In order to settle the age-old question of exactly who Ulster’s all-time favourite player is, Vodafone decided to ask the people who are most vociferous on the subject – the province’s supporters.
When Vodafone, official partner of Ulster Rugby, invited fans to let them know who their favourite Ulster player is, they responded with an emphatic ‘David Humphreys’.
At a recent event at Ravenhill, Claire Dunnion, Marketing Manager of Vodafone Northern Ireland, presented Humphreys with a specially-engraved Tryone Crystal trophy to mark the achievement.
Speaking at the event, Dunnion said: “I don’t think it will come as a surprise to anyone that David Humphreys has been voted the fans’ favourite. He is a consummate sportsman, ably representing both Ulster and Ireland. It was striking how many voters mentioned his personal attributes as well as his rugby skills when voting for him. Well done David!”
On being presented with the award, Humphreys admitted: “I am absolutely delighted to receive this award and to be considered alongside Ulster greats such as Jack Kyle, Willie John McBride and Mike Gibson.
“It is even more special to me that the supporters voted for this award and it really is a lovely way to round off the end of my Ulster career.”
Michael Reid, CEO at Ulster Rugby, added: “Working at Ulster Rugby it is obvious how much respect the other players have for David. He has been an outstanding ambassador for Ulster and Irish rugby over the years.”
In the poll, which ran over a period of six weeks and received votes from every corner of Ireland and the UK, the Ulster and Ireland out-half received over half of the total vote, polling a hefty 54%.
Former Ulster, Ireland and Lions second row Willie John McBride came home in second with 10.5% of the votes cast. Classy centre Mike Gibson, another Ulster, Ireland and Lions-capped player, was not far behind polling 10% of the overall vote.
Jack Kyle and Tommy Bowe were two other players to find favour with the fans. They each received 5.75%.
Current Ulster and Ireland centre Andrew Trimble claimed sixth place with 2.5% and former Ulster and Ireland flanker Andy Ward was next with 1.5%.
Others to be mentioned in the voting included many old – and not so old – favourites such as Nigel Carr, Willie Duncan, Paddy Johns, Neil Best, Trevor Ringland, Tyrone Howe, Keith Crossan, Philip Matthews, Neil McMillan and Shane Stewart.