Walking Football Spain held their Christmas Party at La Cala Grill in La Cala de Mijas on Thursday 7th December and presented their first ever awards of the year.
On offer were three trophies:
- Open Award
- Manager’s Player of The Year
- Players’ Player of The Year
The Open Award was for any player who had improved the most or who had contributed to the team in a special way.
In the reckoning initially was Jim King. Jim had joined walking football just a few weeks after we started and made the effort to come to all three sessions, in Elviria, San Pedro and Benalmadena. His football had come on a long way and it was also impressive the way he decided to come to football on the night of his birthday, rather than go for dinner with his wife! He also, that night, started the tradition of bringing food along on Birthdays, something we have stuck with. Plus Jim came along to the tournament in Portugal and was a member of the team that won their first game.
However, in recent weeks another name came into the running, that was Kevin Narain. Kevin comes all the way from Sotogrande to play twice a week in Elviria and San Pedro. When he first joined us in Elviria, he was fairly quiet on and off the pitch and was very reluctant to take a shot on goal, electing to pass it every time. And he was a little quiet after the game and took a while to join in the banter.
Playing twice a week and coming to the tournament in Portugal, meant that his confidence grew and grew and his contribution to the banter after the game also increased. His new found confidence meant that he was now prepared to take shots on goal and he is now a regular scorer. So Kevin definitely deserved the title of most improved player.
However, the winner this year of the Walking Football Spain 2017 Open Trophy could only go to one person, and that is Gordon Powell.
Gordon loved his football and loved the banter and camaraderie, and mentioned as such to his brother and daughter. He signed up early for the tournament in Portugal and quickly volunteered to drive some of us there.
He was a member of the team that won their first ever competitive match and actually laid on both passes that directly led to both goals, scored by Hugh Wood and John Wright. He came off the pitch buzzing and happy with his contribution to the team and immediately suffered a heart condition and died instantly. The team in Portugal and his family all took comfort in the fact that he died happy and surrounded by friends.
Seeing the smile on his face when I awarded him man of the match, I know that he would be very chuffed to receive this award.
Next award to be given out was Manager’s Player of the Year. For me, this was between two people who had been with me from the very first game – Brian Gregory and Keith Samuels.
Brian, Keith and Spencer Anderson turned up the very first session and have barely missed a game since. Keith Samuels in fact, has not missed a single session of football in either Elviria or Benalmadena all year! And although it was a tough decision I decided to award the Walking Football Spain 2017 Manager’s Player of The Year to Keith Samuels.
Whenever we have a new player turn up, Keith is the first one always to go over to them and introduce himself and to offer them some tips and advice on how to play. Whenever someone picks up an injury, Keith is the first one the following day to ask on WhatsApp how they are doing. Keith was also the first person to volunteer to drive Gordon’s car back from Portugal. So he thoroughly deserves his award!
Finally we gave out the Walking Football Spain 2017 Players’ Player of The Year award. This was the chance for the players to vote for the person that they felt was deserving of an award as the outstanding player of the year.
- In third place with 12% of the vote was Jim King.
- In Second place with 30% of the vote was Keith Samuels
- In First place with 41% of the vote was John Wright.
Well done John! John Wright and Hugh Wood have both been nominated for the Walking Football England Team and will be attending trials in the UK in the Spring, so good luck for that.