Kevin O'Connor described being handed the Sir Tom Finney award as a 'massive surprise but a great honour'.
The Brentford hall of famer received the award in recognition of his 501 games for the Bees and his long service at Griffin Park.
The Sir Tom Finney Award is presented to a player who has had an exceptional career in the EFL and epitomises the man after which this award is named.
Sir Tom’s talent, loyalty and commitment marked him out as a truly wonderful player and a model professional.
This special award gives the EFL the opportunity to recognise players who, like Sir Tom before them, have set standards for others to aspire to and reached the end of a truly outstanding playing career – of which 'King Kev' certainly fits the bill.
In recent years, former England international strikers Kevin Phillips and Kevin Davies have won the Sir Tom Finney Award, which was renamed in 2014 to permanently honour the Preston North End and England legend and O'Connor was left humbled by it.
He said: “It's been a big surprise but one I'm very proud of. I think Dean Smith said he'd nominated me for an award.
“Next thing I'm told it's the Tom Finney Award and then I got the message I'd won it and it snowballed from there and it's a really big honour.
“You know his name straightaway. He's one of the greats of the English game. The way he conducts himself on and off the pitch – it's a massive surprise but a great honour for me.”
O'Connor's final game for Brentford was at Dagenham when he scored the winning penalty in the shootout after it finished 6-6 after extra time. It was a fitting way for him to bow out but the 500th and penultimate appearance remains his standout moment.
“It's a long time. Over the years, the club have been good to me. It's been a good relationship and hopefully it can continue for a lot longer,” he said.
“The standout would be the 500th appearance where we'd already won promotion on the last day of the season and we went on to win the game as well.
“That has to be the standout and there's been a few games here and there but that'd be the one thing for me.”
On the lowest moments: “The worst was relegation from League One. We had a tough season, all of us including myself.
“Things weren't great off the pitch. You have to have those periods to enjoy the good periods. We used that to help get the club back up where it belongs.”
'King Kev' knows what Brentford were like in the dark days 10 years ago, when they were relegated to League Two and he believes the club are completely different to what they were then.
He explained: “It feels like two different clubs. There were some dark moments and tough moments but the pleasing thing is to see where the club is going now.
“It's building slowly and surely and I hope the club can continue on an upward curve for a long time.”