Ross Gardner has been acknowledged for almost 60 years of dedication to football with St George Football Association’s highest honour.
Gardner was presented with the SGFA gold medal at the association’s gala evening held at The Kyle Bay on Georges River last Friday night.
Gardner began his football journey in 1958 when, at the age of six, he made his debut as a player in San Souci FC’s inaugural season, playing in an under-10s team.
Since then he has been involved in the game as a player, committee member and administrator, with his playing career including stints at Sans Souci, Dolls Point and St George Budapest.
As a volunteer and administrator Gardner held the positions of delegate, auditor, secretary and president of St George Football Association. He was a delegate to numerous Football NSW committees as well as coaching various juniors at grass roots and representative level.
In 2013 Gardner was awarded the Charles Valentine Medal by Football NSW for his contribution to the game and he has been recognised with life membership at Sans Souci, Dolls Point and SGFA.
For more than 15 years and until just recently, Gardner was also president of St George Football Club.
In accepting the award, Gardner said he was “very appreciative.”
“My journey through football has been thoroughly enjoyable and the people I’ve met even more so,” he said.
“The association is a very strong part of me, as it was for my father before me who was also a president of the association. So our association with football goes back well before my time and I started in 1958.
“I love the game as I think everyone in this room does. I want to see what’s best for the game and I want to see the game go forward. I appreciate the honour, and it is an honour, to have this bestowed upon me.”
The evening included a Q&A with a panel including former Socceroos Craig Foster, Aytek Genc, Scott Ollerenshaw and Sydney FC’s Josh Brilliante.
The event also paid homage to Les Murray and Mike Cockerill, with Foster paying tribute to two “football warriors” who had strong links to the St George area.
2017 St George Football Association Award Winners
Referee of the Year – Murray Wilson
St George & Sutherland Shire Leader Golden Boot – Premier League Men – Michael Amed, Premier Womens League – Karen Saavedra
Player of the Year – Premier League Men – Zekarias Sampson, Premier Womens League – Sotiria Psakis
Junior Competition Fair Play Award – Ramsgate RSL & Oatley FC
Stan Moses Shield – Hurstville City Minotaurs over-45s
A.S Tanner Shield – Arncliffe Aurora
W.R Dobson Trophy – Hurstville City Minotaurs
2017 Club Championship Shield – Arncliffe Aurora
Club Person of the Year
(Arncliffe Aurora) Talal Arbid, (Kogarah Waratah) Steve Dafnakis, (ASOW) Con Fiamegos, (Lugarno FC) Atef Elassi, (Banksia Tigers) Hassan Taoube, (Oatley RSL) Natalie Jones, (Bexley North) Peter Vourakis, (Peakhurst United) Sharon Whyte, (Carlton Rovers) Leanne Macey, (Penshurst West) Alan Chen, (Carss Park) Kylie Pike, (Ramsgate RSL) Michael Flevaris, (Connells Point Rovers) Trevor Cohen, (Rockdale City Raiders) Stephen Milgate, (Dolls Point) Bushy Pillay, (Rockdale City Suns) Vicki Phillips, (Forest Rangers) Gina Travas, (Sans Souci FC) Chelsea Robertson, (Glory FC) Jenni Young, (Scots FC) Nick Kojdovksi, (Hurstville City Minotaurs) Angelo Srbinovski, (St George Warriors) Penny Hancock, (Hurstville ZFC) Jack Bulic, (Referee Volunteer) Warwick Hayes.