The following players have had the honour of being voted the Supporters Club Player of the season. Click the names below to go directly to the corresponding profile.
1975-76 Keith King | 1976-77 Steve Anscombe | 1977-78 Les McCormack | 1978-79 Phil Wood | 1979-80 John Mawhinney | 1980-81 John Sille | 1981-82 Paul Mayles | 1982-83 Paul Marriott | 1983-84 Mark Pearson | 1984-85 John Watt | 1985-86 Gary Keen | 1986-87 Rob Smale | 1987-88 Allan Cockram | 1988-89 Martin Gurney | 1989-90 Paul O'Reilly | 1990-91 John Colfer | 1991-92 Paul Hobson | 1992-93 Steve Clark | 1993-94 Shaun Brett | 1994-95 Steve Clark | 1995-96 Gareth Howells | 1996-97 Jon Daly | 1997-98 Kevin Mudd | 1998-99 Asley Vickers | 1999-00 Lenny Piper | 2000-01 Ryan Moran | 2001-02 Richard Wilmot | 2002-03 Gary Crawshaw | 2003-04 Miguel De Souza | 2004-05 Lee Clarke | 2005-06 Paul Bastock | 2006-07 Gary Elphick | 2007-08 Paul Bastock | 2008-09 Ben Martin | 2009-10 Peter Smith | 2010-11 Adam Everitt | 2011-12 Nick Jupp | 2012-13 Richard Graham | 2013-14 Lee Chappell | 2014-15 Joe Welch | 2015-16 Louie Theophanous | 2016-17 Tom Bender | 2017-18 Sam Merson | 2018-19 Ben Wyatt | 2019-20 Joe Iaciofano |
1975-76 Keith King
Durham born Keith King had the honour of being the first recipient of the St Albans City Player of the Year trophy at the end of the 1975-76 season. A physical education school teacher and a Newcastle United trialist, he joined the City in the summer of 1975 after ending the previous season with Bedford Town. Due to being on holiday, he missed City’s first four games of the season but was in the starting XI when the winless run ended in the fifth game, a 1-0 win over Bromley at Clarence Park . Tall and blond he cut a striking figure in midfield but had a preference for playing up front. In March 1976 he was pushed into the forward line and responded with a spell of seven goals in five games. During his first season at the Park he appeared in 52 of City’s 64 games and with 15 goals was the second highest goal scorer behind Nick O’Donoghue who found the back of the net on 26 occasions.
Steve Anscombe signed for St Albans City in September 1976 after starting the season with South Midlands League side Selby. Manager John Clark brought him to replace Alan Schaufler and, after making his debut, appeared in all but one of City’s remaining 56 games of the season. He kicked off with a clean sheet as City beat Ware and his run of four consecutive games without conceding a goal in October was the best by any City ‘keeper for five years. The first goalkeeper to win the award, he kept 18 clean sheets in his 55 appearances. City finished in 13th place in Division Two (renamed Division One the following season) of the Isthmian League but Steve did appear in two cup finals. Unfortunately, good fortune did not favour City in either competition as the Saints, after a good performance, went down at home to Hitchin Town in the Herts Charity Cup and then lost on penalties to Boreham Wood in the Mithras Cup at Clarence Park .
The 1977-78 campaign was the only full season that Les McCormack, son of former City centre half Ron McCormack, spent at Clarence Park . Not the tallest of defenders he was renowned for his reading of the game and timely challenges. Injuries hit City hard during the season and, possibly, cost them promotion as they fell just seven points adrift of promoted Oxford City. Only striker Derek Brown made more appearances during the season than McCormack but a solid defence, built around Les and Ian Whitehead, saw only four sides concede fewer goals than City. He featured in the City side that recorded notable wins in the F.A. Cup over Carshalton Athletic and Leytonstone only for injury to rule him out of the defeat against a Jimmy Greaves inspired Barnet. Les made 51 appearances during the season and scored four times. Les had a good excuse for missing City’s 3-0 win over Hornchurch on 5th November, as he married his fiancée Christine that day. He left St Albans City at the end of the season to join Southern League Barnet.
1978-79 Phil Wood
With money in short supply at Clarence Park in the summer of 1978, manager Maurice Walby , installed just a week before the start of the season, turned, predominantly, to youth to see the club through. Only Phil Wood and Paul Mayles remained from the previous season under Bob Murphy . Woody was 36 at the start of the season but was a guiding light for those inexperienced players around him. Goalkeeper Steve Anscombe featured in 56 of St Albans City’s 66 matches while Phil appeared in more games, 53, than any other outfield player. St Albans finished the season just one place off the foot of the Division One table but were saved from relegation by the merger of Leytonstone and Ilford. Somewhat unexpectedly, City did well in the Herts Senior Cup. In the semi-final Woody, playing his 45th game in the competition, took the tie against Bishop’s Stortford into extra time with a fine headed goal. Alan Easterbrook scored a winner but in the final, at Vicarage Road, City lost an entertaining game to Watford 3-2. (Photo: Phil Wood , Tony Lock, Keith King and chairman John Wadlow).
