Hometown hero Dean Keates was today crowned Walsall player of the season for the first time after driving the club to promotion back to League One.
The 28-year-old midfielder becomes the first Walsall-born player in 23 years to take the award after polling 30.8 per cent of the votes in the annual supporters' poll.
Keates beat off the challenge of young defender Scott Dann (23.9 per cent), goalkeeper Clayton Ince (21.7) and striker Martin Butler (13.3) to scoop the award.
He said: "It's a great honour. I grew up at the club watching great players like Jimmy Walker and Adi Viveash win the award so to have won it myself is something really special.
"I've never really been one for personal awards.
"I've always been about giving my best for the team and winning and losing as a team, but to win an award like this that is voted for by the fans just makes a great season even better for me.
"What makes it even more special is the strength of the competition right through the team."
Manager Richard Money also paid tribute to the performances of Keates, who is the first Walsall-born winner of the award since Fellows Park hero Kenny Mower won in 1983-84.
He said: "He has been tremendous for us this season and especially since Chrismas, when he has put in some massive performances for us."
By Steve Madeley.