Change of date – Vincent Kompany Tribute night now Sunday January 12

CHANGE OF DATE FOR TRIBUTE NIGHT – NOW JAN 12, 2020

Please note that the FWA Tribute Night for Vincent Kompany has a change of date, brought forward from Jan19 to SUNDAY JANUARY 12. This is because Belgian TV requirements have led to a re-scheduling of Anderlecht’s game on the 19th.

All other details remain exactly the same and those who have booked tickets and tables at our annual Savoy event will be receiving tickets and passes within the next 10 days.

As a matter of urgency, can you please let Paul McCarthy, FWA Executive Secretary, know if you are NOT able to take your allocated table or tickets.

Our sincere apologies for the change but it was completely out of our control.

The FWA’s National Committee chose to honour Kompany not just for his outstanding contribution to English football, having won every domestic trophy (four PL titles, two FA Cups and four League Cups) but also for his charity work, not least via Tackle4MCR, a co-operation with the Mayor of Manchester’s office to tackle homelessness in the city.  He also studied for and gained an MBA when he was in Manchester, and is a FIFA ambassador for the SOS Children charity.

Kompany wlll travel to London on January 12 to collect his award in what is sure to be a star-studded event and memorable night.

You can see a list of previous winners of the FWA Tribute Award here: http://footballwriters.co.uk/previous-tribute/

Ivan Sharpe – the FWA’s Founding Father

 MIKE COLLETT, FWA member and resident historian, has done more than most to revive the name of Ivan Sharpe, one of our founding fathers, back to prominence in the history of the game. Now that the National Football Museum have taken over Ivan’s personal collection of memorabilia from over 60 years as player and journalist, Ivan’s remarkable story and lasting legacy to the beautiful game can be told.  This article by Mike first appeared in BackPass magazine. Our thanks for permission to reprint it: http://www.backpassmagazine.co.uk/

THE LONG journey to restore the name of Ivan Sharpe to its rightful place in the history of English football, after his phenomenal contribution to the game in the first half of the 20th century, started with a fire at the home of the late Ken Montgomery, the former Sunday Mirror journalist.

At the time the avuncular Scot was the executive secretary of the Football Writers’ Association and had the entire history of the FWA – all of it on paper and none of it backed up on a computer – in a suitcase at his house.

Thankfully, Ken survived the blaze, but the FWA’s historical archive, dating back to the organisation’s foundation in 1947, did not. All the minutes of committee meetings, annual general meetings, members records, past chairmen, photographs, Footballer of the Year dinner menu cards, treasures and trivia went up in smoke.

And remarkably, to all intents and purposes, in terms of the FWA and the wider game in general, so did the name of Ivan Sharpe. The former England amateur international and Olympic gold medal winner was one of the most important figures in the English game as an amateur player, later as an influential journalist and also as the first chairman of the FWA. He was the man who presented Stanley Matthews with the first Footballer of the Year Award in 1948.

But we will come to that later.

Today though, his name is back in the limelight. The National Football Museum in Manchester is collating his own personal archive with a view to a future permanent exhibition and new life members of the FWA are now recipients of the Ivan Sharpe Life Membership Award with his name writ large on their handsome commemorative certificates.

The game may have changed considerably since he was playing it 100 years ago and then writing about it for the next 50 years but the standards he set on and off the field, for both players and journalists, are as valid today as they were then. And Sharpe’s past included tangible links to the very beginning of League football in England, as well as a direct connection to one of the game’s greatest-ever managers.

Born in St Albans in 1889, he was the fifth son of a boot-maker. His father, noticing he was a natural right-footed player, made the young Ivan a football attached to a ten-foot cord which he then tied to his left ankle and sent him out to the backyard to kick it back and forth, again and again for hours on end.

As a result, he ended up with a left foot as strong as his right and went on to play for Watford, Glossop North End, Derby County, Leeds City and Leeds United – one of only two players to play for the two Leeds clubs. He also played a combined 12 times for England and Great Britain’s amateur sides between 1910 and 1914 and in 1912 won the Second Division title with Derby and was part of the British team that won the football gold medal at the Stockholm Olympics, scoring once in the 4-0 semi-final win over Finland.