Former Watford, Tottenham Hotspur and Hertfordshire Youth player John Mawhinney was a hugely popular figure on the Clarence Park terraces with his electric speed brightening up the dullest of winter afternoons. Born in Glasgow, he was an All-England sprinter at 100 and 200 yards. John’s impressive early season form earned him a contract in the November. It was not just his pace and crossing ability that caught the eye, he was also a decent finisher. During his 52 appearances this season chipped in with 15 goals including doubles against Horsham, Harwich & Parkeston and Aveley. Only the experienced John Butterfield found the back of the net more times. John won the Player of the Year vote by a large margin with Phil Wood in second place. (Photo: A raised John Mawhinney after receiving the trophy from Supporters Club chairman Fred Hedges).
A lithe midfielder who, along with the equally gifted George Cooper, caught the eye of Tottenham Hotspur, although initial interest was not followed up. Brought to the club from Hertford Town by City manager Maurice Walby in December 1979, Jon really flourished in the attack minded teams of Ron Duke . A good tackler but more noted as an excellent ball-player and regular goalscorer. With 23 goals from 57 appearances there was little doubt that he was going to win the Player of the Year award. Full-back Ian Whitehead was the second highest scorer with 19 goals, 18 of which were penalties. In a season of many memorable matches, as City chased promotion, ultimately unsuccessfully, to the Premier Division of the Isthmian League, Jon featured in the 1st Round F.A. Cup win away to Alliance Premier League side Gravesend & Northfleet and both 2nd Round ties against Torquay United. Jon was hauled down for the penalty from which Whitehead scored in the replay at Plainmoor.
1981-82 Paul Mayles
Paul Mayles had been something of a slow burner since breaking in the St Albans City First X1 in August 1975, but he was to become one of the great City forwards. Given the players that City had, 1981-82 should have been a better season for the club than it actually was; they finished 15th in a 21-team First Division of the Isthmian League. But the open style adopted by City under Ron Duke allowed Paul to bloom. His return of 25 goals in 56 games was a vast improvement on 40 in 206 games going into the season. Paul’s value to the team went beyond his own goal-getting, as ten of the 15 penalties awarded to St Albans during the season were down to fouls on the Wheathampstead bricklayer. This was Paul’s seventh season at Clarence Park and he had played over 260 games by the end of it, but his most prolific season was yet to come. Duke moved to Dagenham at the end of the season but failed in his attempts to take Mayles with him. (Photo: Paul Mayles with Supporters Club chairman Fred Hedges).
Having voted for attacking players in each of the previous three seasons, supporters turned to the defence in 1982-83 and opted for the battling qualities of former Whitwell central defender Paul Marriott. The season was a complete disaster for the club that ended in relegation to Division Two of the Isthmian League, yet Paul emerged with credit. He appeared in more of City’s 51 games than any other player, 43, and also played in two games for Hertfordshire, both of which he scored in. This was Paul’s second season at Clarence Park , he was appointed captain at the start of the campaign by new manager John Butterfield. City lost all of the opening four league games with our only goal coming from Marriott when he was pushed into the attack late in the game against Hampton. Following two successive wins in mid-September he was sidelined through injury for six weeks. During that time his absence was clear as City could manage nothing better than one win and one draw from eight games until he returned. (Photo: Paul Marriott with Supporters Club chairman Fred Hedges).
In his first season as St Albans City manager, John Mitchell entrusted the role of goalkeeper to Oxford City custodian Mark Pearson. Known to all as Percy, it was Mark’s second spell at Clarence Park and his name became the first on the team sheet for the next 225 games, a run unsurpassed by any other player. The 1983-84 season was a tremendous year for the club, as Mitch drafted in a number of local players and goals flowed freely. Promotion was achieved at the first attempt with 96 points gained and 100 goals scored. Paul Mayles grabbed the headlines with 36 goals in 47 games but the points saved by the ever-present Percy was rewarded by supporters come the end of the season. Mark kept 14 clean sheets during the season, 12 of which were in the league. As City closed in on promotion just six goals were conceded during the final dozen league games. Just one of those games was lost and that was to a highly contentious 90th minute penalty that, ultimately, won Basildon United the championship. Mark is the only ever-present player to have won the Player of the Year trophy.
Airdrie-born midfielder John Watt is one of the all-time great St Albans City captains and forged a near perfect partnership with manager John Mitchell . A leader both on and off the pitch, John enjoyed a remarkable bond with his team-mates and commanded the utmost respect. Having had the satisfaction of being the first captain to lead City to promotion in 1983-84, he appeared to be on the verge of repeating the trick twelve months later only for City to blow out during the spring. He appeared in 46 of City’s 52 games this season with only Mark Pearson and Rob Smale playing in more games. With injury ending Paul Mayles career in the December, striker Smale was the only player to score more times than Watty’s 14 goals. Twice during the season he scored in three consecutive league games. On the first occasion City won all three games, but the second time he did so City lost all three by a 2-1 scoreline. One curiosity of John’s record during his time at the Park is that his 46 goals were spread over 45 games. (Photo: John Watt receiving the trophy from club president Ken Hill).
