JORDAN HENDERSON – Footballer of the Year

The Football Writers’ Association are delighted to announce that Jordan Henderson is the Footballer of the Year for 2019-20.

The Liverpool captain saw off stiff opposition from Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne and Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford as well as team-mates, Virgil Van Dijk and Sadio Mane to claim the honour, the oldest individual award in the world.

Two other Liverpool players – Trent Alexander-Arnold and Alisson Becker – also received votes as the Premier League champions dominated the voting but it was Henderson who was a convincing winner, landing more than a quarter of the votes.

He said: “I’d like to say how appreciative I am of the support of those who voted for me and the Football Writers’ Association in general. You only have to look at the past winners of it, a number of whom I’ve been blessed to play with here at Liverpool, like Stevie (Gerrard), Luis (Suarez) and Mo (Salah) to know how prestigious it is.

 “But as grateful as I am I don’t feel like I can accept this on my own. I don’t feel like anything I’ve achieved this season or in fact during my whole career has been done on my own. I owe a lot to so many different people – but none more so than my current teammates – who have just been incredible and deserve this every bit as much as I do.

 “We’ve only achieved what we’ve achieved because every single member of our squad has been brilliant. And not just in matches. Not just in producing the moments that make the headlines and the back pages but every day in training. 

“The players who’ve started the most games for us this season have been as good as they have been because of our culture and our environment at Melwood. No one individual is responsible for that – it’s a collective effort and that’s how I view accepting this honour.

 “I accept it on behalf of this whole squad, because without them I’m not in a position to be receiving this honour. These lads have made me a better player – a better leader and a better person.

 “If anything I hope those who voted for me did so partly to recognise the entire team’s contribution.

 “Individual awards are nice and they are special and I will cherish this one. But an individual award without the collective achievement wouldn’t mean anywhere as much to me – if anything at all.”

FWA chair, Carrie Brown, said: “Leadership is intangible and often unquantifiable unless it is inarguable. Jordan Henderson is both the ultimate professional and now a bona fide Liverpool legend. 

“Jordan is a player his team-mates look to on the pitch and who his rivals look up to off it. The voting criteria for the Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year is one who leads by precept and example and in this country’s darkest moment, Jordan, unprompted, personally rallied club captains to establish #PlayersTogether. 

“Millions of pounds have been raised for the NHS and significantly #PlayersTogether is now an established collective power base for players to engage in campaigns, none more so evident in the ongoing and powerful anti-racism #BlackLivesMatter campaign. He is a truly worthy winner of our award.”

Gareth Southgate, England manager, added his own tribute to Henderson: “Jordan’s the epitome of selfless commitment to the team and so it’s extra special that he is being personally recognised for the way he’s played, led his club and role modelled off the field to help wider society. I’m delighted for him and his family.”

As well as the top five of Henderson, De Bruyne, Rashford, Van Dijk and Mane, ten other players received votes from FWA members including Alexander-Arnold, Alisson, Raheem Sterling, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Sergio Aguero, Adama Traore, Danny Ings, Jack Grealish, James Madison and Jonny Evans.

The Footballer of the Year trophy has been awarded since 1948 when Sir Stanley Matthews was its first recipient. 

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).

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

http://sportsbookawards.com/

 

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 (statmanjon@aol.com) before June 17 with your new details.

As always, you can also register your vote by email to paul@maccamedia.co.uk 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.

Thanks

Paul McCarthy, Executive Secretary

paul@maccamedia.co.uk

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.

Football Book of the Year longlist announced

The 12 titles chosen by the FWA for the longlist of the Football Book of the Year award have been revealed. The FWA books committee has chosen the 12 titles below and congratulate the authors.  They will be further reduced to a shortlist for the final award, which is due to be held at Lord’s Cricket Ground in September, along with other Sports Books of the Year.

Sponsored by CLOC Printing, the Football Book of the Year is one of 10 Telegraph Sports Book Awards categories. The directors of the Telegraph Sports Book Awards have made the regrettable decision to postpone this year’s shortlist and winners events, but are pleased to announce they will take place later in the year, with a September date soon to be confirmed for the annual winners’ ceremony at Lords Cricket Ground.

