Vivianne Miedema is Women’s Footballer of the Year

Vivianne Miedema has been named the Football Writers’ Association Women’s Footballer of the Year.

The Arsenal striker missed out on the award by a single vote last year but this time the Dutch star has claimed the accolade by the narrowest of margins.

She was pushed all the way in the voting by Chelsea’s Bethany England and follows Lionesses forwards Nikita Parris (2019) and Fran Kirby (2018) to be named the third FWA Women’s Footballer of the Year. 

Chair of the FWA’s women’s sub-committee, Jen O’Neill, said: “This was a close-run decision because of the brilliant breakout season that Beth England had with the Lionesses and WSL champions Chelsea.

“However, Vivianne’s clinical efficiency in front of goal and her seemingly effortless poise, can mean her all-round ability and footballing intelligence are sometimes overlooked. She is a worthy winner and a world-class performer.

With more assists than any other WSL player this season, she is also a valuable creator of openings for teammates; dropping to collect the ball and playing in others, or making space with her movement. 

Although a humble and laid-back character, she is also determined that the women’s game carries on breaking barriers, and she continues to co-author a series of children’s books to entertain and inspire young players in the Netherlands.”  

The FAWSL’s Golden Boot winner for the past two seasons and leading scorer in the current UEFA Women’s Champions League competition, Miedema, maintained her stellar standards through 2019 and into 2020. She became the Netherlands’ all-time top scorer (male or female) when she netted her 60th goal at the World Cup in France last June, scoring three times for her country on their way to the final. 

The Women’s Footballer of the Year is decided by a two-stage poll of a panel of experts, and although the season was suspended after the international break in March and could not be completed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the goal-grabbing form of the FAWSL’s top scorers Miedema and England put them clearly ahead of their peers in the first phase. 

Miedema then carried her slight lead over England into the second stage so that the women’s award was decided by just a single vote (12-11) for a second successive year. 

Chelsea’s Norwegian creative talent Guro Reiten and Lyon’s England full-back Lucy Bronze were joint-third, just ahead of Manchester City and England’s FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 Bronze Boot winner Ellen White.

Other players acknowledged in the voting by the panel were Steph Houghton and Lauren Hemp (both Manchester City), Erin Cuthbert and Sophie Ingle (both Chelsea), Rachel Furness (Spurs/Liverpool), Beth Mead (Arsenal), Lauren James (Manchester United), and Chloe Kelly (Everton).

Steve Stammers – funeral details

The funeral of our friend and colleague Steve Stammers, who passed away on June 12, will take place on Friday July 3 at 4pm at Upminster Crematorium (South Essex Crematorium), Ockendon Road, Upminster, RM14 2UY.

His son Steve junior says only 25 family and close friends will be allowed in the chapel, but there is space for 100 people outside to watch via video link.

There is plenty of parking at the venue. Unfortunately, there will be no wake after the service, however it is the last service of the day so guests are able to all chat afterwards for as long as they wish.

Please can all donations be made to Mid & South Essex Hospitals via a dedicated Just Giving page –

For any queries, please contact Steve Stammers junior.

Telegraph Sports Book of the Year awards

The Telegraph Sports Book of the Year awards announced their shortlists today.

In the Football Book of the Year section, selected by us at the Football Writers’ Association and sponsored by CLOC Printing, there are six outstanding books:

  • David Tossell’s Natural, a revealing and comprehensive biography of one of England’s most loved footballers, Jimmy Greaves.
  • Tobias Jones delves into a facet of Italian football’s subculture, examining the sinister side of fandom in Ultra.
  • Daniel Fieldsend’s Locãl looks at the uniquely intertwined relationship between Liverpudlians and their city and football club.
  • Jonathan Wilson’s excellently researched assessment of how Hungarian football in the 1950s shaped the modern game, The Names Heard Long Ago.
  • Leo Moynihan’s The Three Kings, tracks the life and careers of three of the greatest ever managers, Stein, Shankly & Busby, undoubtedly all architects of the modern game.
  • Steven Scragg pays homage to the European Cup Winners’ Cup with A Tournament Frozen In Time, charting its distinct history through the unique, eccentric stories it created.

