walsh, John Garrett, Colin McCurdy, Alan Fraser and Frankie Parkes.
At this stage Linfield chairman Roy McGivern presented the club’s highest honour - Life Membership - on honorary secretary Andy Conn.
The final of the 7 club trophies was the main award - the Linfieldfc.com Player of the year trophy
Voted for by the Supporters in a huge annual poll - In third place was Josh Robinson and the runner up was Jordan Stewart.
The first person to win this award twice was Jimmy Callacher and he received both the club’s trophy and the crystal Ronnie Morrison trophy from Ewan Chester - the former Rangers scout who was representing the unavoidably absent Ronnie Morrison.
All in all, it was a superb end to a superb season. Supporters got photos with the trophies and with the players and after the event there was a disco till late into the wee small hours.
Special thanks for the success of the event must be extended to the following.
Jonathan Lamont - the chief event organiser
Jamesy Robertson for all the graphics and videos
Host - UTV’s Ruth Gorman
Comedian Tim McGarry
19 Linfield players and 11 coaching / backroom staff in attendance
Former players in attendance
The Crowne Plaza Hotel and staff
The various award sponsors
Jamie Megarry who tweeted official updates
Ronnie Morrison who provided beautiful trophies
The individuals who provided ballot prizes
The 300 members of the Linfield family who bought tickets to the event and ballot tickets.
And Colin McMaster whose photos of the grand occasion wil be posted on this website later today.
Audaces Fortuna Juvat