The occasionally fiery Gary Keen was one of a cluster of local players introduced to St Albans City in 1983 by manager John Mitchell . Complete with a black widow spider tattooed on his thigh, Keeny became a highly influential member of the squad as he filled in at a number of positions to good effect. The 1985-86 season started badly for him when dismissed during an F.A. Trophy defeat at home to Oxford City before a ball had been kicked in the Isthmian League. He returned from that suspension to score twice as City hammered Leatherhead 6-2 to record our first league win of the season on 28th September. He scored in 16 different games during the season, none of which were lost. From early March to mid-April he scored in eight of City’s nine games but, as the side stuttered during the final run-in, he was relegated to the bench for the promotion deciding final game of the season at Lewes. He came off the bench on 73 minutes to score, with his first touch, City’s sixth goal in a 7-1 rout. (Photo: Gary Keen receives the trophy from City’s managing director Bob Murphy ).
1986-87 Rob Smale
For the fourth season running the Player of the Year award was collected by a player signed for the start of the 1983-84 season. Rob Smale had left the club during the 1985-86 season but was back and in top form as City acclimatised to life in the Premier Division. He scored five times in the opening five league games although the side itself struggled and fell to the foot of the table during October. John Mitchell brought in several new players but Rob was one of those to retain his place. A firm favourite on the terraces, his close skills, crossing ability and goals once attracted interested from Tottenham Hotspur. Only Mark Pearson and John Watt appeared in more games for City during 1986-87, while Rob was also the top goal scorer. His 20th goal of the season secured victory over Kingstonian on 7th March and virtually ended the threat of relegation, it was also his 60th for the club. His final goal of the season came during a 3-3 draw with Bromley as he marked his 150th game in style.
1987-88 Allan Cockram
Quite possibly, the most gifted player to have represented St Albans City. New City manager John Lacy , like Allan Cockram , a former Spurs player, appointed Cockers as captain for the 1987-88 season. The season was a far from classic for the club generally, but for Cockers it was a highly significant campaign in his career. Two-footed, possessing the eye of a hawk to spot an opening, a scorer of spectacular long-range goals and all topped off with flowing curly locks, Cockers had the lot. He had played in 42 games by mid-March and bagged 29 goals – five penalties – when the call came to sign for Brentford. Allan’s final game of his first spell for St Albans, against Bognor Regis Town at Clarence Park , saw him score the winning goal. City were tenth at the time with only goal difference denying Lacy’s side eighth place. Following Cockers’ departure City won just one of the final 12 games and none of our last eight Isthmian League matches. Twelve months later he appeared for Brentford in the F.A. Cup quarter final against Liverpool at Anfield. (Photo: Allan Cockram receives the trophy from club chairman Bob Murphy ).
Martin Gurney holds the distinction of being the first player from St Albans City Youth to win the Supporters Player of the Year trophy for the First team. The 1988-89 season was Martin’s fifth since being promoted and saw him pass 50 games in a single campaign for the first time. With 12 goals he was City’s leading goal scorer, one ahead of Nigel Johnson. The season may have been a personally satisfying one for Gurns but it was a time of struggle for the club with Doug Parkin’s team steering clear of trouble with the occasional flurry of good results. At the end of April, Martin appeared in his second Herts Charity Cup final but City ended the night as runners-up to Boreham Wood. Gurns’ 12thgoal of the season secured victory over Barking but it was City’s only win during the final ten games of the season and Roy Butler, who had replaced Parkin in January, went the same way as Parkin come the end of the season. (Photo: Martin Gurney receives the trophy from club chairman Bob Murphy ).
1989-90 Paul O’Reilly
City manager Peter Lawrence brought Paul O’Reilly to Clarence Park early in the 1989-90 season, a move that led to regular goalkeepers Mark Pearson and Lee Bozier leaving the club. Lawrence’s faith in his new custodian was fully vindicated when he won the Player of the Year award at the end of the season. O’Reilly, nicknamed Mad Dog on his show for Chiltern Radio, enjoyed a 1-1 draw against Dulwich Hamlet on his debut but went down to defeat in each of the next four games. Paul’s fortunes improved with three successive clean sheets in October and three more in November. The season overall, though, was one of consolidation rather than improvement. That said Lawrence’s side reached the final of the both the Herts Senior Cup and the Isthmian League Cup, the latter for the only time in the club’s history. Paul collected a runners-up medal in the county cup – Lawrence was sacked the next day – and a second runners-up medal followed in the League Cup. Paul made 40 appearances during the season and kept a dozen clean sheets. (Photo: City chairman Bernard Tominey presents Paul O’Reilly with the trophy).
John Colfer was the surprise choice for the 1990-91 Player of the Year award, a season that saw City struggle against relegation until manager Jimmy Howard was replaced by John Mitchell towards the end of February. During his time at Clarence Park , Colfs wore every shirt from 1-11. On 30th March 1991 he donned the goalkeeper’s jersey as an injury hit St Albans City side drew 3-3 at Barking in the Isthmian League. Colfs made 41 appearances during the season, only central defender Andy Cox played in more games, while John was booked six times. Cox, with eight, was also the leading goal scorer. Colfs scored twice during the campaign, at home to Hendon on Boxing Day after coming off the bench, and his second, three weeks later at Dagenham, came during a game that saw him playing up front. Following a Herts Senior Cup defeat at home to Stevenage Borough in January, he went to the St Albans City Hospital for treatment to four dislodged teeth after being punch during the game. (Photo: John Colfer receives his award from City chairman Bernard Tominey).