The Telegraph Sports Autobiography of the Year shortlist features a diverse group of sports people, including world heavyweight champion, Tyson Fury, World Cup- winning cricket hero Ben Stokes and England’s leading all time wicket taker James Anderson, England women’s footballing-legend Eniola Aluko, the extrovert racing driver Jason Plato, as well as former Liverpool and England footballers Michael Owen and Emile Heskey.

The Children’s Sports Book of the Year shortlist includes former England women’s football captain Casey Stoney’s, Changing the Game, as well as Matt Oldfield’s Unbelievable Football, and Alex Bellos & Ben Lyttle’s popular series, Football School Season 4.

The Pinsent Masons International Autobiography category includes Manchester United and Spanish international Juan Mata’s story in Suddenly A Footballer – My Story, and German defender Per Mertesacker’s Big Friendly German.

This year’s General Outstanding Sports Writing award shortlist includes Andy Woodward sharing his harrowing story in Position of Trust, a trust shattered at the hands of convicted sex offender Barry Bennell.

The Biography shortlist includes football too, with Lofty by Matt Clough assessing the career and influence of England footballing legend Nat Lofthouse. David Tossell reveals the trials and tribulations of another England football star in Natural, his biography of Jimmy Greaves.

The Illustrated Sports Book of the Year shortlist features An A to Z of Football Collectibles by Carl Wilkes, A life Behind the Lens by Richard Pelham, and Destination Tottenham collated by Tottenham Hotspur Football Club.

The Telegraph Sports Book Awards 2020 winners will be digitally announced on July 15th. The online announcement will replace the traditional celebration at Lord’s Cricket Ground.

The Telegraph Sports Book Awards 2020 are grateful to our sponsors and partners, including The Telegraph, Sky Sports, BBC Sport, CLOC Printing, The Football Writers’ Association, Pinsent Masons, VAARU Cycles, The Rugby Writers and Sir Tim Rice’s The Heartaches.

The Sports Book Awards official charity partner is now the excellent National Literacy Trust, who are also collaborating with the awards to help launch the inaugural Children’s Sports Book of the Year award.

For more information about The Telegraph Sports Book Awards 2020, visit


Steve Stammers RIP

We at the FWA are devastated to learn that our great friend and colleague Steve Stammers has passed away after a short illness, at the age of 71.

Steve was a stickler for doing things the right way, renowned for his generosity, humour, helpfulness to young reporters, and especially as a superb story-getter, covering London football for over 40 years.  He started on the Brentwood Argus and went to Fleet Street via Hayters Sports Agency, working for the Daily Star, Evening Standard and Sunday Mirror. In semi-retirement he continued to cover football for the Mail, and was always a cheerful presence in press boxes, with a host of stories and jokes, both good and bad.

Steve was an old-school reporter who commanded the respect of his colleagues by breaking superb exclusives, and won the confidence of some of the biggest names in football by adhering to the old-fashioned values of confidentiality, correctness and discretion.

We will all miss him, as the outpouring of grief on social media by his many friends and colleagues has demonstrated. His son Steve junior has received many messages from some of the biggest names in football. Few knew him better than his great friend and one-time colleague at Hayters and the Evening Standard, Michael Hart, who has written this tribute.

TRIBUTE TO STEVE STAMMERS, by Michael Hart, former FWA Chairman.

My friend Steve Stammers lived and worked in the world of the big ‘exclusive’. Nothing gave him greater pleasure than seeing the ‘exclusive’ tag alongside his name on a story no one else had.

For more than 40 years his mission in life was to provide his newspaper with genuinely exclusive news. He was good at it too. He started his career in journalism as a junior news gatherer on the Brentwood Argus. That is where I met him. It was 1968. He was interviewing my girlfriend at the time. She was the Brentwood carnival queen. From that moment Steve and I enjoyed a friendly rivalry –  on and off the field. We played with and against each other for many years in the Sunday leagues around Essex and East London. He was a left winger of pace and, at the time, thought he was George Best. I thought I was Bobby Moore, so we clashed regularly

His love of football was total. I helped him get his first job in Fleet Street with Hayters Agency. He worked for six papers in total including the Daily Star, Evening Standard and Sunday Mirror. He was one of the last of the old school Fleet Street football writers.

