Words: NZF Media
Friday 30 March 2018
AUCKLAND, New Zealand - A legend of New Zealand Football will be recognised and ensconced into the legacy of the national league this weekend at the ISPS Handa Premiership Final.
For the first time, the Steve Sumner Trophy will be awarded to the Player of the Final as Auckland City and Team Wellington meet in the Grand Final for the third year in a row at QBE Stadium.
Sumner, who is famous for being the first All Whites captain to take New Zealand to the FIFA World Cup in 1982, won the national league five times (and a record six Chatham Cups) during his illustrious career at Christchurch United. He passed away last year at the age of 61 from prostate cancer. Daniel Farrow, the Competitions and Events Director at New Zealand Football, said Steve Sumner’s name is synonymous with excellence in football.
“With the success Steve had in the national league, it is only fitting that his legend lives on in the ISPS Handa Premiership,” said Farrow. “Steve is well-known for being one of the greats of New Zealand Football, he achieved everything in the game during his career, so it is a huge honour to have his name aligned with the Player of the Final award. I am sure this is something that all players in our national league would love to win, starting with the final this Sunday in Auckland.”
The English-born Sumner was one of the most influential figures in New Zealand football. He was the first Oceania player to score a World Cup finals goal, netting in the 5-2 loss to Scotland.
In 1991, Sumner’s feats for the All Whites were recognised when he was inducted into the New Zealand Soccer Media Association’s Hall of Fame.
He received FIFA’s highest honour - the Order of Merit award - in 2010 for services to football, on the back of the FIFA centennial merit award in 2004.
Sumner was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2016 for services to football.
Now his name will forever be linked with the National League. The Player of the Final award will be known as the Steve Sumner Trophy.
Steve Sumner Memorial Trophy - Auckland City FC, Hamilton Wanderers, Waiheke United
Earlier this season, Auckland City FC, Hamilton Wanderers and Waiheke United competed in a pre-season tournament where the Steve Sumner Memorial Trophy was contested at Onetangi Domain with the Navy Blues winning the competition.
Along with remembering Sumner, the day was about celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Waiheke United Football club. The team based at the Onetangi Sports Park have had an extraordinary run in recent years, achieving six successive promotions, based on a cosmopolitan mix of players from Argentina, Spain, France, Uruguay, Chile and Japan.
The Navy Blues lifted the inaugural trophy with a 5-2 win over Hamilton Wanderers, coached by Ricki Herbert, with Callum McCowatt scoring a hat-trick alongside goals from Emiliano Tade and Cam Howieson.
The trophy was presented to Angel Berlanga by Steve Sumner's daughter, Tori.
You can read about the Steve Sumner Memorial Trophy here.
ISPS Handa Premiership Grand Final
Sunday 1 April 2018
Auckland City FC v Team Wellington
QBE Stadium, Albany, Auckland
Kick-off: 4.35pm NZST
Children: FREE (with paying adult)
v Wellington Olympic, 11 March 2023, KO: TBC