Nathan Ashmore picked up the Supporters’ Player of the Year trophy yesterday to follow in the steps of Lee Smelt, Paul Burnham, Lee Turner and Preston Edwards as goalkeeping recipients of the end-of-year award.
“I’m absolutely overwhelmed to have won fans player of the year,” Ashmore said as he succeeded last season’s winner, Kenny Clark. “Thank you for all your support this season!”
Daryl McMahon said of his goalkeeper, who has kept 16 clean sheets in all competitions this season: “He’s had a little over two years at this club and it’s not just been this season that he’s stood out. He’s been excellent throughout that time and he’s been money well spent (not that it was that big an outlay considering how good he has been). He was a big signing for us and he’s been and continues to be a fantastic goalkeeper. He’s brilliant in the changing room, great around the club and he’s become a cult hero at Ebbsfleet very quickly. He’s had a great season but it’s not done with yet and hopefully he can finish it just as well. There are many players I’m sure that were in the running and all of my squad has been hard-working, positive and given their all for the club this season and whatever happens now, they’ve more than done their bit.”
Also picking up some richly deserved recognition was the club’s finance manager Cheryl Wanless. She won the Bruce Sewell Award in memory of the Nineties skipper who passed away from Motor Neurone Disease.
Fleet Supporters Trust chairman John Burgess said, “Cheryl started at the club many years ago as a volunteer, later becoming a member of the staff. She has undertaken a variety of roles, all of which she has performed with great efficiency. She was with the club in the years when merely sustaining it and keeping it alive was very difficult. Cheryl knows the place inside out and enjoys a great relationship with staff and players alike. She epitomises all that is good about the Fleet.”
Jessica McQueen, who worked alongside Cheryl for many years before the KEH ownership, added: “When discussing football and clubs the usual focus is on players, trophies and managers coming or going. Rarely do the ”back office” staff get into the limelight but without them… well, frankly, clubs would simply die. Cheryl has worked for the club for many more years than even she will admit and originally started as a volunteer. Since becoming an employee she has literally held the office together and seen off more chairmen, managers and players than is good for anyone to witness.
“Cheryl has and is the backbone of all things office/finance and her knowledge of past and present issues involving the club is second to none. She has an amazing knack of predicting crowd numbers and therefore income which borders on the spooky; she can and has turned her hand to most things in the club: working on turnstiles in times of crisis, selling programmes, even preparing meals for players… oh, and did I mention actually fixing, mending, painting and cleaning many parts of the structure!
“She will defend the club’s reputation and has over the years built up strong relationships with suppliers and outside organisations as well as staff, players and everything Ebbsfleet. She is a lion heart and I have seen grown men quake in their boots, including Liam Daish! Cheryl is warm hearted, caring and most of all a good and loyal friend. She is Mrs Ebbsfleet… or Gravesend and Northfleet for the old school!”