A grammar schoolboy from Harold Hill, he was noted for his smart ties, crisp white shirts, polished shoes and an adherence to old fashioned values like good manners and loyalty. He also turned joke telling into an art form.

He compiled an impressive contacts book that contained details of some of the most significant and influential people in the game. He charted the evolution of a sport that emerged from the cloth cap era to become a billion dollar playground. Along the way he befriended a host of stars, many of whom became friends for life.

A generous and engaging personality, he always had time to help young reporters with practical advice and young managers who would ask for his opinion about players they were thinking of buying or selling.

But his real love involved unearthing football stories before his rivals. It was a competitive field but he was able to break many major stories. The one that gave him most satisfaction was his 1996 revelation that an unknown French coach working in Japan was about to succeed Bruce Rioch as manager of Arsenal. The smart money at the time was on Johann Cruyff, but Stammers knew otherwise.

  Steve was to enjoy a long and fruitful relationship with Arsene Wenger and became a familiar figure at the Arsenal training ground.

As a French speaker he was well placed to befriend many of Arsenal’s French players and he regularly covered the French team at international level. He covered a total of eight World Cup tournaments.

He was even invited by Patrick Vieira to be the English-based director of his Diambars charity that provides football and education programmes for Senegalese children.

In 2008 he wrote ‘Arsenal: The official biography’ and in retirement continued to write about football on a freelance basis.

Steve was married twice and is survived by his two children.

Footballer of the Year – voting now open

The Footballer of the Year awards have been delayed for obvious reasons, but voting is now open.  Here is a letter to FWA members from our Executive Secretary Paul McCarthy:

“Firstly, I hope you are all as well as can be and coping with the circumstances in which we find ourselves. 

With a nod to some kind of normality, we are preparing for the announcement of both the Footballer of the Year and the Women’s Footballer of the Year. As you know, the WFOTY is voted by an expert panel and we intend to make the announcement on Wednesday July 1 with a presentation of the trophy on a date to be confirmed. If all goes well, the FWA will film the presentation and an interview will go on all our media channels. Obviously, this depends very much on social distancing restrictions etc but we will do everything in our power to celebrate the winner properly.

The Footballer of the Year vote is now open, to coincide with the resumption of the Premier League season and will close at midnight on Thursday July 23 for an announcement at 10am the following day.

You should have all received an email with your unique voting code and instructions on how to register your vote. Can I urge anybody who has changed their email address and may not have informed us, to contact Membership Secretary, John Ley ( before June 17 with your new details.

As always, you can also register your vote by email to or by text/WhatsApp on 07831 650977.

Again, we will do everything possible to celebrate the winner’s achievement and there will be an announcement closer to the time as to what form that takes.

My apologies for such a break from tradition. I look forward to receiving your votes and hopefully we will all be able to gather safely together before too long.


Paul McCarthy, Executive Secretary

Manchester City’s Nikita Parris and Raheem Sterling poses with both of their 2019 FWA Footballer of the Year awards during the FWA Footballer of the Year Dinner at the Landmark Hotel, London.

Heads Up – help for Journalists

A message from FWA Chair Carrie Brown:

Dear Members,

One of my key priorities as Chair of the Football Writers’ Association is to set-up a support structure for our members and #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek provides a fitting opportunity to bring you up to date with our plans.

The FWA is working in close collaboration with The FA, Heads Up and charity Mind to provide bespoke mental health guidance for journalists, which will be available in the coming weeks. I would like to thank all our members who helped to contribute to the study.

Personally, I would like to thank our Executive Secretary Paul McCarthy and our Executive Committee for their support in this project and my special thanks go to Louisa Fyans, David Gerty and Aaron Bains at The Football Association for their enthusiasm to both embrace and drive the project with Heads Up and Mind.

