More than 150 guests enjoyed the 16th annual dinner of the Notts County Former Players’ Association when Iain McCulloch and Don Masson were popular winners of two awards presented on the night. Both were accompanied by friends and family.
Warm tributes to Iain were paid by Don and by David Hunt, who played at Villa Park on the opening day of the 1981-82 campaign, the club’s first in the old First Division for 55 years.
Villa were the champions from the previous season but a 24th minute headed goal by McCulloch upset the odds and gave Notts a memorable victory.
In a lavish assessment of McCulloch’s ability Don, the former Scottish international, compared him with the best he had ever played with, including Kenny Dalglish.
Receiving the Achievement Award from last year’s winner, Tommy Johnson, Iain recalled his move from Kilmarnock to Notts in 1981 and paid tribute to manager Jimmy Sirrel for helping each year to improve his game before it was prematurely ended in an accidental collision with Manchester United goalkeeper Gary Bailey towards the end of the 1973-74 season.
Don Masson had earlier received the Harold Mace Memorial Trophy, presented by his son, Paul, in memory of his late father, a staunch Notts supporter. Paul said the two players who gave his father most pleasure were Tommy Lawton and Don.
The Association committee was pleased to welcome a host of former players, not least centre forward Jack Lane, now 82, who was on Notts’ books between 1956 and 1959, and Paddy McGovern who once again flew from Scotland in order to be present. Others among the guests included Ray and Aileen Trew.
Five former players, including Ronnie Fenton and Tony Hateley, who died in the past year, were remembered in a moment’s silence.
After the formalities the guests were thoroughly entertained by comedian Jamie Sutherland after which it was announced that Ian Richardson will be the the recipients of the Achievement Award at next May’s dinner.