2012-13: Tom Vickers
Tom is most probably our youngest ever winner of the award, aged only 18. He signed after impressing in a pre-season friendly with Billericay Town, where he was in fact playing for ‘Ricay, and was a member of the Essex County side which won the Under 18 Inter County Trophy. He made his debut three games into the 2012-13 season, and became an instant fans’ favourite with his old school approach to defending. The cliché of an old head on young shoulders is often over-used in football, but in Tom’s case, it was most certainly true. He scored his first goal for the club in the 1-0 win over Redbridge, and was unfortunate to not add more that season, hitting the cross-bar a number of times.
2011-12: Manny Sackey
Manny made his Stags debut way back on the 15th of December 2007, when Mike Small and Louis Affor were managers. He didn’t hang around for too long that season, only making 12 appearances. He returned at the tail end of the 2010-11 season, helping the club fight off relegation. Since then, he has been an ever-present in the Forest side. In the 2011-12 season, he was the top appearance maker, starting 45 times. He continued that form into the 2012-13 season, where he made 39 starts, bringing his total appearances over the 100 mark.
2010-11: Jason Willis
Jason played 34 times for the club during the 2010-11 season, brining his grand total of appearances to well over 100, at 114. Forest’s low points tally this season would have been even lower had it not been for Willis who pulled of amazing saves in man-of-the-match performances, time after time. Sadly for Forest, Willis was offered the number 1 shirt at Heybridge Swifts for the 2011-12 season, and he duely accepted.
2008-9: Spencer Harrison
Spencer came to the club mid-way through the 2008-9 season, along with a number of other players from Thurrock Reserves. Despite being only 19 at the time, Spencer made the step up to the level, and was made first team captain. During his first season, he made 24 appearances, scoring twice, his first coming in an important 4-1 win over Hillingdon Borough. Spencer stayed at the club for the 2009-10 season, and despite being dogged by injuries, still made 23 appearances, scoring the solitary goal.
2007-8: Gazmend Dauti
2006-7: Ryan Oliva
2005-6: Jermain Hughes
Since signing for the first time for the club when they were still Leyton Pennant in the 2000-01 season, ‘Jerky’ has made almost 100 appearances, with his best season coming in 2001-2 when he scored 20 times in 26 starts, helping the club to finish 6th in the table. Hughes was also instrumental in helping the club gain their only piece of silverware in recent history. His was voted player of the round after hitting a hatrick in the Essex Senior Cup (Semi) Final in the 3-0 win over Heybridge Swifts.
2004-5: Simon Tickner
2003-4: Chris Cashman
2002-3: Ian Barnes