When we started the study last summer no-one could foresee the situation we all now find ourselves in; if you are finding this time difficult, then please do seek help:

NHS – Every Mind Matters, expert advice and practical tips to help you look after your mental health and wellbeing are available here:

CALM, the Campaign Against Living Miserably, their helpline is open daily from 5pm to midnight for people in the UK who are down or feel like they have hit a wall for any reason. 0800 58 58 58

MIND have information on a range of topics, including types of mental health issues and where to get help: or call their info-line on 0330 123 3393, which is open 9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday (except Bank Holidays).

The Samaritans are open 24 hours a day, providing one-to-one support for anyone facing distress. If you need someone to talk to, just call 116 123

Text HEADSUP to 85258 for 24/7 free text support from their team of crisis volunteers. Immediate help is available for anyone in crisis anytime, anywhere.

Photographers join Sports Freelancer Collective

The British Press Photographers’ Association have joined us in the Sports Freelancer Collective to support those freelancers whose work in sports journalism has been badly hit by football’s suspension.

The BPPA represent the interests of 400 full-time press photographers many of them working in sport and as freelancers.

To that end, they are awaiting a reply from the Premier League after highlighting concerns over plans to severely limit the numbers of photographers at stadia when football returns.

They have offered to make some suggestions on match coverage, where health and safety would not be compromised, while helping the Premier League and the BPPA’s members recover from the crisis.

And they are also urging the Premier League not to use one photographic media source exclusively, which would severely impact on many freelancers whose income has been wiped out overnight.

The Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) has started to accept applications and HMRC will begin contacting eligible self-employed individuals this week.

But a survey by the National Union of Journalists reveals a third of freelances do not expect their incomes to improve until next year, with 40 per cent saying it could take three to six months, while 16 per cent believe they will not be making their living from journalism after the coronavirus pandemic.

Two-thirds of NUJ members said the pandemic and lockdown had affected household income to date, with 18 per cent saying they had suffered between an 80-100 per cent drop in income.

Many freelances doing shifts for newspaper, magazines and publishers are part of the PAYE system and therefore eligible to be included in the Job Retention Scheme – with the government covering 80 per cent of their wages. However, the survey revealed that 5.5 per cent of those who responded said the company they worked for had refused to do so.

Any NUJ members who need help should contact

Wembley opens kitchens to Compassion

Wembley Stadium opens its kitchens to support Compassion London’s mission to provide thousands of meals every day to key workers and the vulnerable

“In this crisis no-one should go to bed hungry.”
– Leon Aarts, Founder, Compassion London

Compassion London, the charity established to provide nutritious meals to people in need during the Covid-19 crisis, is moving its emergency response operation into Wembley Stadium. Thanks to the valued support of the Football Association and Wembley staff who have joined in to assist the initiative, Compassion London are aiming to cook and deliver 20,000 meals per day.

The charity was founded in response to the Covid-19 lockdown to provide meals to NHS staff and other key workers, individuals and families in need, and the most vulnerable in our society. Compassion London is run by a team of volunteer chefs, delivery drivers and support staff working seven days a week. It relies on donations of food and funding from a wide range of partners. In its first six weeks it delivered in excess of 85,000 meals.

Moving to Wembley allows Compassion London to upscale their reach considerably. The help of Wembley’s Executive Head Chef, Harry Lomas, and Delaware North, the stadium’s caterers, is invaluable in working towards that goal.

Leon Aarts, founder of Compassion London, commented: “Our purpose is the principle of no-one to bed hungry. We plan to cook 20,000 free meals each day cooked by chefs and delivered by volunteers. We are so thankful for the support of Wembley Stadium and the individuals who have gone out of their way to help us to help others. Our meals fuel the carers and also go to people who are struggling to eat.”

Jon Sellins, Operations Director at Wembley Stadium said: “Compassion London is run by a passionate team of volunteers with a simple mission: to help others in this time of crisis. We are very pleased to be able to support them by offering up the facilities and expertise we have available at Wembley Stadium. We hope that this infrastructure will allow them to upscale their response and will mean that their meals reach even more people in need at this difficult time.”

Harry Lomas MBE, BEM, Head of Culinary, Delaware North, Wembley Stadium, added: “The initiative of using an empty kitchen and bringing food together to feed vulnerable people and the NHS is fantastic. It’s a win win situation. We are people and we are doing our little bit for people.”