Carrie Dunn’s superb deep-dive into the changing face of Women’s Football, The Pride of the Lionesses, looks beyond the headlines, reflecting on growth at grass roots level, as well as that of the professional game. Tobias Jones delves into a facet of Italian footballs subculture, examining the sinister side of footballing fandom in Ultra. Daniel Fieldsend’s Local looks at Liverpudlians uniquely intertwined relationship with both the City of Liverpool and their beloved football club.

Jonathan Wilson’s excellently researched assessment of how Hungarian football in the 1950’s shaped the modern game, The Names Heard Long Ago, is up against Michael Cox’s Zonal Marking, an insightful overview of tactical development in European football over the last three decades. Leo Moynihan’s The Three Kings tracks the life and careers of three of the greatest ever managers, Stein, Shankly & Busby, undoubtedly the central architects of the modern game. The tactical theme continues with Pep’s City, Spanish journalists Pol Ballus & Lu Martins’ behind the scenes profiling of Pep Guardiola’s success at Manchester City. David Tossell’s Natural, makes the longlist with a revealing and comprehensive biography of a past superstar, one England’s most loved footballers, Jimmy Greaves.

Steven Scragg pays homage to the European Cup Winners Cup with Frozen In Time, charting its distinct history through the unique, eccentric stories it created. Amy Raphael’s, A Game of Two Halves, pairs football’s superstars with their celebrity superfans, resulting in plenty of funny conversations and revealing some uplifting commonalities. Completing the shortlist are Stephen O’Donnell’s brutally honest account of the rise and fall of Rangers FC, Tangled Up In Blue, and John Nicolson’s Can We Have Our Football Back?, a polemic against the premier league, including a passionate pitch for an alternative future.

David Willis, Chairman of the Telegraph Sports Book Awards said: ‘We are delighted to be announcing the Football Writers’ Association Book of the Year Long List and working in partnership with CLOC Printing for the first time, and honoured to continue an excellent relationship with the highly esteemed Football Writers’ Association.’

Philippe Auclair, Chair of the Football Writers Association Books Committee, commented: “One of the most striking features of this longlist is the sheer variety of the selected titles, which shows how football writing continues broadening its horizons from year to year. In this regard, this season’s crop is probably the most diverse and the richest in the award’s history, with twelve outstanding books dealing with a huge range of interests – from biography to sociology, tactical analysis to history, polemic and politics to women’s football, to name a few. “

The winners of the 2020 Sports Book of the Year Awards will be announced at a gala awards dinner to take place at Lord’s Cricket Ground in September, with the exact date to be confirmed shortly.

Alongside CLOC Printing, The Telegraph Sports Book of the Year Awards partners include VAARU Cycles, Pinsent Masons, Sky Sports, Tim Rice’s The Heartaches & The National Literacy Trust. The final short lists for the 2020 Sports Book of the Year Awards will be announced at a reception in Pinsent Masons London Headquarters. As with the main ceremony, we have regrettably decided to postpone the original May date, and will confirm the rescheduling as soon as possible.

The Telegraph Sports Book Awards Categories 2020:

Autobiography of the Year

International Autobiography of the Year

Biography of the Year

Children’s Sports Book of the Year

Cricket Book of the Year

Football Book of the Year

Cycling Book of the Year

Illustrated Book of the Year

General Outstanding Sports Writing Award

Rugby Book of the Year

For more information about The Telegraph Sports Book Awards 2020, visit http://sportsbookawards.com/

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/sportsbookaward

@sportsbookaward

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/SportsBookAwards

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Important notice – FOTY dinner postponed

The National Committee of the Football Writers’ Association has been in continuing discussions with the game’s authorities over the impact of the coronavirus.

Given the current suspension of all fixtures and the potential threat to our members, we have taken the decision to postpone the Footballer of the Year Dinner on Thursday May 14.

The Committee considered the health and safety of our members and their guests to be paramount plus the logistical impossibility of holding an awards dinner when the season may still be far from completion.

We will seek to rearrange the event but obviously will be governed by the football calendar and so no replacement date has yet been identified.

