The ninth annual End of Season Dinner capped off what has been a momentous campaign in fine style at the Telford International Centre on Wednesday evening.
Over 700 people packed into the venue and the evening got underway with a speech from CEO Jez Moxey who gave an award to Steven Power – the supporter who wrote an uplifting 'This is Our Love' poem inspired by the famous Toaster banner which went up on the North Bank at the start of the season.
Click here for End of Season Awards videos, speeches and presentations from the night.
Despite the celebratory mood of the night, Jez took time out in his speech to remember four of Wolves’ greats who have passed away in the last year – Dave Wagstaffe, Barry Stobart, Peter Broadbent and Bert Williams – his words drawing warm applause from the audience.
Rupert Bates, a director of What House?, the club sponsors, spoke of his delight at the union his company has formed with Wolves. He said: “I’d personally like to thank every member of the ‘Wolves Family’, every supporter, home and away, that has made such a massive contribution to an unforgettable season and made it an absolute pleasure to be the main sponsor of this great club.”
Following the meal Sky Sports reporter Jim White took over in centre stage and he invited Chairman Steve Morgan up to say a few words.
Steve began his speech by saying: “I said this time last year in a written statement that we have to go into League One with humility and treat every game like a Cup Final and be respectful of every single team we play - and I think we’ve done that and the results prove it.”
Of last season’s disappointment he added: ““When things get tough, you know that the tough get going and I think at the end of last season we did a lot of self-examination. We sat down with Kevin Thelwell and myself, supported by the board and management teams and decided we needed to go in a different way.
“That resulted in the appointment of Ken. Ken, quite rightly, wanted to start afresh and wanted to purge the past, if you like. And we totally supported that. We got right behind what they wanted to do.
“They were brave. They brought in young players from the Academy, they brought in new players to the club, all of whom have been a fantastic success.
“The rest is history. It was a record season. What a season! And it is about team-work”.
Next up on stage, to loud cheering and a standing ovation, was Kenny Jackett. The Head Coach said: “During the course of the season, we consistently and progressively improved and that’s fantastic to see at a football club. And our football has improved and our results have improved and that has put us where we are now with all of us celebrating what has been a fantastic season.
“The whole club has a Premier League stamp about it and this is something that I want to cultivate and take further. Our aim, from day one, will be to get promoted next year. We have to respect the Championship and respect every single game.
“But we have nothing to fear and what we have to do next year is build, as a group, and be even better. The standard of the players, particularly in the second part of the season has been fantastic and they deserve the many plaudits they have received. But next year we all start on zero and we have to earn it again.
“We should gain confidence from this season and build on that. There is no way we will underestimate the calibre of the opposition but, quite rightly, we shouldn’t be frightened either. We look forward to a positive season with a similar outcome this time next year.”
Following Kenny’s speech came the awards section of the evening and first up was the Academy Player of the Year (sponsored by Bob Laslett). The nominees were Ben O’Hanlon, Declan Weeks and Ibrahim Keita with Declan taking the award.
The Young Professional of the Year (sponsored by John Bowater and John Gough) went to Jack Price who edged out team-mates Lee Evans and Ethan Ebanks-Landell.
The Fan Of the Season (sponsored by the Express and Star) went to the inspirational Joseph Thompson whilst the Top Goalscorer (sponsored by Wolves Mastercard) went to Bakary Sako.
The Players Player of the Year (sponsored by Venue Catering Partner) involved Carl Ikeme, Kevin McDonald and Richard Stearman with Kevin taking the honours and the Champagne Moment (sponsored by Reconomy) was the winning of the League One title.
There were some spectacular efforts in the 12 entries for Goal of the Season (sponsored by the Money Shop). And the one voted as the best by the supporters was Michael Jacobs’ strike to put Wolves three up at Brentford.
The final award of Player of the Season (sponsored by WhatHouse?) was again decided by the fans and the nominees were Carl Ikeme Danny Batth and Kevin McDonald and the runaway winner, for his second award of the evening was Kevin.
Given the applause he received, it was obviously a popular choice and it rounded off what had been an excellent evening in Telford.