For more information and to support Compassion London visit

Sports Freelancer Collective update May 5

See here for latest news: 

Philippe Auclair and Niall McGinnity give an update on the latest news affecting freelancers and small business in journalism:

HMRC has just posted online new information about SEISS, which clarifies matters such as eligibility criteria for the grant that so many of us hope will help us through this uncertain period. Here are the two most important links, which I invite you to read very carefully as it seems to me that some of the government’s criteria will not be fulfilled by some of our members whom we’d initially thought would be eligible for help. I’ll be asking our accountant Niall McGinnity for more details and will get back to you.

Remember that if you have specific questions about this or any other SEISS/Furlough topic, do send them to me so that I can pass them on to Niall. Just check first that they are not already covered in the FAQ document which I attach to this email.

Last, if any of you is currently facing exceptionally difficult circumstances, whichever they may be, professional, personal, psychological or financial, do get in touch with me. Our Collective is a purely voluntary organisation, with no means and resources of its own, but we’ll try our best to help. What you tell me will be treated in strict confidence.

Best wishes to you all


SEISS Queries – Accountant Niall McGinnity’s responses

The majority of my income comes as a PAYE freelancer at ****.  Based on the information given, **** will honour all bookings made up until 31st May with 100% pay, 80% furlough and 20% top up.  It sounds great on the face of it, but one small problem.  The department where I get most of my work only publishes rotas one month in advance.  That means the May rota wasn’t done when we went into lockdown, hence no bookings were officially made for the whole of May for freelancers.  I know for a fact that had things progressed normally, I would have had a significant amount of work in May.  But now I feel like I’m screwed, because although my bookings for April will be honoured, I’ll get nothing for May.  Any idea on where I stand?

NIALL: I think this specific one needs a discussion with your main contact in the company in question.  It’s basically an offer by the company to pay based on bookings.  If you have been paying paye via the company, the appropriate scheme is the Job Retention Scheme for HMRC support, but it needs to be driven by the employer.  I think at worst it would be appropriate for the company to pay even just the 80% they can claim back based on an average of previous months; but it really does need an urgent discussion with them to participate


I went freelance in January 2017 after leaving ****. I set up a limited company & did various consulting gigs until September that year, when I was approached by **** to work on a new sports app. For family reasons I went back to being an employee. In November of last year, I then decided to go back to consulting. My limited company has always remained open & tax returns have been filed since 2017. 


My last contract finished last month & having only worked in sport for 15 years, you can imagine it’s very quiet out there at the moment in terms of freelance opportunities. So I was wondering if I might be entitled to any of the government’s support. I’m not clear on it as it stands despite having read the relevant sections on the government’s website. 

NIALL: Given you have been “employed” via your limited company there is the option to furlough yourself if there is no work at all; this would mean that 80% of the wages you extract from the company would be covered by HMRC up to £2500.  It does not, however, cover dividend income, only wages / salary.  The SEISS scheme would not be available as you are not fully self-employed per the details of the self-employed scheme.   The other options would be to speak to HMRC and ask for time to pay arrangements on any outgoing taxes if appropriate.

1. I only stepped up freelance activities from January 2019 following redundancy so I’m eligible for nothing.

NIALL: If the freelance activities started in 2018-2019 a claim could still be made. However, the condition of at least 50% of the income being self employed would need to be met i.e. total earnings in 2018-2019 less non self employed (e.g. salaried) earnings would need to be more than 50%. Further, the claim would only be based on the profit for the period Jan 2019- 5 April 2019; there would be no scope to pro rata this to a full trading year.

2. My wife set up a business self employed in December 2018 and due to set up fees also reported a loss for last year tax. She too is eligible for nothing.

NIALL: Unfortunately I agree. If a loss was made there is no capacity to claim as its purely based on profits

Tonight’s government announcement does not help me, or many others in our industry, who work through their own Limited company.

NIALL: There are quite a few comments on this and the concern is that owner Director businesses cannot claim under either the SEISS scheme or the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. There are a few points to make:

Owner Directors definitely cannot apply under SEISS. They are not self employed.

