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McPhail's thanks for support from fans; THE CHAMPIONSHIP CARDIFF CITY SUPPORTERS CLUB PRESENTATION EVENING.

Byline: Terry Phillips

STEPHEN McPhail said a heartfelt thanks to Bluebirds fans after being voted Clubman of the Year at the Cardiff City Supporters Club presentation evening on Saturday. McPhail has battled against cancer and the Sjogren's Syndrome condition to play a key role in City's battle for promotion to the Premier League.

He said: "The support I have had from City supporters has been sensational. It's almost been too much, if that was possible.

"It's overwhelming, while at the same time helping my family and I through difficult times. I have been in a situation where I needed support from people around me and Bluebirds fans have been a major part in that.

"It feels great to be back playing and every player here is bang up for the challenge we face. We could have done with Southampton winning against Middlesbrough, but that's behind us now and it's still in our hands.

"We go to Palace aiming to win, but the fact is that if we don't lose we are in the play-offs. All the pressure will be on us at Selhurst Park, but we can take that and we have a group of players who believe in each other.

"We are unbeaten in nine matches, beaten only once in 12, and are the form team in Championship football.

"We feel confident in ourselves and the biggest factor of all is that this is still in our hands. We know what is needed and will do all we can to ensure we make it a good day out for City supporters on Saturday."

McPhail admitted his Clubman of the Year award, presented by Cardiff City Supporters Trust, came as a surprise, saying: "I thought it would be Kevin McNaughton and said that to Liam Lawrence who was sitting with me. I thank everybody who voted for me and everybody who has supported me.

"I am enjoying my football so much. It is also a little frustrating because I am not where I want to be in terms of fitness, but the gaffer (Malky Mackay) knows where I am and what I can do.

"I want to be involved in everygameandplaymypart. If you had asked me eight weeks ago I would never have suggested I would be playing as much as I am and I don't want the season to end now.

"Our job is to make sure we are in the play-offs and then everything is up for grabs. There is still so much to play for and, with the help of magnificent City fans at Selhurst Park, we will give it everything we've got."

More than 300 fans attended the best annual Supporters Club awards night in a number of years. Manager Mackay was resplendent in his kilt, while players spread out around the tables and socialised with supporters throughout the evening.

Peter Whittingham was voted Player of the Year for a second time in three seasons and said: "This feels special because so many players have played consistently well over this season. I feel this is a great achievement for me and it means such a lot.

"All the lads enjoyed mixing with the fans, who made it a good evening. Hopefully, this can spur us on at Crystal Palace and into the play-offs this season."

Joe Mason scored City's goal in the 1-1 draw against Leeds and was then voted Supporters Club Young Player of the Season, saying: "What a great night. The atmosphere was so good and the singing so loud during the presentations I thought the match was still going on.

"Quite a few young players have done well this season and it's an honour to receive the award. I haven't experienced an awards night like this before and I want to come back time and again.

"I've loved this season and it helps that I'm happy living in Cardiff. I have committed to City for the next four years and I am so happy with that. I am from Plymouth and not many people seem to leave there, but I have settled in Cardiff."

Cardiff City Supporters Club awards * 1927 Club Goal of the Season (presented by Colin Price): Mark Hudson (v Derby County).

* CardiffCity.com internet mailing list Moment of the Season (presented by Tracey Marsh): Ben Turner (equalising goal v Liverpool in Carling Cup final).

* Cardiff City Supporters Trust Clubman of the Year (presented by Tim Hartley): Stephen McPhail. * Cardiff City Supporters Club Young Player of the Year (presented by Gwilym Rees and Clive Francis): Joe Mason.

Cardiff City Supporters Club Player of the Year (presented by Howard Morris and Vince Alm): Peter Whittingham.

Cardiff City v Leeds match report & reaction PLUS Nathan Blake's verdict: Monday Sport

CAPTION(S):

* CardiffCity.com internet mailing list Moment of the Season was won by Ben Turner for his last-gasp equaliser against Liverpool in the Carling Cup final. He is presented with his award by Tracey Marsh * Bluebirds boss Malky Mackay donned his kilt for the Cardiff City Supporters Club presentation evening * Cardiff City Supporters Club Player of the Year Peter Whittingham recieves his trophy from Howard Morris and Vince Alm PICTURES: PETER THOMAS * Cardiff City Supporters Club Young Player of the Year Joe Mason is presented with his trophy by Gwilym Rees and Clive Francis * Stephen McPhail is presented with the Cardiff City Supporters Trust Clubman of the Year trophy by Tim Hartley
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Apr 23, 2012
Words:899
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