06 May 2017 : Triple Player of the Year Aaron Morris targets title success next season with Runcorn Linnets
YOUNG defender Aaron Morris was already looking ahead last night when dominating Runcorn Linnets end-of-season presentations.
After collecting three premier trophies, including the Supporters Club and Players' Player of the Year awards, the 21-year-old centre back's thoughts were clearly directed as much towards next season as the one just ended.
"For the first year, I couldn't have wished for anything better than a team like this," said Aaron, an ever present after arriving last from fellow Hallmark Security League club, St Helens Town.
"The lads, the fans, Ello and Crossy (manager Michael Ellison and assistant Matt Cross) have made me feel so welcome.
"Nothing could make me feel better - apart from winning it next season. So let's go and do it!"
There were repeated standing ovations at The Heath Business and Technical Park for Aaron, one of a number of first-team players to have already committed to the Linnets for 2017-18.
Aaron also won the Young Linnets Player of the Year accolade on the vote of the club's junior fans and he wasn't the only member of the Linnets young brigade to win deserved recognition.
Teenage left back Danny McKenna, named The Travel Club's Away Player of the Year, thanked fans for their unwavering, unstinting support.
Team boss, Michael Ellison said: "To see lads like Aaron and Danny grow not only as players, but also as people, has been really pleasing for me as a manager."
Also paying tribute to his full squad, but particularly those who stayed loyal to the club last pre-season, Ello added: "I ask for patience and trust and it will come.
"I asked for it last season and I ask for it again."
Club captain Kyle Hamid received the Home Player of the Season which is based on player of the match awards from opposition clubs.
"I'd like to thank the club, the fans and all the volunteers – everyone at the club who does absolutely anything to help. We really appreciate it," said Kyle.
Vice-captain, Mark Houghton received the President's Trophy as leading goal scorer.
"It's been a pleasure," said Houghto. "I've been here now for four or so years and I love the club.
"Keep sticking with us, hopefully next year, we can bring the cup home."
Club president, Alan Jones, made reference to the major team rebuilding in early season which ultimately left Linnets with too much to do for the Premier Division championship in 2016-17 - despite a terrific effort in the second half to the campaign.
He said: "We started from nothing and ended the season with nothing. But we had the best team in the league without a doubt."
Chairman Mark Buckley, master of ceremonies for the awards, thanked all the companies and organisations who support the club but especially main sponsors Millbank Holdings, programme sponsors Apec Taxis, kit suppliers Macron Store Cheshire and back-of-shirt sponsors, Grangeside of Runcorn.
Mark also mentioned chef manager, Anthony Stonebanks and staff at The Heath for their superb hospitality and Runcorn Amateur Boxing Club for use of their facilities for training.
The chairman likewise paid tribute to Rob Johnston, retiring Trust Board member for ground maintenance, and volunteer groundsman, Dave Rose for ensuring there were no home first-team postponements at The Millbank Linnets Stadium.
"It is our intention now to hit the ground running," added Mark. "We believe in Ello and Crossy and all of the lads.
"From Christmas, we have had without a shadow of a doubt the best team in that division.
"This season, we have been using the hash tag, '#A New Chapter'. It is not a new chapter any longer, it's for real.
"Our new hashtag was chosen by James (Eastup from the club's media team) and typifies how we will succeed "#Together".
"We have all got to pull together and put the club in the division above.
"We know we are a great club. We've got to succeed and we will succeed."
The full list of award winners was as follows:
Noel Bell Trophy (Lifetime Achievement): Rob Johnston.
Jimmy Lightfoot Trophy (Supporters Club Player of the Year):Aaron Morris.
Vice-Presidents' Award: Derek Greenwood, Lynn Johnston, Rob Johnston.
George Worrall Trophy (Players' Player): Aaron Morris.
Phil Tyler Trophy (Young Linnets Player of the Year): Aaron Morris.
Ray Shingler Trophy (Home Player of the Season): Kyle Hamid.
W Philcock Shield (Travel Club Away Player of the Season): Danny McKenna.
President's Trophy (Leading goalscorer): Mark Houghton (23).
The Bettley Trophy (Goal of the Season): Kristian Holt (v 1874 Northwich, away).
Special Achievement Awards: Michael Ellison and Matt Cross (this award instigated and presented by stalwart fans Ian Knowles and Bill Thompson); Adam Wade (on retirement after 149 first team appearances); Megan Pickering (100 goals in 84 career appearances for Runcorn Linnets Ladies); John Greenhalgh (on retirement as Travel Club co-ordinator); Antony Hickey, Michael Simpson (both 100 first team appearances).
Our thanks to Anthony's Travel for sponsoring the event and every one who attended.
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