They can, however, confirmed by HMRC, apply under the Job Retention Scheme subject to additional conditions.

They would have to effectively cease all trading for their company to be justifiably in furlough status. Ben Kerry at HM Treasury has been quoted on a CBI seminar as saying that HMT understands that the owner-Director-manager will have statutory duties that can be continued even while on furlough

(iii)The only applicable element of earnings that can be made under the Job Retention scheme is a salary. Not dividends. If the wages were paid at minimum level so as not to attract national and insurance or paye the support would be circa £575 pm

I am completely freelance, and work through a limited company of which I am the sole director. Many clients insist/much prefer that I operate this way.

NIALL: as noted above ref Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

All of the company’s income is generated by me, and all work is declared.

NIALL: as noted above ref Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

I pay corporation tax, VAT, dividend tax and personal tax, which added up equal around 20k per year.

NIALL: as noted above ref Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. In addition I would advise:

Cancel the HMRC DD and take advantage of the VAT quarter payments falling between now and 30 June 2020 being deferred. That tax will be due by 31 March but cash can be saved now. Note that HMRC have advised they will take payments by DD so you do need to cancel with your bank to avoid the payment being made

Self Assessment payments on account for 2019-2020 due on 31 July 2020 have been deferred and are not due to 31 January 2020. I would advise anyone who has a payment of account based on their normal revenue levels but who will now be returning a significantly reduced figure to get their 2019-2020 return filed as soon as possible as they may already have paid that tax and potentially overpaid and be due a refund.

Any other business taxes can be deferred by phoning HMRC and requesting a time to pay arrangement. They are giving a 3 month deferral period. The phone number is 0800 0159 559

I have zero work, 100% has been cancelled. I do not know whether I can furlough myself.

NIALL: per advice from a number of sources including ICAEW, CBI and HM Treasury you can be furloughed. I would be happy to speak you and/or your accountant and pass over relevant info.

Do you know what I am eligible for as I earn via PAYE (but not on any kind of contract) and via self-employed – both via same employer (ie ******)?

NIALL: if they earn via Paye via ****** , ****** should furlough them. It’s difficult to assess what they would have been paid under normal circumstances – happy to speak to them direct if it helps and they can share more details.

My situation is complex – this year (19/20) I’m a Ltd company … last year I had a Ltd company, sole trader and PAYE … every company I work for wants something different!

NIALL: SEISS would be applicable under the sole trader period potentially but one condition is that trade needs to be continuing. Again maybe one for a direct conversation to understand it a bit better.

I’m a freelancer /  sole trader, but having just checked my last three years accounts, I can see that I’ll average above 50k by a infuriatingly small amount.

NIALL: yes unfortunately over £50,000 means you are excluded from the scheme. They should use the figures reported on their SA returns. If 2019-2020 hasn’t been filed there may be some flexibility there and they should speak to their accountant about any additional costs that would bring profit below the level.

I heard the Chancellor say that the 5% of self-employed people not covered by the scheme had an average income of £200,000.  After Tax, I earn less than 40k a year.  50k seems a very arbitrary cut off point to me. Especially for those of us who live in London. 

NIALL: Unfortunately that is the case as it stands. I could accept a cap at £50k but a direct exclusion seems harsh if you are on £50,001.

I was advised to create a small Ltd company from my freelance journo work as that protects you from personal liability if you ever get sued or taken to court etc. Bog standard, thousands of us do that.

NIALL: See earlier comments on Job Retention Scheme. A further consideration may be a potential claw back of Corporation Tax paid in earlier years if the Company reports a loss. This is Loss Carry Back claim. It’s probably best a specialist tax advisor handles it but first point of call would be to mention this to their Accountant and see if it could be applicable to their circumstances.

Id say over seven years I have averaged £35k before paying taxes and of course I don’t enjoy the normal salaries advantages of paid holiday, days off, company pension, health scheme etc

NIALL: See earlier comments on Job Retention Scheme.

In the last three years I have been struggling with issues and have averaged about £10k with he occasional small dividend in region of £2-5K. It is with complete incredulity I read that Sunak thinks we are all on 200k.

