AFC Sudbury's virtual end-of-season presentation awards draws more than 2,500 views on Facebook in less than three days
First-team goalkeeper Paul Walker (Supporters' Club Player of the Year and Players' Player of the Year) may have been the standout individual winner at AFC Sudbury's virtual end-of-season awards, but there was a feeling the club itself deserved the main plaudits.
There was a cohort of 40 managers, coaches and players on video meeting platform Zoom for the club’s two-hour web-based presentation on Saturday evening, which was streamed on the club’s Facebook page. By Tuesday lunchtime it had been viewed more than 2,500 times and included a question and answer session with first-team manager Mark Morsley.
It showed how a club can utilise technology to bring everyone together, from juniors to seniors to volunteers to supporters, to celebrate their successes despite the way their side's seasons abruptly terminated prematurely due to the coronavirus pandemic.
First-team keeper Walker, who recently signed a new contract extension, kept up his tag as the fans' and players' favourite with his string of eye-catching displays seeing him win both awards for the third time since joining the club three years ago.
Young defender Baris Altintop, who ended up captaining the side from November in Joe Whight’s injury absence despite it being his first season since graduating from the club’s academy, was named as Morsley’s manager’s player of the season.
The centre-back’s family were named as the club’s merit award winners for their varied work volunteering on match-days, as well as help launching mascot ‘Yella’.
Website editor Steve Screech, whose work has helped keep AFC in the top 10 of non-league club’s Pitchero websites, based on page view figures, was awarded the clubman of the year.
The women’s section saw Luke Mallet give his manager’s award to the versatile Charlene Roach-Smith while leading goalscorer Rebecca Stephenson took the supporters’ player of the year. The players’ player of the year went to Phoebe Guiver.
For the boys academy, Alfie Adams, who made his first-team debut as a 16-year-old in the 2-1 victory away to Grays Athletic in February, won the under-17s’ players’ player while Jake Banyard got the outstanding achievement.
In the U18s (second year scholars) Harry Critchley took the players’ player while Liam Bennett was given the outstanding achievement award.
In the first year of the separate girls academy, defender LiaFitzpatrick took the U17s players’ player and Makia Keeble-Bradford the outstanding achievement.
In the U18s, the players’ player went to Ronni Harrison while Ellie Mitchell was named as the outstanding achievement recipient.
There were also awards made to the junior sides from U13s, managed by ex-Premier League player Carlos Edwards, to U16s with videos of 200 goals throughout the season played.
* AFC Gold week 3: £100 (222) D Tatum, Holmewood Drive Giltbrook, Nott’m; £10 (239) R Brown, Bures Rd, Gt Cornard; £10 (247) Mrs K Ford, Queens Rd, Sudbury.