Midfield Paul Hobson was a popular figure on the terraces at Clarence Park , a midfielder with flair and a keen eye for goal. In a season that saw City fail to reach the heights expected, Hobo was a shining light. Along with Jimmy King and Steve Scott, he appeared in 54 of City’s 61 matches and chipped in with 20 goals. City also signed the experienced Steve Clark (29 goals), Steve Ketteridge and Paul Price, yet, saddled with a poor home record, could only finish 13th in the Isthmian League. The League Cup was more to City’s liking with the side reaching the semi-final, Hobo scored twice in a quarter final win away to Sutton United, it was a feat that he had also achieved in the league at the same ground earlier in the season. Paul was booked five times during the season and sent off when Chesham United won at Clarence Park . At the end of the season, Nelson-born Hobo was sold to Enfield for £12,000 and he later emigrated to New Zealand where he took up coaching. (Photo: City charman Bernard Tominey presents Paul Hobson with the trophy).
1992-93 Steve Clark
Finding the back of the net 45 times in 59 games paved the way for Steve Clark to win the Player of the Year award by a large margin from runner-up Shaun Brett. It was the first time that a City player had scored more than 40 goals since Charlie Bunce in 1935-36. Steve’s 29 goals the previous season is the highest tally by a player not winning the award. He scored a hat-trick during the opening league game of the season, a 5-0 win over Dulwich Hamlet, and added a further four triples during the season. Only one of his hat-tricks was scored on home soil. Clarky also scored at highly significant moments including heading City’s equaliser at home to champions Chesham United in front of around 3,000 spectators at Clarence Park , the winning goal at Telford United in the final qualifying round of the F.A. Cup, City’s 100th league goal of the season and also in his only appearance for the Isthmian League Representative side. In addition to finishing second in the Isthmian League, Clarky also pocketed winners’ medals in the Herts Charity Cup and East Anglian Cup. (Photo: Allan Cockram gate-crashes Malcolm MacMillan’s presentation to Steve Clark ).
During the previous two seasons John Mitchell had made a number of high-profile signings but it was one of his unsung captures, Shaun Brett from fellow Hertfordshire club Ware, who, under the managership of Steve Ketteridge and then Allan Cockram , took the Player of the Year award for 1993-94. A non-stop workhorse Shaun was in the mould of Steve Oliver from the 1980s and, like Olly, was extremely popular both on and off the pitch. City enjoyed excellent form during the final three months of 1993 but a disastrous start to the New Year led to Ketteridge’s departure and Cockram’s appointment. A county standard tennis player Shaun finished the season with six goals from 46 games, one of which, against Enfield on 27th December, took City to within six points of the summit before the collapse. Shaun had a decent disciplinary record but gained the unwanted distinction during this season of being the first St Albans City player to be dismissed twice in the same campaign. (Photo: Shaun Brett with Club secretary Steve Trulock).
1994-95 Steve Clark
Steve Clark notched a respectable 26 goals from 38 Isthmian League matches but it was an unprecedented 30 in 27 cup ties that took him to a new club record of 56 by an individual in one season. Clarky surpassed Charlie Bunce’s 60-year-old record by knocking in four goals as City beat Fisher 93 6-0 in the final of the London Challenge Cup in the last match of the season, it was his second four-goal haul of the season. With six goals during the 11-1 F.A. Cup rout of Hillingdon Borough he became the second St Albans City player to score a double hat-trick in that competition. He scored a total of five hat-tricks during the season. Another individual record he claimed was that of scoring in 35 different matches during the one season, not to mention being the first player to twice be crowned the City Player of the Year. Playing his 188th game for the club in December, against Harrow Borough, he was dismissed for the first time since joining in 1991.
1995-96 Gareth Howells
After the attacking exploits of Steve Clark , supporters turned their gaze towards the other end of the pitch 12 months later as Gareth Howells became the fifth goalkeeper to win the Player of the Year trophy. Gareth’s 56 appearances is the highest by any custodian to have won the vote. Kevin Mudd (62) and Jon Daly (57) both made more appearances during the season but Gareth’s consistency in keeping 19 clean sheets behind an attack-minded side enhanced a reputation built during his first season at Clarence Park (1993-94). Gareth faced five penalties during the season; he saved one (during a 3-2 defeat at Bishop’s Stortford), one went wide and the remaining three were scored. On 14th February he had a brief opportunity to get on the scoresheet when he came off the bench to play outfield for the final 11 minutes of City’s 2-0 Eastern Floodlight Cup defeat at home to Chelmsford City. He was booked just once during the season, 30th September away to Walton & Hersham, for time wasting.
St Albans City boasted many fine midfielders during the 1990s and Jon Daly was one of that ilk who had a strong bond with the City faithful. JD, as he was referred to, appeared in 58 matches this season and in 57 and 56 in his other two years with the club. A more tenacious player it is difficult to imagine and the 1996-97 season also saw him turn goal scorer. His tally of 15 goals was only bettered by strikers Rob Haworth (17) and Steve Clark (40). He scored in three of the four qualifying rounds of the F.A. Cup but missed the 1st Round win at Wisbech Town through suspension. He made amends for that by scoring City’s second goal during a 2nd Round tie with Bristol City at Ashton Gate; unfortunately, the Robins scored nine times. JD scored against Grays Athletic as City rose to third in the Isthmian League Premier Division on 3rd April but the club ended the season in sixth place. Jon never knowingly pulled out of a challenge and picked up eight bookings during the season. (Picture: Jon Daly with City chairman Bernard Tominey and reporter Tim Hobbs).