NIALL: See earlier comments on Job Retention Scheme.

In the time between losing work and the chancellors announcement, I looked at applying for part time work of which I have been accepted and am due to start next week.

Do you know if I would be able to claim the self employed package and still be able to do the part time work in the meantime upto June?!

NIALL: For this one there are conditions that the trade needs to be continuing (see here: ) The part time job would be non self employed income so the most likely test is whether the self employed income is still going to remain more than 50% of their income. .

I am classed as freelance that serves a limited company. I have lost all my income and even when we get back to normal as you know will have to fight to get contracts and work. I don’t have enough money to live on if I don’t get government support.

NIALL: See earlier comments on Job Retention Scheme.

This is the ONLY way I am allowed to work. When I worked at ******, it was the terms of my contract. They wouldn’t give me the contract unless I started a limited company. This then continued to be the way at all media companies I have ever worked at. I pay taxes this and in fact I just paid my tax bill and all my VAT.

NIALL: See earlier comments on Job Retention Scheme.

I have no income and no help. I earn less than £50k and like everyone else pay taxes

I know you can get a Business Interruption Loan Scheme but as you said it is a loan, to be paid back, it doesn’t make up for lost income.

NIALL: It’s not clear if you are in same situation as the Owner Directors but see earlier comments on Job Retention Scheme, tax deferral etc as there may be some hope there.

HMRC, the hotline included, believe (but are not sure) you can take on temporary regular work (i.e. through a job agency) until 1 June without losing your eligibility for SEIS (or affecting the size of it). My tax advisor said it should most likely be fine, but mentioned he could only interpret the Chancellor’s scheme as a large chunk of the fine print was missing or left out. It’s nothing major, just something that could become a factor as time goes by.

NIALL: This is similar to one of the questions above re the part time job. The scheme does allow non self employed income as long as the self employed trade will continue as normal other than the effects of the Covid-19 and the non self employed income is less than 50% of total earnings.

A number of us have received an email from HMRC informing them of the new SEISS dispositions. Many others, including me, haven’t. I think it is because our tax returns are filed by our accountants, not by ourselves. Am I right or wrong, and what should we do?

NIALL: Yes I would expect that if your accountant is formally registered with HMRC as your agent they may be receiving the correspondence. Also make sure that postal and email addresses on login is correct.

Q – I’m rather confused about whether or not I am entitled to apply for UK government support. I’m a full-time freelance journalist, working for UK titles and receiving all of my pay in a UK bank account, but after April 2019 I became a tax resident in a EU country.

However, I did submit an 18/19 tax return in the UK – which seems to be a prerequisite when applying for support – while I was still a British tax resident, and am yet to submit a tax return here as the 2019 accounts aren’t due until the summer. 

Given the lack of help available in Italy, I would be eager to claim UK support if it’s possible, but I’m unsure as to whether I would be able to given my status. 


NIALL – This is a slightly difficult one to answer but this would be my advice. The submission of the 2018-19 tax return is an advantage. I believe that the fact that you are receiving your money in UK, even though now a tax resident in another country, will require you to complete a 2019-20 return in UK.  Given the parameters of the self employed support scheme announced I therefore believe that you could make a claim.  HMRC have advised people not to contact but they will write to them if they are able to claim so first test would be to ask if you have received that yet? If so I would proceed and claim.  If not can you check if HMRC have written to you or check online if you have an account with them at, and see if a 2019-20 return is expected, and if you have already made a payment on account for that period. Final question is to ask if you have formally notified HMRC of your change in tax residency yet?


Q – I set up my own small company last June (2019). As with many freelancers, working in sport has seen all of my sources of income stop due to Covid 19. 

The only money left in my business to date is to pay for one more pay day at the end of April.

I’m looking to see what I could be eligible for as I’m massively confused about what is on offer.

NIALL: from these points it would appear that the SEISS would not be available – question: have you informed HMRC you are no longer self employed? If not that is an advantage as HMRC may well write and invite you to apply based on previous results.


