As the curtain comes down on another Vanarama National League season, the annual awards have been announced.
Clubs voted on who was worthy of a place in the Team of the Season and who they thought shone brightest as the Player of the Season.
Dave Challinor set tongues wagging when he left newly-promoted Hartlepool United for Stockport County a league below back in November – but he knew exactly what he was doing.
The Hatters were ten points off then-leaders Boreham Wood and not many were talking about them as title challengers back then. They soon would be. Challinor would lose just one game in his first 23 league games at the helm – a run that saw them top of the pile in mid-August despite defeat to Grimsby Town.
Wrexham fancied knocking them off their perch. But ultimately County were uncatchable in a title race that went to the final day – a jam-packed Edgeley Park witnessing their side return to the EFL as champions after seeing off FC Halifax Town.
Challinor reckons their title win will prove to be the catalyst for Stockport’s revival. He said: “It’s a big step into the EFL but this is just the start of things to come because the owner’s ambition is unlimited.
“I wouldn’t have come here if I didn’t think we could be successful. The aim will be to be competitive in League Two and try and get out of that league as quick as possible.”
Paul Mullin’s move to Wrexham raised a few eyebrows. A promotion winner with Cambridge United in League Two in the previous season, the 27-year-old arrived at the Racecourse back in July set on another promotion.
Mullin notched 30 goals in all competitions this season – with 26 of those coming in the Vanarama National League as the Welsh side pushed Stockport County all the way at the top – finishing just ahead of Kabongo Tshimanga and Paddy Madden to land the top-scorer gong too.
While Wrexham may have fallen short of their Hollywood ending they wanted, you can bet the sequel will involve another promotion push as the ambitious Dragons look to go one better next season.
In the Team of the Season, Kabongo Tshimanga represents the Spireites.
Wrexham saw three of their side picked – including top goalscorer Paul Mullin. He leads the line with Paddy Madden and Kabongo Tshimanga.
Elsewhere, today’s play-off finalists Solihull Moors have two named while Notts County duo Jayden Richardson and Ruben Rodrigues are voted in.
There are also places for title-winning defender Ash Palmer and FC Halifax goalkeeper Sam Johnson.
Player of the Season – Paul Mullin (Wrexham)
Manager of the Season – Dave Challinor (Stockport County)
Vanarama National League Team of the Season
Sam Johnson – FC Halifax Town
Jayden Richardson – Notts County
Ash Palmer – Stockport County
Aaron Hayden – Wrexham
Harry Boyes – Solihull Moors
Joe Sbarra – Solihull Moors
Jordan Davies – Wrexham
Ruben Rodrigues – Notts County
Kabongo Tshimanga – Chesterfield
Paul Mullin – Wrexham
Paddy Madden – Stockport County