Saturday 29th May 2021 (12:00-3pm) – Staines Town hosted a “thank you” Barbeque for last year’s staff and volunteers, organised and hosted at Wheatsheaf Park by Chairman Kevin Rowell. With the Club not able to hold its end-of-season presentation night, this was also an opportunity to present the awards relating to the curtailed 2020/1 season. Compèred by the Club secretary, Steve Parsons introduced all those in attendance, and thanked them all, as well all the other behind-the-scenes volunteers by name, for their commitment and hard work during the often difficult times that have been experienced. Tribute was also paid to three former Club men who have passed away over the past year or so – Bill Rogers, Laurie Craker, and Peter Gelson. There was a belated opportunity to congratulate the winners of awards that were not presented in 2019 or 2020, namely:
DICK WATMORE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: 2019 Louis Dixon; 2020 Jacob Adams.
The 2021 winner was Tayo Oyebola, whose great contribution on and off the field was recognised, although the player himself was not able to attend.
ALBERT ESTALL FIRST TEAM PLAYERS’ PLAYER OF THE YEAR: 2019 Louis Dixon; 2020 Jacob Adams.
With no clear winner among the limited number of votes cast, there was no winner for 2021.
JACK HANSON YOUTH TEAM (MANAGEMENT) PLAYER OF THE YEAR: 2019 Miloš Vukasinovič; 2020 Lenny Avison. DEREK PERRIN YOUTH TEAM PLAYERS’ PLAYER OF THE YEAR: 2019 Gabriel Piorkowski; 2020 Kacper Kloc. With no youth (under 18) team operating in 2020/1, these two awards were in abeyance this year.
STFC SUPPORTERS’ CLUB PLAYER OF THE YEAR: 2019 Louis Dixon; 2020 Jacob Adams. Bucking the trend of the other awards, the supporters’ votes this year selected Luke Robinson as the winner of this award. Unfortunately, he was also not able to attend, but for the very best of reasons: he is away with the Bermuda national team as they prepare for their World Cup qualifier in little over a week’s time.
An emotional Kevin Rowell took centre stage, and again thanked all those who had helped at Staines Town FC, especially since his chairmanship began at the start of 2021: he feels that the people around him foster a sense of what is known back in South Africa as ibuntu (family), and pledged to do all he could in keeping the Club moving forward. He then presented the CHAIRMAN’S AWARD (which has been dormant for the past two seasons) to the Johnson / Ryan family, to mark the willingness of Mandy Johnson, Stephen Ryan, and Stephanie Johnson to help in a wide variety of roles.
Kevin went on to wish success to new manager Mick Woodham and his recently announced technical team, and promised a further get-together shortly at which they would be introduced to the volunteers. Kevin praised the hard work of the Supporters’ Club. He thanked STFCSC’s outgoing Chairman David Norris, who had stepped down for business reasons recently, but had been with them since the 2015 revival and set them on a very firm footing. John Blair had stepped in on an interim basis, and he was introduced for the next item, calling up Christine Harberd. (Christine is in fact the only person who has publicly received one of the Club’s awards in the last couple of years, being presented with the STEWARDS’ TROPHY on the pitch for 2020). It was a sad day for all concerned when her husband, Gordon Harberd, passed away in 2017, and to honour him, a plaque was unveiled on the wall of the Club Shop.
The final award, presented by the Secretary, was the CLIFF LANE AWARD, which bears the name of a man who served the Club in so many capacities (player, Manager, President, Chairman, groundsman, to name but a few), and so it was fitting that this year’s recipient, the first since 2018, should be Kevin Rowell, who has also turned his hand to a multitude of tasks in support of Staines Town FC.
The afternoon concluded with specially prepared and barbecued South African sausages, drinks, and photographs. While all this was going on, there was also a small Supporters’ Club working party, headed by Chaz Kerr and Ashley Blair, who were also invited to join the festivities, and thanked for their efforts in blistering temperatures.
CAPTION: Volunteers at Saturday’s “braai” (left to right) – Standing: John Cook, Bill Baker, Mandy Johnson, Billy Murphy, Kevin Rowell, Steph Johnson, David Brown, Christine Harberd, Ron Windsor; kneeling: Steve Parsons, Stephen Ryan, John Blair; not pictured: Graeme Wilcockson (photographer).