PHOTOS: Keeper Grant cleans up at fans’ player of the year awards
Keeper Lee Grant beat off stiff opposition from 28-goal top-scorer Charlie Austin to be crowned Burnley fans’ player of the year.
The 30-year-old took four supporters’ clubs’ awards to Austin’s three at the presentation in the James Hargreaves Suite at Turf Moor on Tuesday night, to earn the overall award.
And Grant was delighted to get the fans’ seal of approval: “It’s very special. I wasn’t expecting it at all to be honest with you.
“Probably along with the rest of the lads you’re just presuming Charlie, and his goals, he’s going to clean up, so I’m obviously delighted.
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“I’ve worked hard and consistency is probably the buzz word.
“I was pleased with how things went this year.”
He kept 11 clean sheets and made two penalty saves, as well as a number of crucial stops.
Burnley have seen his best form this term, after two inconsistent campaigns, and he agrees it has been his most impressive season with the club: “Without a doubt. I think I’ve got better year on year, and this year’s no different.
“I’ve felt a lot more settled this year away from the club - we’re a bit further north than what we’re used to - and I’ve just settled into the club a bit better.
“It would be difficult to put my finger on it precisely but I’ve certainly worked very hard this year.
“I feel great about how the year’s gone.
“I’ve had Bill (goalkeeping coach Mercer) for six years now. We’ve had some very good times.
“It’s just hard work really. There’s nothing else I’ve done dramatically differently. I’ve not changed my pre-match meal or anything like that!”
Meanwhile, 40 years to the week after Burnley won the Second Division title and promotion back to the top flight with a 1-1 draw at Preston North End, the skipper of that side, Martin Dobson, was also honoured on Tuesday night.
He received a Special Achievement Award, presented by former teammate Mick Docherty - with Frank Casper and Colin Waldron also in attendance from the team of ‘73.
And the Clarets legend said: “It’s been a love affair for me with Burnley Football Club.
“You have to be lucky to be successful, but we had Bob Lord as chairman, Harry Potts as manager and Jimmy Adamson as coach, and the combination of Potts and Adamsoncouldn’t be beaten.
“Harry’s standards were very high, and he couldn’t have been more enthusiastic.
“And Jimmy was the ultimate coach - he taught us how to win football matches.
“We beat the top sides regularly because of the hard work we put in each and every day.
“It was a very special team.
“We knew how important it was when you pulled on the Claret and Blue shirt - you were playing for the town and the community.
“It’s a big privilege to have captained this football club.”
The awards winners in full were:
London Clarets - Player of the Year: Charlie Austin; Rossendale Clarets - Player of the Year: Ross Wallace; North Manchester Clarets - Player of the Year: Lee Grant; Central Lancs Clarets - Player of the Year: Lee Grant; Clarets Trust - Player of the Year: Charlie Austin; Burnley Football Supporters’ Club - Player of the Year: Charlie Austin; Goal of the Season: Charlie Austin v Charlton away; Away Player of the Year: Dean Marney; Barrowford Clarets - Player of the Year: Lee Grant; Accrington Clarets - Player of the Year: Lee Grant; Goal of the Season: Charlie Austin v Charlton away; Earby Clarets - Player of the Year: Jason Shackell; Sheffield Clarets - Moment of the Season: Sam Vokes’ equaliser v Blackburn; Special Achievement Awards - Martin Dobson; Kieran Trippier (selection in PFA team); Overall Player of the Year - Lee Grant.