At 18, he was working as an apprentice journalist covering sport for the Herts Advertiser newspaper as well as the St Albans Times and had been playing locally for the juniors of St Albans Abbey when his talent and speed as a winger came to the attention of Southern League Watford and so impressed player-manager John Goodall that in 1907 he signed him.

Goodall was a member of the ‘Proud’ Preston North End Invincibles who won the double in the League’s inaugural season in 1888-89, lifting the title without losing a match and the FA Cup without conceding a goal, so Sharpe’s association with Goodall provides a path straight back to the very beginning of English League history.

His career as a player continued after the First World War with more than 60 appearances for Leeds City (17 goals) and one for Leeds United and it was while at City that he came into contact with a man destined to have a huge impact on the game in the 1920s and 1930s and beyond, manager Herbert Chapman.

As an amateur at Leeds, Sharpe managed his time playing League football on a Saturday and writing for an evening paper during the week and so by the time his playing days ended his credentials for a journalistic career were well established.

He edited the influential Athletic News and later worked for Kemsley Newspapers and the Sunday Chronicle, editing the pocket bible Football Annual for more than 30 years as well as contributing other articles to magazines and newspapers throughout his life.

He was a man of his time and ahead of his time too. He covered the first Wembley FA Cup final between Bolton and West Ham in 1923, interviewed Benito Mussolini – with a photo signed by Italy’s fascist dictator in his archive – and, according to one source, “had an interview with Adolf Hitler lined up but the Fuhrer chickened out.”

Years before UEFA introduced their goal-line assistants, he wrote in the Athletic News in April 1930 that “a goal judge should be stationed at each goal. The goal judge’s duty is to watch all incidents inside the penalty area at his end and to advise the referee concerning all doubts. The referee, as now, to be supreme.”

I’d suggest we can forgive him if he didn’t actually come up with the idea of VAR at that time as well.

He knew everyone in the game from Stanley Rous to Stanley Matthews, from England team-mate Vivian Woodward, another outstanding amateur of the early part of the century, to the legendary great scorer of old Steve Bloomer, a team-mate at Derby.

In 1958, in recognition of his contribution to the game the Football League bestowed a rare honour by presenting him with an inscribed silver salver as a token of their appreciation of his 50 years involvement with the League.

And as a journalist he rarely toed the party line. He often set the agenda. Even towards the end of his career he had his own view of things. For example, when Spurs won the double in 1961 they were widely acclaimed as the ‘Team of the Century’ but Sharpe saw it differently.

In an article for his old friend Charlie Buchan in his Football Monthly in July 1961, he posited that perhaps the Huddersfield Town team that won a hat-trick of titles in the 1920s, or the Arsenal team that achieved the same feat in the 1930s might deserve the honour more. But could there have been a little bias here perhaps? After all, both were managed by his old Leeds City boss, Herbert Chapman!

“The players of the past may not look so good because of their old-fashioned equipment, but would you judge Alex James because of his long pants? These are matters of opinion of course, but age and experience have given me the advantage of having seen these pre-war teams – half a dozen times or more each season.”

One man who has fond memories of Sharpe as both a child and adult is his grandson, the acclaimed Sunday Times journalist and author Anthony Holden, whose middle name is Ivan, as is that of his eldest son Sam.

“Ivan’s wife Ada died in 1941 six years before l was born, so he lived with us in Southport throughout my childhood and I was very close to him indeed,” he recalls. “When l was still a pre-teen kid, he would take me with him to the games he was covering in the north- west. To keep me quiet in the press box, he would give me pencil and paper to keep count of the fouls, corners, bookings etc.

“l loved hearing him make the transfer- charge calls to file his report within minutes of the game ending – and in that pre-stats era, l would see my very own numbers in the next day’s Sunday Times, which I’m sure is why I too eventually became a journalist – which was not at all what my middle-class parents had in mind for me! His colleagues and friends would also feed me sweets to keep me quiet. Many of them were to die in the Manchester United air crash at Munich, which Ivan missed because he had flu.”

Sharpe produced two hugely influential and popular books, the first a fabulous memoir 40 Years in Football published in 1954, followed by Soccer Top Ten in 1962, detailing his ten favourite players in the positions of goalkeeper, full-backs, wing half- backs, centre half-backs, outside-forwards, inside-forwards and centre-forwards. They are a window to another era, another world of football and they still make for wonderful reading today. He also compiled the Football League Jubilee Book to mark the League’s 75th anniversary in 1963 and was the natural choice to oversee that official publication as the leading football journalist of the day.