City captain Kevin Mudd went into the season with 270 appearances under his belt and played his 300th game on 7th February when Dulwich Hamlet were defeated at Champion Hill. An imposing centre half, Muddy played in 44 games during the season and chipped in with six goals. His final goal of the season helped City to win some silverware as it was the opening strike in a 6-0 Herts Charity Cup final victory over Berkhamsted Town. Muddy looked to be leading the club towards a good season when a 2-0 win at Enfield – achieved in spite of Andy Polston and Rob Haworth being dismissed – at the end of September placed the side in with the leading pack. But that was as good as it got and following a defeat in the semi-final of League Cup to Sutton United manager Jimmy Neighbour resigned and was replaced by Garry Hill . Kevin was never handed a suspension during his career although he was booked seven times during this season. Ten clean sheets were kept in Muddy’s 44 games with a total of 68 goals conceded. (Photo: Kevin Mudd with club chairman Lee Harding).
1998-99 Ashley Vickers
A left-back and central defender whose popularity on the City terraces was probably not matched by opposition forwards. Ashley Vickers possessed a fearsome tackle and had the occasional brush with match officials. Ash made 50 appearances during the season, just behind Rob Haworth, Tom Meredith (53 each) and Steve Clark (52). Under manager Garry Hill , City challenged for the Isthmian League title but a poor run late in February and through March ended the bid. While City’s league fortunes floundered greater glory was beckoning in the F.A. Trophy. Suspension ruled Ash out of a 4th Round win at Dagenham & Redbridge but he was back to score the equalising goal as City came from behind to beat Boston United in the quarter-final. Sadly, the run ended one step from Wembley. Ash set a new club record of 13 bookings during the season and served two suspensions. He was tipped for international honours in a match played between England and Wales at Clarence Park in May but, ultimately, was not selected.
Gifted midfielder Lenny Piper was a highly significant figure in St Albans City’s fortunes during 1999-00. An attack-minded midfielder he scored in 19 different matches – a total of 21 goals – in his 50 games this season. After missing the opening four games of the campaign due to an ankle injury, Lenny was on the losing side only once in his opening 24 games. City ended the year in second place in the Isthmian League but parted company with manager Bob Dowie following a defeat at Farnborough at the start of the New Year. Kevin Mudd replaced Dowie but was unable to maintain the earlier momentum and City finished in sixth place. Lenny missed City’s 1st Round F.A. Cup defeat to Bamber Bridge after arriving late due to doing some Christmas shopping at Brent Cross. He did, though, score in City’s Herts Senior Cup final victory over Baldock Town. He polled twice as many votes second placed Steve Clark in the Player of the Year poll but had to make do with a substitute trophy after Ashley Vickers failed to return the proper one on time. (Photo: Lenny Piper receives a cup from Supporters Club chairman Ian Rogers).
Central defender Ryan Moran celebrated his first full season at Clarence Park by winning the Player of the Year award. He appeared in more games than any other player, 52, and popped up with four goals. After scoring against Stevenage Borough in the Herts Charity Cup in the first game of the season Ryan had to wait until 9th December for his second goal. It came during a 3-1 win over Maidenhead United that saw new City chalk up a remarkable 12th win in 13 games under new manager John Kendall. That run followed on from a poor start to the season and was followed by another dip in fortunes as the club failed to achieve a top half finish for the first time in nine years. City reached the 4th Round of the F.A. Trophy before bowing out at Chester City. Ryan had given an excellent performance at the Deva Stadium but was dismissed late in the game following a wild challenge. City kept 13 clean sheets in Ryan’s 52 games including four in succession. In addition to his one dismissal, Ryan was booked seven times. (Photo: Ryan Moran receives the trophy from Supporters Club chairman Ian Rogers).
Experienced goalkeeper Richard Wilmot was beaten three times in each of his first two games for St Albans City but bounced back to keep 15 clean sheets in his 47 games during 2001-02 and capped it by collecting the supporters Player of the Year trophy with 32% of the vote. Richard faced ten penalties during the season; eight were scored, one went wide while he saved Carl’s Adams’ spot kick to secure victory at Bedford Town, City’s first Isthmian League win of the season. Under new managers Gary Roberts and Steve Cook , City endured a troubled season with the players being unpaid for several weeks and the club suspended from the Isthmian League for five weeks. The suspension ended when the club was passed to new owners. Cup success was thin on the ground but against a background of all that went on it was to the credit of the management team and players that a top ten finish was secured. In a separate poll conducted by the St Albans Observer, Simon Martin came top after scoring 25 goals in 47 games.