Q – After the announcement for the self employed last week, I think I would be eligible for the new scheme for those who are classed under self assessment, with profits for 18/19 under £50k – my average over the last 3 years of accounts is under £50k also.

But will HMRC only consider me as a company director now or could I have sneaked in as I paid a tax bill in Jan 2020? The wait until June is excruciating, as you can imagine!

NIALL: I think the key factor is whether the original self employed trade could be classed as continuing. I believe it is but only via the Company so some of the conditions in relation to self employed results for 2019-20 and 20102-21 won’t be met. That said HMRC have said they will write to anyone who can apply, and the 3 year history may mean that you get notified as the company results haven’t been declared yet. It’s somewhat of a grey area and my advice would be to respond to any invitation to apply if and when it is received.

On the company side one area that can be taken advantage of is to defer all taxes (VAT up to 30 June is automatic, monthly Paye and NIC needs to be applied for under this number with HMRC –  0800 0159 559). This will conserve cash.

If there are any customer bills unpaid we can also help get those paid if it is applicable and of interest. 

Q – Could there be scope for a business grant / loan? Is Universal Credit perhaps the only way forward?

NIALL: For a business that started in June 2019 it’s not brilliant as the banks are looking for a solid history of trading – normally 2 years or more. That said it is worth an application and I can help advise what you need and would need to prepare. Your business bank would be 1st point for a claim under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme. If that fails I can put it through a broker who has around 100 lenders connected. 


Q – As a company, I obviously only pay myself a small salary under £1000 and the rest in dividends – but as we know when it comes to businesses, dividends are not taken into account when trying to claim 80% from the government… simply, which way do you think I should go?

NIALL: On the wage of £1000 you can easily furlough yourself if the trade is at a standstill. However, only the wage would be applicable, not dividends, so it’s a small relief but not ideal.

Vanarama launches emergency support team

Vanarama, title sponsors of the National League and the FWA’s Golf Day, has launched the Covid-19 Small Business Support Team to provide guidance to National League Clubs accessing UK Government funding during pandemic

Vanarama, the UK’s leading independent commercial and personal vehicle leasing company, has launched the intitative to provide information and guidance for clubs, sole traders, the self-employed and small limited companies on how to access the funding available from the UK Government during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We are immensely proud to be involved in non-league football and watching the Vanarama National League grow year on year has been truly amazing. We don’t want to see any UK club collapse due to the Covid-19 pandemic,”  said Andy Alderson, CEO and Founder, Vanarama. “We understand that this is an incredibly stressful time for clubs across the country and finding the right government funding can be overwhelming. As a company we pride ourselves in providing industry leading customer service, so, have further invested in training our customer service team so that they can offer sound advice and guide clubs in these difficult times.”

The free to use service provided by Vanarama can be accessed via  Covid-19 Small Business Support Team or by calling 0808 196 3900. Up to date detailed information on all the support that the UK Government is offering as well frequently asked questions from mortgage holidays to life insurance queries can be found here.  The Vanarama Facebook group will provide a secure space for members to discuss issues and share their business stories.   

“This is a fantastic scheme from Vanarama, who have further shown their amazing commitment to our league by offering support and advice in The National Clubs time of need. We know this will give all of our clubs a boost to know they have an expert helping hand through such a difficult period.” Michael Tattersall, CEO National League. 

Vanarama is a member of the Institute of Customer Service (ICS) and invests heavily in the training of its dedicated customer service team, the company was awarded a Service Mark with distinction in 2017.

For more information please contact Madalene Whitson on

Notes to Editor:  About Vanarama

Vanarama is an award-winning commercial and personal vehicle leasing company established by CEO Andy Alderson in 2004 with a team of just three people. The company now employs over 230 at its Hemel Hempstead main office.

The company provides industry-leading customer service and has found investing in that service, and the staff that provide it, to be a successful formula for success.

The company has also been confirmed as a Sunday Times 100 Best Small Companies to Work for in the UK in 2016, 2017 and 2018, with Andy Alderson being named Best Leader at the 2017 awards ceremony.

We are and continue to be available where and when our customers need us:

Andy Alderson, CEO and Founder of Vanarama