Southend United’s Head Coach, Kevin Maher, spoke of the “special bond” between the club’s supporters, players and staff as the Shrimpers Trust held its 2023 End of Season Awards in the Shrimpers Bar at Roots Hall on Monday 24th April.

Maher referenced the link not just in relation to a £40,000 loan made by the Trust to the Football Club to help support staff wages in November, but when speaking of the visible connection between fans and players following Cav Miley’s superb solo goal to win the National League fixture at Torquay United in February.

In fact, the noise emanating from the club’s supporters was audible on the clips for all of the Goal of Season nominees, which also included Jack Bridge’s strike against Maidstone United, Dan Mooney’s finish at the end of a sublime team move against Oldham Athletic, Chris Wreh’s effort at Solihull Moors and Harry Cardwell’s goal against Chesterfield. Shaun Hobson’s effort against Scunthorpe United came too late for the vote, but he was named April Player of the Month.

It was Miley’s virtuoso goal at Plainmoor that claimed the Martin Cranmer Goal of the Season Award, named in memory of the lifelong fan and founder member of the Southend United Independent Supporters Club who sadly passed away in 2010 aged just 40. The Award was presented by Zoe Cranmer.

And the Jersey-born midfielder – who has started every match for the Shrimpers this season – made it a double by claiming the Shrimpers Trust Player of the Year Award ahead of runner-up Jack Bridge, third-placed Gus Scott-Morriss and other nominees Collin Andeng-Ndi, Ollie Kensdale and Hobson.

Local lad Bridge did not go unrewarded for his fine season in the left wing-back berth as he scooped the Junior Blues Player of the Year award, voted for by supporters under the age of 16. He received his prize from Junior Blues member Teddy Tremain.

There was also recognition for forward Henry Sandat, who is enjoying a breakthrough season in terms of first-team involvement but who was acknowledged by his youth team colleagues by lifting the Tom Grace Memorial Shield.

Tom was an avid Southend United supporter and a junior member of the Trust who sadly passed away at the age of 15 in July 2007, and Sandat received the award for the Youth Team Player of the Year from Tom’s father, Len. Jacob Bland and Max Fiddes were the runners-up.

As well as sponsoring the U18s, the Trust have also helped supply training wear for the club’s ladies team, and the squad were present with the Essex FA Women’s Trophy they won in April. The Shrimpers Trust Southend United Ladies Player of the Year was Georgia Wilson, with Katie Burbridge and Abbie Rex named as runners-up.

The night also gave the Trust the opportunity to recognise four top travellers who have completed all 24 away first-team fixtures on the Trust coaches. Stephen Burt, Lesley Hicks, Lesley Lawrence and Ian Wilkins each received a framed print from Kevin Maher, as did leading junior traveller, Evie-May Oliver.

The event, which was hosted by former Blues forward David Crown, then gave supporters the opportunity to mingle and obtain autographs from the three squads. We thank Kevin Maher, Danny Heath and Lewis Dodds for bringing the players to the evening and wish them all a successful end to the 2022/23 season.