We would like to thank The Landmark hotel and general manager, Andrew Batchelor, for their understanding. Also our title sponsors, William Hill who have been supportive of any decisions taken.

Finally, we will continue the tradition of crowning the Footballer of the Year and Women’s Footballer of the Year and will provide details of voting procedures and timings at a later date.

Paul McCarthy

Executive Secretary

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

“Special moment” as Steph Houghton collects FWA award

Steph Houghton said it was a “special moment” for her when she collected the FWA’s North East Personality of the Year award in Durham on Sunday evening.

The Manchester City and England captain returned to her hometown for a star-studded evening at the Ramside Hall Hotel in Durham, where her outstanding contribution to the region was recognised by the Football Writers’ Association.

Accompanied by her husband Stephen Darby and other family members, Steph raced hotfoot from Manchester, where she captained City in their thrilling 3-3 draw with Chelsea.

And she said it was well worth the journey as she picked up her award, with last year’s recipient Alan Shearer and many other famous faces from the world of football in the room.

Looking through the list of past winners, there are some prestigious winners and absolute legends from the North East, so to have won, and be the first female to do so too, is a special moment for me and my family,” said Steph.

The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation sponsor the award, and Steph added: “Unfortunately he is not with us today, but his legacy lives on through this foundation and it is great that I am able to come here with my family to support such an amazing cause, and hopefully over the next few years we can keep pushing to raise as much money as we can.”

Newcastle United provided both the North East Player and Young Player of the Year, with Fabian Schaer and Sean Longstaff collecting their awards, while Kathryn Hill of Durham and Scotland was named Women’s Player of the Year.

The Bob Cass award for his outstanding contribution to North East football went to former FIFA World Cup referee George Courtney, who reminded us that he is still officiating at youth level and available for hire!

Kevin Ball received the John Fotheringham award for his outstanding service with Sunderland, as both player and manager, and now as a club ambassador.

There were honours too for non-league sides Gateshead, Morpeth Town and Dunston, and the evening was rounded off with the unique comedy of Josh Daniels.

Funds raised on the night went to the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, and the event was hosted with wit and style by Ian Dennis, Chief Football Reporter for BBC Radio Five Live.

The FWA were well represented by our Chair, Carrie Brown, Executive Secretary Paul McCarthy, former chairmen Paul Hetherington and Gerry Cox, and finally Colin Young, who once again organised the evening superbly.

Our thanks go to Claire Stephens and her staff at Ramside Hall, and to our title sponsors William Hill for their generous support.

CHANGE OF DATE – NE FWA awards now Sunday Feb 23

Please note that the FWA’s North-East awards night has been put back to Sunday February 23rd at the Ramside Hall in Durham.

Originally scheduled for Feb 2, it has been put back to allow for the attendance of our winners.

More details of the event can be found here: http://footballwriters.co.uk/editorial/schar-longstaff-and-hill-win-north-east-fwa-awards/

For details of tickets, at £58 including a three-course meal, contact Colin Young of the FWA or Claire Stephensat the Ramside Hall hotel on 0191 375 3080 or claire.stephen@ramsidehallhotel.co.uk

Steph Houghton is NE FWA Personality of the Year

Steph Houghton will receive the North East Football Writers’ Association’s Personality of the Year trophy, which is given in association with the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation to recognise someone who uses their position in football to benefit the wider community.

The 31-year-old Manchester City captain, described by The Football Association as, “a role model in every sense,” will receive recognition for her off-the-field activities, which include official roles with the Professional Players Association, UEFA, The James Milner Foundation and the NSPCC.

She will also be recognised for campaigning to end period poverty and for her great commitment to The Darby Rimmer MND Foundation, a charity launched after her husband, Stephen Darby, was diagnosed with the disease in 2018.

Steph, who is from Durham, will be following in the footsteps of Alan Shearer, who received the North East Personality of the Year trophy last year.

