Former Bangor winger Jordan Forsythe has described winning the BT Sports Championship Player of the Year award as one of the best nights of his life.
Forysthe scored 25 goals for Bangor, helping them to second in the division, before agreeing to sign for Premiership champions Crusaders.
On Monday night, Forsythe lifted the Championship Player of the Year award at the Northern Ireland Football Writers' Association's annual dinner at the Ramada. Forsythe defeated stiff opposition in the form of Harland & Wolff Welders striker Michael McLellan and Carrick Rangers midfielder Conor McCloskey.
Forsythe said: “I was shocked when my name was read out. Michael scored 48 goals this season and Conor had won the treble, so I thought one of those two would win it. It was such a great honour for me to beat two fantastic players such as Conor and Michael.
“In some ways it was a disappointing season, because we didn't actually win anything, but this eases the pain. To be recognised at such a big event made all the hard work worth while. It was one of the best nights of my life.”
Forsythe helped Bangor to the promotion/relegation play-off, only to miss both games through suspension. The Seasiders lost to Warrenpoint Town in a dramatic penalty shoot-out, after both legs finished 2-0 to the home side.
“It was tough to watch the two play-offs from the sidelines. In the first leg, we were brilliant. The boys could have won by four or five goals, it was a fantastic performance. Then in the second leg, they destroyed us. I think they had 24 shots on goal, so we did well to take it to penalties.
“To be honest, we didn't lose it at Warrenpoint on Friday night, we lost it during the season. There was a 2-1 defeat to the PSNI that really hurt us and a 1-1 draw with Larne as well. Larne are a good team, but that was exactly the sort of game we needed to be winning.
“It was hard to take, because we led the league for so long. We thought Carrick would slip up, but they just kept winning every week. Fair play to them.”
After a fine year in the Championship, Forsythe is looking forward to taking on the best the Premiership has to offer with his new club Crusaders.
“I can't wait to get started. I've followed the Irish League all my life and I've always dreamed of playing in the top division. I feel I'm a better player now then during my spell at Distillery, so I'm much more confident. Crusaders have a brilliant team and Stephen Baxter is the sort of manager players are prepared to die for. It's a big opportunity for me.”