With just ten goals from his 41 appearances during the 2002-03 season, Gary Crawshaw, looking at those bare facts, would not appear to be an obvious choice for the St Albans City Player of the Year award. Gary, though, was a player of some class and a hardworking attitude that left a mark during his one full season at Clarence Park . Simon Martin (22) and Miguel de Souza (17) comfortably scored more than Gary but his sheer presence won over the City supporters. City set off at a blistering pace, winning all of the opening seven Isthmian League games with Gary scoring in three of them. He scored in a 2nd Round Qualifying F.A. Cup win over Wingate & Finchley but a hamstring injury forced him out of the side for six weeks. Gary returned in time to play a part in City’s 4-1 1st Round defeat to Division Two side Stockport County. City topped the table until November but ultimately came to rest in fourth place. Gary was booked three times during the season.
The 2003-04 season was Miguel de Souza’s second at Clarence Park and was a poor campaign that packed an almighty sting in the tail. City entered four cup competitions and exited all but one at the first attempt. The league results were no better with relegation just being avoided as City finished 19th in a 24-team division. Miguel de Souza, 34 by the end of the season, made 42 appearances and scored seven times. He started the campaign in attack -scoring twice in the opening three games - but was switched to central defence early on. After fighting against relegation all season, City managed to squeeze into a play-off position for admission to the new Conference South. Migs’ most important goal came in the play-off final with our fourth goal in a 5-4 win over Bedford Town at the New Eyrie. During the campaign, chairman John Gibson named de Souza as one of a handful of players exempt from criticism for City’s poor performances. He was booked four times and dismissed once.
2004-05 Lee Clarke
Having finished the 2003-04 season as St Albans City’s top goal scorer with ten, Lee Clarke dominated the City attack during 2004-05 with 33 goals in his 48 appearances; Ben Walshe was the second highest scorer on six. The gap of 21 goals between the two highest scorers in league games was the largest for 70 years. Clarkey may have scored freely but City looked doomed to relegation until the appointment of Colin Lippiatt at the end of November. Safety was made certain with three games to spare when Lee scored a hat-trick during a 3-1 win over Havant & Waterlooville at Clarence Park . It was his second triple of the season; Bognor Regis Town had been on the receiving end of the first one back in February. Once safety was secured, Clarkey signed on for another year with the Saints. He made two appearances during the season for an FAXI and scored in a game against an Isthmian League Representative side. Lee became well known to Conference South referees during the season as he picked up 13 bookings. (Photo: Former St Albans City player and Lee Clarke’s manager at Peterborough United, Barry Fry , presents Lee with the trophy).
2005-06 Paul Bastock
After two years of fighting against relegation, St Albans City were a revelation during 2005-06 as Colin Lippiatt’s attack-minded side won promotion to the National League. Goalkeeper Paul Bastock , full-back Chris Seeby and leading goalscorer Lee Clarke , 26 goals, all missed just one of City’s 51 games during the season. Bazza kept 24 clean sheets during the season, giving him the best ratio of shut outs for any ‘keeper collecting the Player of the Year award to date. As City chased Weymouth for the Conference South title, Bazza kept eight clean sheets in the final ten games, this included a run of six consecutive matches without a goal conceded. He also set a new club record of 21 clean sheets in a league season. He also set the club record of going seven home games without letting a goal in. His final shut out of the season came in front of 3,175 spectators in the play-off final win over Histon. During the season he won three Player of the Month awards and was booked just once. (Photo: Paul Bastock is presented with the trophy by Andy Shoesmith).
2006-07 Gary Elphick
By being dismissed in St Albans City’s opening two National League games against Kidderminster Harriers and Cambridge United, central defender Gary Elphick went down an unusual path to winning the Player of the Year award. The sending off at Kidderminster was later rescinded and, to his credit, Gary was booked on just three other occasions during the season. City got off to a flying start to the season with four points from the first two games and ten from the opening seven. Unfortunately, things went downhill from there with relegation being the inevitable outcome. As the side struggled for goals, a hero on the terraces was found in the uncompromising style of Gary. He scored once in his 39 appearances, picked up two Player of the Month awards and, in addition to his supporters’ award, he was chosen by his team mates as their Player of the Year too. His solitary goal salvaged a draw at home to Southport while he celebrated his 50th game for the club with a 2-1 win at Stevenage Borough. (Photo: Gary Elphick receives the trophy from Adam of Andy Shoesmith's)
2007-08 Paul Bastock
At the back end of February 2008 Paul Bastock returned to begin a second spell at Clarence Park . Prior to his arrival City had collected just one point from six games and Steve Castle’s side sat at the foot of the Conference South table. In his first match back City won 3-0 at Weston-super-Mare. This was followed by a 4-1 win over Basingstoke Town, a 2-0 win at promotion chasing Lewes, a draw at Thurrock and a home win over Hayes & Yeading United. On the final Saturday of the month a Paul Hakim goal saw off Havant & Waterlooville and City were out of the relegation places. Safety was secured with a goalless draw at Maidenhead United and a game to spare. Bazza featured in just 11 games; he kept six clean sheets and conceded just six goals as opposed to 23 in the previous 11 games. He won the Player of the Year award having made the fewest appearances of any winner; no one argued. He was also selected as the Conference South Player of the Month for March. (Photo: Supporters Club chairman Ian Rogers presents Paul Bastock with his second St Albans City Player of the Year award).