It will be presented at the North East Football Writers’ Association Awards, sponsored by William Hill, which are held annually at Ramside Hall Hotel in Durham to celebrate the best of North East football. The event will, once again, raise funds for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.  PLEASE NOTE  CHANGE OF DATE TO SUNDAY FEBRUARY 23rd

Lady Elsie Robson said: “This is the sixth year we’ve helped the Football Writers’ Association choose a recipient for this award and Steph is the first woman to receive it. That seems very fitting given as she’s been such a pioneer in the women’s game.

“Steph has worked extremely hard to achieve her success and she’s also done so much to help others in that time. She’s a very worthy winner of this special award.”

In addition to the presentation to Steph, the North East Football Writers’ Association will be taking the opportunity at the awards night to pay tribute to the seven Lionesses who are from this region.

The chair of the Football Writers’ Association nationally, Carrie Brown, says: “In the week the Football Writers’ Association pays tribute to Vincent Kompany, it’s fitting we announce Steph Houghton as the winner of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation Personality of the Year.

“The England and Manchester City captain can stand shoulder to shoulder with Kompany after leading club and country to unprecedented success in, arguably, the most important and influential decade in the history of the women’s game.

“Off the field, Steph has been an impeccable ambassador for the sport and the sport, in turn, has come out in support for Steph and her husband, former Liverpool player Stephen Darby.

“Stephen was diagnosed with motor neurone disease last year and, with his close friend Chris Rimmer, has set-up the Darby Rimmer MND Foundation in hope of finding a cure for the disease.

“I am delighted the North East branch of the FWA has recognised Steph, and all seven players from the region who represented the Lionesses in France last summer.

“Congratulations also to Scottish international Kathryn Hill, whose imperious form in defence for Durham Women has won her the Women’s Player of the Year Award.

“The FWA looks forward to hosting what promises to be a wonderful night of celebration for the men’s and women’s game.”

Appointed England captain in 2014, Steph has appeared at two World Cups and two European Championships, as well as starring for Team GB at London 2012. She is the most recent player to earn a century of England caps.

At club level, her career began with Sunderland Ladies, before joining Leeds United Ladies, where she won an FA Women’s Cup medal, and then winning numerous honours with Arsenal.

Steph moved to Manchester City six years ago and has been instrumental in helping the club become one of the powerhouses of the women’s game, guiding her team to trophies in all three domestic competitions.

Other recipients of North East Football Writers’ Association awards this year include Men’s Player of the Year, Fabian Schar (Newcastle United), Young Player of the Year, Sean Longstaff (Newcastle United) and Womens’ Player of the Year, Kathryn Hill (Durham Women FC).

The previous winners of the North East Personality of the Year trophy, in association with the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, are:

• Alan Shearer
• Jermain Defoe
• Steve Harper
• Robbie Elliott
• Niall Quinn

Tickets for the North East Football Writers’ Association Awards are available from Claire Stephen at Ramside Hall Hotel (0191 375 3080 or claire.stephen@ramsidehallhotel.co.uk

Vincent Kompany honoured on Gala Tribute Evening

Vincent Kompany said he was honoured and humbled to be the recipient of the FWA’s Tribute Award at The Savoy on Sunday January 12.

The former Manchester City and Belgium captain was our special guest at a star-studded event, and spoke eloquently about his career, his family and charity work. Accompanied by his father Pierre, he was joined on the top table by Andy Burnham, the Mayor of Manchester, with whom Vincent has set up Tackle4MCR, a charity that helps the homeless and rough sleepers in the city.

Andy Burnham spoke in glowing terms about Vincent and his charity work, before FWA Chair Carrie Brown joined in with the praise, and handed over Vincent’s award.  He thanked the FWA, not only for his award but for our help in highlighting racism in football, and he called for more diversity in the game at all levels.

Vincent received a standing ovation, and spent hours afterwards mingling with guests.  Our thanks to Vincent and his colleagues for making it another special occasion, and thanks also to our sponsors William Hill for helping us stage the event.

There was sadness, too, as we remembered absent friends, and Paul McCarthy our executive secretary announced that the evening was dedicated to Steve Curry, our great friend, colleague and Life Member, who passed away in 2019. Steve’s widow Carol and son Mike were in attendance.

You can see our interview with Vincent here: https://youtu.be/KXtnW0T8r6o

Thanks to Steve Paston of PA images for photography