Celebration of Excellence – 2015

Celebration of Excellence – 2015

By on Oct 5, 2015 in News | 0 comments

Two of New Zealand football’s greatest players are to be honoured by their peers at a celebratory dinner in Auckland next month.

The Friends of Football group’s third annual Celebration of Excellence dinner will feature tributes to Steve Sumner and Brian Turner, both of whom have played more than 100 times for the All Whites.

The pair, team mates at the 1982 World Cup Finals in Spain, will receive the Friends of Football Medal of Excellence in recognition of their contributions to the sport.

Past winners of the medal have been former All Whites coach John Adshead (2013) and long-serving international Ivan Vicelich (2014).

The dinner will be held on Friday November 6 at the Auckland Grammar Old Boys’ Pavilion, Epsom, and will also feature:

  • The annual NZ Football Media Association awards for football writers, broadcasters and photographers.
  • The relaunch of the New Zealand Footballer of the Year trophy, first awarded in 1970 and won by some of the sport’s greatest players.
  • Guest speakers – and a few surprises.

Last year’s dinner, at the same venue, was a sell-out affair with guest appearances from All Whites coach Anthony Hudson, NZ Football chief executive Andy Martin and a tribute to Vicelich.

Friends of Football chair John Morris said the success of previous dinners had demonstrated the desire by football enthusiasts to get together to enjoy football off the pitch as well as on the field.

“It’s also a chance for the sport to say ‘thank you’ to people like Steve Sumner and Brian Turner who have given so much to the game,” he said.

Sumner rates as one of the best captains of his country, leading New Zealand to the 1982 World Cup Finals as a goalscoring midfielder who still holds the record for the most goals in an international match (six) for the All Whites.

Turner represented New Zealand in five World Cup campaigns (three as a player and twice as a member of the coaching/management staff).

Both are past winners of the NZ Footballer of the Year Award with Turner a three-time recipient.

Morris said guests will also enjoy seeing the Footballer of the Year trophy awarded as many previous winners are expected to be at the dinner.

Tickets are $99 each, reduced to $84 for paid-up members of Friends of Football, or tables of eight can be booked for $680. They can be purchased from Friends of Football treasurer Barbara Cox by emailing her at b_cox@xtra.co.nz.

Photos: Dave Barker.

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