By Brian Bennett | Photo: Ian Brodie

Wilson Kneeshaw struck at the double at Ashington FC’s presentation night on Saturday as he won the Management team’s Player of the Year and Goal of the season awards.

And afterwards the 29 year old striker paid tribute and couldn’t thank the management team of Ian Skinner, Andy Coyles and Ritchie Hill enough for giving him a ‘new lease of life’ at Woodhorn Lane.

Glancing back Kneeshaw said: “I was with Newcastle Independent – a club in the Northern Alliance League. I was with my friends who run – as well as play for – the club and I was turning out on a Saturday just to pass time to be honest. If they needed a player, I would help them out whenever I could other than that I had dropped out of football because I didn’t really want to play. However, Ashington manager Ian Skinner, his assistant Andy Coyles and coach Ritchie Hill gave me a new lease of life and I’ve got to give them all the credit for bringing me to the club and giving me an opportunity. I came to Woodhorn Lane late pre season and even had words with the boss after a few games at the start where I didn’t really play too well. It would probably have been easier for me to step away from it all as I was commuting three times a week from Darlington which is an hour and a half travel. However, I’m thankful to the trio that they’ve repaid me with the love that obviously I feel like I’ve given them to be honest. It’s just been pure respect to them this season from me and in the dressing room we have become such a close knit group. As I’ve grown into the club, the fans and the background staff have just made it such a welcoming place for me and I just feel so grateful. It’s been amazing and to get the management team’s Player of the Year is unbelievable.”

Of the superlative strike against Belper Town which clinched him the Goal of the season award, Kneeshaw chuckled: “It wasn’t captured on the veo! I remember we played really well that game and the score line could have been greater but I was just happy that I got the goal. I don’t get too stressed about awards – although it’s a pleasure that I’ve picked up two – and I’m a bit taken aback by it all to be honest. It’s not about me – it’s about the management team, the background staff and the fans and I just want to repay the staff for the loyalty they have given me.”

He went on: “I would love us be challenging and to win promotion and I want this team to really, really fight for it because I know that if we do that, the fans will fight and the background staff will fight even more than they are already doing – so next season is the push.”