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End of Season Gala Dinner - Leonard scoops hat-trick of awards

2 May 2017

A round-up of Sunday's End of Season Gala Dinner...

On Sunday night, following the 1-0 win over Bury, Southend United held its player awards at the annual End of Season Gala Dinner sponsored by ADSI.

The prestigious event was held at a premier marquee with players and management staff joined by fans and sponsors to round-off the 2016/17 season and hand out the player awards.

The headline news to come out of the night was the hat-trick of gongs picked up by Ryan Leonard who took home Player of the Season, Players’ Player of the Season and Goal of the Season.

The night was hosted by BBC Essex’s Nick Alliker and entertainment on the night was provided by magician Robert Dean, singer Megan Buxton and band The Decatur Street Trio.

The night began with a 45-minute free Prosecco and Peroni reception before guests were seated and took part in a game of heads and tails to win a signed bottle of Champagne.

After starter was served, the awards began with Simon Cox’s 100th career goal voted the winner of Champagne Moment of the Season.

Ted Smith picked up the first of his two awards with the Young Player of the Season before returning to the stage to collect Best Player in the Community.

Main course was served before Save of the Season was won by Mark Oxley for a terrific double save away at MK Dons and Celebration of the Season which went to Anthony Wordsworth’s mannequin challenge fail.

Blues legend Adam Barrett was in attendance and he personally signed five limited edition pictures which were auctioned off before desert and the final leg of the awards.

Win of the season was voted for the 3-2 comeback over Walsall and then came the three for Leonard, who told Blues Player HD how proud he was to become only the second player to win Player of the Season three times.  

“I’ve got to thank everyone that voted,” he said. “It’s a big achievement.

“It’s the third time I’ve won this so it’s a massive achievement for myself. I would like to thank everyone and in particular the fans. I’m very proud.

“Obviously, I’m happy with goal of the season but to get the award from the rest of the lads and the supporters more importantly is a massive achievement.

“The fans have been really good to me now for six years, so I’m very pleased.”

Smith, who was at the double in the awards stakes, was also delighted with his two.

“I’m buzzing with Young Player of the Year,” said the 21-year-old. “I got a lot of games this year, more than I thought.

“I got to 20 and it would have been a lot more if it wasn’t for the wrist.

“As a goalkeeper, you don’t hit your peak at the same age as an outfield player, it’s usually a bit later.

“I’ve been fortunate to get a break at an early age but it doesn’t stop there. 

“I’m also buzzing with the community one because it’s important to give back.

“The young kids are the next generation so for me it’s important to go along and see how they’re progressing as well.”

Southend United would like to thank ADSI for supporting the event, the entertainers and all who made the night a success.

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