National League sponsors Vanarama have named their manager and player of the season in National League South as well as a trio of joint-golden boot winners!
Wealdstone’s championship-winning boss Dean Brennan collected the managerial accolade when the season’s honours were handed out by the sponsors on Monday.
Bath City’s Tom Smith was recognised as the division’s top performer over the 2019/20 campaign despite his side missing out in the play-offs and missing out on contesting next weekend’s promotion final.
The race for the golden boot was tight throughout the season with three players forced to share the accolade – Dartford’s Darren McQueen, Havant & Waterlooville’s Jonah Ayunga and St Albans City’s Joe Iaciofano.
End-Of-Season Awards ?
Vanarama National League South
? Manager of the Year: Dean Brennan
? Player of the Year: Tom Smith
? Golden Boot: Jonah Ayunga, Darren McQueen and Joe Iaciofano
— The National League (@TheVanaramaNL) July 27, 2020
Vanarama National League South Manager of the Year – Dean Brennan, Wealdstone
Pictured with his number two Stuart Maynard at the club’s promotion party, Brennan didn’t imagine he would getting his hands on the championship trophy, let alone finding out his team were winners on his 40th birthday whilst driving on the A1 in the middle the week.
But Dean Brennan knows all about surprises, and he masterminded a big one. Thankfully he was at home and not hands-free when he found out another accolade was coming his way – the year’s top boss accolade. The Stones won 22 of their 33 matches, amassing 70 points.
They are back in the top level of Non-League football for the first time since 1988. Former players Vinnie Jones and Stuart Pearce even sent their congratulations. So did the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson writing to his local club as the MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip, much to Dean’s delight.
Vanarama National League South Player of the Year – Tom Smith, Bath City
You can catch all of Tom’s goals in our 2019/20 goal compilation on Youtube! ?
— Bath City FC (@BathCity_FC) July 27, 2020
Bath City’s Tom Smith has an edge about him in front of goal, and appears to be just as sharp off the pitch as well. Not only does the free-scoring attacking midfielder put in some hard work in the black and white stripes.
But Smith has been doing it all while studying for a Business Management degree through the Open University. Not only that, but he works with sports scientist John Watson and during lockdown he cycled ‘virtual’ Everest while raising money for mental health charity Mind UK.
Despite Bath missing out on promotion via the play-offs, the 22-year-old has something to show for his fantastic season. Romans manager Jerry Gill says he has “got his head screwed on” – and he’s gone himself some player!
Vanarama National League South Top Goalscorers:
Darren McQueen, Dartford
Jonah Ayunga, Havant & Waterlooville
Joe Iaciofano, St Albans City
The race for the Golden Boot was one you just couldn’t take your eyes off this year. So fierce was it that three players eventually shared the crown for the first time.
Long-term scoring chart leader Jonah Ayunga had a year to remember with Havant & Waterlooville, notching 17 as the Hawks finished second. Darren McQueen was electric for Dartford under Steve King – he had the same haul. Despite a season of struggle at St Albans City, striker Joe Iaciofano still plundered 17.
And the top scorer trophy nearly had to be cut up into quarters with Elliott Romain just one behind after doing well for both with Eastbourne and Dartford!
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Images courtesy of The Non-League Paper, Adam Williams & @BathCity_FC/Twitter