2008-09 Ben Martin
Towering, 6’7”, central defender Ben Martin played in 46 of City’s 53 games during the 2008-09 season, just James Quilter and Jonathan Hunt appeared in more games. He lived up to the billing of being St Albans City captain by winning both the supporters’ and players’ vote for the two Player of the Year trophies. Ben also won two Player of the Month awards. On 17th January Ben became the second City player in league matches (four in all competitions) to score a hat-trick yet finish on the losing side. He did it against Bromley who ran out 5-4 winners at Clarence Park . Ben scored in four other games including one goal against his former club Chelmsford City. He made his 150th appearance for the club at Dartford in an F.A. Trophy replay. He also recorded, probably unwillingly, the highest number of bookings for the season, 12. City generally hung around in mid-table for most of the season although a run of six straight wins had Steve Castle’s side in fifth place for one week. (Photo: Ben Martin with St Albans City kitman John Fenely ).
2009-10 Peter Smith
Pacey left-back Peter Smith joined St Albans City in November 2010 from Poole Town and made an instant impact at Clarence Park in winning the Player of the Month award for three consecutive months, he was the first player to achieve this. Thirteen games were played during that time with just four ending in a win for St Albans. Following on from his early awards, he then collected both the supporters and players’ Player of the Year trophies at the end of the season. All of his achievements came on the back of playing in just 29 of City’s 45 matches during 2009-10. City kept just two clean sheets in 15 Conference South matches prior to his arrival, this improved to 12 in the remaining 27 league games following his debut. However, he did also play in City sides that went down 6-0 at Woking and 5-0 at Newport County. Peter was booked five times including four in his first nine games. A run of four wins lifted the side to eighth in mid-March but Steve Castle’s side came to rest in 13th position. (Photo: Peter Smith receives the supporters Player of the Year trophy from club stalwarts Geoff Brown and Alan Cobb).
2010-11 Adam Everitt
Adam Everitt repeated the feat of the two previous seasons by winning both the players’ and supporters’ Player of the Year awards. Adam ended the season in style winning the Player of the Month award for both February and March. Whether playing at left-back, central defence or midfield, Adam possessed a determined ‘they shall not pass’ mentality that brought him into conflict with match officials on several occasions. He was booked seven times this season but, more unusually for a double winning Player of the Year, was also sent off three times. Two of his dismissals were for straight red card offences and the other for two bookings. For the only time in the club’s history, City kicked off the season with five straight draws, the first win came in the ninth game. Due to financial mismanagement, the club was deducted ten points by the Football Conference and fined £10,000. Relegation duly followed. Adam appeared in 40 of City’s 50 games and scored four times, he left at the end of season having played 92 times for St Albans City.
The 2011-12 season was the first of Nick Jupp’s two with St Albans City. He missed the opening four games of the campaign due to being in China with the Great Britain Student World Cup squad. His Southern League debut came at Banbury United on 27th August, he marked it by being sent off as City went down 2-0. On the final day of the campaign champions Brackley Town hammered David Howell’s side 6-0. Nick’s performances in between those two games saw him crowned as both the supporters and players Player of the Year as, for the fourth year running, one player picked up both awards. He also collected two Player of the Month awards. He appeared in 42 of City’s 51 games, only David Ijaha (46) played in more games that season. Excluding Paul Bastock’s 11-game cameo in 2007-08, Nick’s tally of eight clean sheets is the lowest by any goalkeeper to be crowned Player of the Year. He conceded 76 goals during the season, of which ten came in City’s final two games. This was City’s first season in the Southern League and we ended it in eighth place. (Photo: Nick Jupp receives the Supporters Player of the Year trophy from Paul Martin).
2012-13 Richard Graham
Midfielder Richard Graham spent two seasons at Clarence Park and celebrated the first of the two by winning the supporters’ Player of the Year award. The genial Irishman played in 44 of City’s 52 games. Richard chipped in with three goals and was booked five times. He scored in 4-0 wins over Frome Town and Banbury United, the other against Hemel Hempstead Town in the League Cup. Three of his appearances were as a substitute while he also achieved the dubious honour of being our most substituted player during the season with him being withdrawn on 13 occasions. In the final week of the campaign he was a member of the first City side in 15 years to win the Herts Charity Cup. City started the season in good form but a poor run in November saw manager David Howell replaced by James Gray and Graham Golds. City finished in 11th place in the Southern League Premier Division. The players’ Player of the Year trophy went to striker for Greg Ngoyi.
Livewire left-back Lee Chappell appeared in 61 of St Albans City’s 65 matches during the 2013-14 season and celebrated his first year at Clarence Park by winning the supporters’ Player of the Year trophy. Fleet of foot and the possessor of a long throw, Lee scored two goals during the season; one away to Truro City and the other at Banbury United in April as City closed in on a play-off position. A play-off place was secured with a goalless draw at Frome Town, it was one of 19 clean sheets kept in all competitions. Lee played a significant part in City’s 3-1 win at Chesham United in the play-off final. He was fouled for the free kick from which John Frendo equalised and he later made a goalline clearance as Chesham pushed forward. Chaps’ also enjoyed a good run in the F.A. Cup with City progressing through four qualifying rounds before bowing out in the 1st Round to Mansfield Town. Lee was booked nine times during the season and served a one-match ban. The players’ Player of the Year award went to Ram Marwa .
