Club News

Gareth: I’m over the moon

McAuley also reveals he is relaxed regarding ongoing contract negotiations

GARETH McAuley felt ‘proud and humbled’ after crowning a brilliant season by bagging the top two awards at the club’s End of Season Dinner.

The 33-year-old defender was named Players’ Player of the Season and Supporters’ Player of the Season at the ICC, Birmingham, last night.

McAuley has missed only one game of Albion’s record-breaking Barclays Premier League campaign and netted in wins against Everton and Liverpool.

And the Northern Ireland international paid a special tribute to Baggies fans who have taken to him so warmly since he joined on a Bosman just under two years ago.

“To win these awards is fantastic and I’m really, really happy,” said McAuley.

“It’s something I didn’t expect.

“Every time I play, I try my best for the lads and club and to be recognised by the players and supporters is great.

“If the fans appreciate what I’m doing on the pitch, that’s fantastic because I appreciate what they do for me.

“The supporters pay to watch us and for them to give me their backing is something to be proud of.

“I’m proud and humbled by these awards.

“We have a great group of players who work and play hard. Everyone’s together. 

“This is a good place to play football and I’m really, really enjoying it.”

McAuley also revealed that he is ‘relaxed’ regarding his negotiations with the club over a new deal, which are ongoing.

The 6ft4in defender is under contract at Albion until the summer of 2014.

“Bits and pieces have come out in the press over the last couple of weeks,” he added.

“Some reports have suggested I’m disappointed and that negotiations are stalling.

“That’s not true. I’m quite relaxed, to be honest.

“I have next season here, anyway, and things are progressing.

“There’s no problem and I think there’ll be a resolution because this is where I want to be.

“The club and head coach want me to stay, too.

“The club have given me an opportunity to play at this level and it will be a pleasure to represent them in the future.”

McAuley revealed his vote for the Players’ Player-of-the-Season Award went to Claudio Yacob.

“For his first season in the Premier League, Claudio’s been fantastic,” added the ex-Ipswich man.

“He’s come to a foreign country where he’s not 100 per cent with the language.

“At the start of the season, before he had the injury, he was on fire for us.

“He does a great job in front of Jonas and I.

“We have him on a piece of string and we get him doing all the hard work for us!

“When he’s doing that, he makes life much easier for us.

“Plenty of the lads could have won these awards.

“That’s a mark of where the club is and where we want to go as a group.”