Player of the Year dinner. Report by NigelBlues.

Last updated : 27 April 2003 By Michael Morris

A very relaxed and informal sit down meal event was held at The Coal Exchange, Cardiff Bay. Tickets cost £30 each but although it is costly, I've always found it worthwhile. Each table of 10 includes 1 City player, 3 bottles of wine and copious amounts of alcohol soon follows. All the City key personnel were in attendance, Sam's table including the chief of police and Council Leader, Russell Goodway as the stadium is never far away from his, or our, thoughts.

A couple of players only were absent for various reasons - the most notable being Spencer Prior due to his wife being at an advanced stage of pregnancy - a blow really because he should have been at my table! With no meaningful game for a couple of weeks, it appeared that the publicised alcohol ban had a temporary reprieve as the players all enjoyed a glass or two.

Anyway, onto the awards which from memory were: mailing list magic moment award to DANNY GABBIDON.
The award was for the sight of seeing a City player mark Italy's strikers out of THAT game last September and then start the move that created Craig Bellamy's winner. Danny Gabbidon looked chuffed to get the award from me chanting his name over the microphone, there again, perhaps not!

1927 London/South East Supporters Player of the Year - ROBERT EARNSHAW
Earnie celebrated by singing a soul number ... something like that anyway.

Valley RAMS Sheeps Bollocks Award for the most committed player - ANDY LEGG
Leggy nicknamed Mr Pyjamas for an horrendous stripey shirt but he was outdone by Rhys Weston is holed jeans, colourful shirt and brown corduroy-type jacket that made him look like Austin Powers.

Bluebirds Down Under (Australian supporters) Best New Signing Award - GARETH AINSWORTH
Ainsworth denied being a nutter by saying there 15,000 bigger nutters who follow City at games but showed his other side with "rock'n'roll" salutes then gave the performance of the night on the karaoke singing The Doors Light My Fire every bit as good as Jim Morrison. Rumours abound he'll now undertake a tour of South Wales clubs starting in Bridgend. :>)

Most Improved Player - RHYS WESTON

Young Player of the Year - JAMES COLLINS

CCFC Hall of Fame Inductee - PHIL SUAREZ
The first time a non-player has entered the Hall of Fame but no City fan will ever forget the late, great mans passionate commentaries


PETER THORNE also won an award but I can't remember what for (sorry Peter!)
(It was a Rams award for most consistent player - MM)

Sam made a party political broadcast of a speech spending a lot of time praising the police and the council, I guess he needs to keep favour with them all the way before expressing his personal disappointment that City were not already promoted saying he spent enough money and brought the quality of player here to have won the title.

He did however say nothing but hard work and luck guarantees success in football before pledging to look at personnel changes for next season, whichever division we are in. Sam pledged that Cardiff's future is still in the Premier Division and he won a huge ovation as he said City's progress may be delayed but never be denied. He also pledged that no big name player, including the likes of Earnie and Gabbidon, will be leaving this summer as their duty remains with Cardiff City.

All the players were fantastic signing all sorts of memorabilia and talking to the fans all night, I really can't praise them highly enough. Earnie and Gabbidon (plus some others) stayed just about all night and must have shook hands with everyone, Gabbi the butt of some jokes too with his shorty, fat tie like we used to wear in school.

An excellent night as anyone there will tell you. If you haven't been, try and do it next season