Recruited from Histon, Joe Welch was the goalkeeper for St Albans City’s first season back in Conference South. He appeared in 44 of our 51 games with only Lee Chappell, 47, making more appearances. Joe kept 15 clean sheets during the season and completed the end of season double in winning the supporters’ and players’ Player of the Year awards. He was the eighth goalkeeper to win the award and his average of, roughly, one clean sheet every three games is consistent with most of the other goalkeeper award winners. He faced three penalties during the season; he saved one (Michael Cheek of Chelmsford City), one hit the post and went wide and the other was scored. It was a season of inconsistent form for the club but we finished with a flourish of four straight wins (three clean sheets) to claim 13th place. Cup success was limited with City getting through two rounds of the F.A. Cup but fell at the first hurdle in the F.A, Trophy. Joe was booked twice during the season. (Photo: Joe Welch receives the Player of the Year trophy from Karen Martin).
Striker Louie Theophanous arrived at Clarence Park with the record of a proven goalscorer and added another 22 in 51 games to his collection. Charlie MacDonald was the second highest scorer with eight goals from 17 games. Louie scored in 21 different games with his only double coming during a 3-0 home win over relegation-bound Basingstoke Town. City looked set to join Basingstoke in being relegated from National League (formerly Conference) South until a remarkable finale to the season saw the side win seven and draw two of the last ten games under new manager Ian Allinson. Louie scored in eight of those ten games. In the F.A. Cup City got through three qualifying rounds before losing in the 1st Round proper at Grimsby Town, Louie scored the City goal in a 5-1 defeat. He was part of the St Albans City side that lost 4-0 at Lowestoft Town in the F.A. Trophy on 28th November, the defeat led to the resignation of managers Jimmy Gray and Graham Golds. Louie was booked four times during the season. (Photo: Louie Theophanous with former manager Harry Wheeler).
Sometimes a left-back, sometimes central defender, Tom Bender won the supporters Player of the Year award at the end of his first full season at Clarence Park . Tom appeared in 39 of City’s 53 games during which time the side kept ten clean sheets. In Lee Chappell, Sam Merson and Tom, City possessed three players with a long throw and it was a Bender throw that led to a City goal at Margate. City moved into a play-off position at the end of January but a run of just one win and three draws in 15 games ended that dream. Tom was booked four times during the season and sent off twice; the first time was at Ebbsfleet for a foul and the second time somewhat harshly for handball at Hampton & Richmond Borough. Tom played in City’s F.A. Cup win at Dereham Town, suspension ruled him out of the next two rounds but he was back for the unforgettable 1st Round proper tie at home to Carlisle United. (Photo: Tom Bender receives the trophy from past Player of the Year Kevin Mudd).
City’s leading goal scorer for 2017-18 was Sam Merson with 24 in 47 appearances. With 18 appearances from the bench, he was City’s third most used substitute behind Charlie Walker (28) and Shaun Lucien (22). Sam was also substituted in 19 of his 29 starting appearances, meaning that he played in only 12 full games during the season. He scored a hat-trick when Gloucester City were beaten 4-1 at Evesham United but bettered that earlier in the season when scoring four times during a 7-2 romp at home to East Thurrock United. The win against Gloucester was St Albans’ only success in the final six games as we went from virtual certainties for a play-off place to finishing in a disappointing eighth position. He scored two penalties and missed one during the campaign. On 14th October Sam came on as substitute in City’s F.A. Cup defeat at home to Boreham Wood, it was the first time that the whole of a St Albans City game had been screened live on television. The players’ Player of the Year award went to goalkeeper Dean Snedker. (Photo: Paul Martin presented Sam Merson with his trophy).
Left-sided Ben Wyatt spent just the 2018-19 season at Clarence Park but made a big impression on the St Albans City faithful. Predominantly playing in midfield, although used at left-back too, Ben became the first player to win the Player of the Month award for the first three months of a season, while a fourth award came his way in February. The Player of the Year award followed along at the end of the season. Ben scored twice during the season, the second of which was our third goal in City’s first win at Twerton Park, home of Bath City. He gained representative honours on 9th April when turning out for a Football Association XI at Kenilworth Road, Luton Town, to mark 125 years of the Bedfordshire F.A. Later in the month he was a member of the City side that lost to Boreham Wood in the final of the Herts Senior Cup. Ben was booked seven times during the season. City ended the season in ninth position in National League South.
A new signing for St Albans City at the start of the 2019-20 season, Joe Iaciofano got off to a remarkable start with a goal in each of his first six away games for the club. He also scored three goals at Clarence Park during this time. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the season was terminated in March when City still had seven league games and a cup final play. Joe was the leading goalscorer at the time with 18 to his credit from 36 games. The joint-second highest scorers, James Kaloczi and Sam Merson, had scored just three times each. His 18 goals came in 17 games with his only double coming at Marsh Farm when Ian Allinson’s side fought back from behind three times to draw with Oxford City. Joe was the third striker in five years to win the supporters award, he also picked up two Player of the Month awards. Joe was booked six times during the campaign and signed for Havant & Waterlooville during the summer of 2020.
We apologise for not having been able to identify all photographers but, amongst others, we thank the following: Robert Walkley, Herts Advertiser, St Albans Observer, Ray Stanton, John Sherwood, Leigh Page.