YORK CITY SOUTH
The James Walker Memorial Trophy
A Brief History
First awarded in 1997, our inaugural season, our branch presents The James Walker Memorial Trophy to our branch's player of the season following a ballot of members. The award is named in memory of James Walker, one of our founder members.
However, in 2016, with no player of the year award, York City South decided to honour Jeff Miller for his 29 years as City's physio and presented him with a shield after the final home game of the season. Jeff was really chuffed to receive his award and more than one person thought they could see a tear in his eye. Once again, the branch sponsored a hospitality box for the game.
In 2017, we will present our award on April 1st when we're in a sponsor's box for the Braintree game. Check if places still available.
In 1997, our inaugural season, our trophy was won by Andy McMillan and was presented to him on the pitch at Watford prior to our away game in April 1997. Its unclear whether the bubbly he received went to the players' heads and contributed to our 0-4 result.
Given the logistics, it has been presented in numerous locations. They include on the pitch at Bootham Crescent, away games, hotels and more recently it has been presented in our hospitality box after our sponsorship of the game.
Back in 1999, Richard Cresswell received his trophy in Sheffield Wednesday’s (his new team) hotel in south London on a dark and wet autumnal Friday night before their away game in London the following afternoon. Its rumoured that the trophy was last seen in a pawn shop on The Isle Of Dogs having been snatched from Cresswell's hands before the game at The Den the next day.
The apathy of the non league years lead to the trophy not being awarded for several seasons. In 2009, trying to revive the tradition of awarding the trophy before the last game of the season, no award was made. If memory serves me right, it followed Wembley’s refusal to allow us to present the trophy on the pitch before the start of our final game, The FA Trophy Final. To this day, the 2009 winner’s name remains in a sealed enveleope at the bottom of Alastair Smith’s sock drawer.
In 2013, the branch was rewarded with its foresight in putting voting online which resulted in a bumper turnout, believed to be our highest ever turnout of members and resulted in our first dead heat.
2013 could have turned into a sombre and feisty occasion in the hospitality box. A punch up was narrowly averted. Having conceded a last minute equaliser to Accrington in our 2013 survival bid, we had the players in the box to receive the award. Not one, not 2, but 3 awards. In the euphoria of our Wembley double success the previous season (2011/2), voting had been extended with Matty Blair being victorious, but being on his summer holidays before we could arrange to present the trophy, he never received the award at the time. For 2012/3, even new fangled technology couldn’t prevent a tie, so Danny Parslow and Michael Ingham stepped forward to receive the award. A 3 way squabble over who should take the trophy home was avoided as its branch policy to award a new replica trophy every season.
In 2014, we stuck to a tried and tested format and got a predictable outcome. Lanre Oyebanjo won the award after another round of online voting and was presented with his trophy on the day YCS hosted a sponsors' box at Bootham Crescent. Lanre accepted his trophy in person, he, his team mates and club officials entertained us and regaled us with numerous stories. However, following a tradition dating right back to 1974, at both club and YCS level, Lanre moved on from City a couple of months later.
2015 - Rigged vote? Our independent scrutinisers raised concerns over a possible vote rigging scandal. They highlighted a late surge by one candidate which started at about 21:00 on the evening of Tuesday April 14. When we explained Russell Penn’s screamer / scorcher / thunderbolt / wonder goal / pile driver against Morecambe that secured our safety they withdrew their concerns. In the voting, earlier leader Brad Halliday couldn’t maintain his momentum, steadily, winner Keith Lowe accumulated nearly half the votes whilst Penn’s late surge carried him to second place. Michael Coulson polled enough to tie for third place with Halliday. Once again, Keith received his trophy when YCS hosted a hospitality box at Bootham Crescent.
For our branch award, Alan Fettis is the only dual winner whilst more often than not, we’ve chosen a different winner to the club’s own award. We seem to recognise attacking / flair players or keepers (think Richard Cresswell, Richard Brodie, Christian Fox and Mark Samways) whereas in the club’s own vote, the ”Popular Stand” vote for the defensive stalwart (including Barry Jones (twice), Dave Merris and Tony Barras) more often than not holds sway.
The Roll Of Honour.
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