As the old scribe Walter Pilkington wrote in his review of Soccer Top Ten for the Evening Post in November 1962: “The agile mind behind this well-stocked memory box has produced a fascinating cavalcade of the English scene covering half a century spent in football at home and abroad. You start reading and before you realise it, the time is 1.00am.”

Sharpe’s agile mind was still active at the 1966 World Cup finals, the last major event he attended and his press card for the finals (below) remains in the archive. Tony Holden remembers going with Ivan to Goodison Park to see the momentous Portugal v North Korea quarter-final, which Portugal won 5-3 with four goals from Eusebio after North Korea stunned the world by going 3-0 up after 24 minutes.

Above – Ivan Sharpe’s press card for the 1966 World Cup

“But he never went to the final because he thought he might have ‘a bloody heart attack’,” recalls Holden. “At times he couldn’t bear to watch and left 18-year-old me to keep an eye on developments at Wembley while he paced tensely around the garden.” England’s subsequent victory over West Germany on that historic July afternoon was the first major tournament success for these islands since Sharpe’s own Olympic triumph with Great Britain 54 years previously.

Great Britain team that won the 1912 Olympic football tournament. Back (left to right): Joe Dines, Ron Brebner, Arthur Berry, Harry Walden, Viv Woodward, Gordon Hoare, Ivan Sharpe, Arthur Knight. Front: Douglas McWhirter, Tom Burn, Henry Littlewort . (Backpass)

He continued writing a column for the Wolves magazine until his death at the age of 78 in February 1968. And inevitably, with his voice stilled as the years passed, so Sharpe’s name and achievements slipped further from public view and deeper into the past. His experiences and writings belonged to another era. The devastation of Ken Montgomery’s fire had extinguished his proud record with the FWA and may well have been lost forever until the winter of 2012 when I was invited to attend the annual Rugby Union Writers’ Club dinner in London.

At some point in the evening I glanced at the dinner menu card and noticed not only were the names of the Rugby Writers’ Players of the Year listed, but also those of their chairmen dating back to their foundation in 1960 and a thought popped into my head. The FWA only ever listed the names of the Footballer of the Year at our dinners, but surely we should also recognise the names of the great journalists of the past who have chaired the world’s oldest football writers’ association. As a member of the National Committee, I raised the matter at our next meeting.

“Its an impossible task” said a colleague, “all the records were lost in the fire at Ken Montgomery’s house. They have all disappeared. There is no way of ever finding the names of all the old chairmen, certainly not from the 1940s and 1950s. Where would you even start to look?”

I thanked him for his advice and completely ignored it. The search was on.

The decision to form the FWA was made on a cross-Channel ferry on September 22, 1947 by a group of journalists on their way home from reporting on England’s 5-2 victory over Belgium in Brussels the day before.

Sharpe was not among them, but Charles Buchan of the News Chronicle, Frank Coles of the Daily Telegraph, Roy Peskett of the Daily Mail and Archie Quick agreed to form the FWA and when they reconvened in London a month later, Sharpe, who was working for the Sunday Chronicle, was appointed chairman. That much was well documented and Sharpe duly presented Stanley Matthews with the first

Footballer of the Year trophy the following May at the long-gone Hungaria Restaurant in London on the eve of Blackpool’s FA Cup final defeat to Manchester United the following day.

Having established Sharpe as the first chairman and being able to talk to many colleagues and friends, it was relatively easy to list every chairman from the late 1970s through to the present day.

All that was now left was to fill in the 30 missing years from the late 1940s onwards. But where to start? Unlike today, the chairman of the FWA, while a leading and highly respected journalist, was rarely quoted in the papers, even when the Footballer of the Year was announced.

However, the chairman’s name was always on the menu cards for the FWA dinners, so I searched for old

menu cards on football trivia sites and eBay – and went to the British Library in London to see if perhaps the chairman was quoted at the time the announcement was made. I couldn’t find any. I looked in old yearbooks, looked everywhere, and gradually the gaps started to be filled in … 1948 Ivan Sharpe, 1949 Ivan Sharpe, 1950 Ivan Sharpe, 1951 Ivan Sharpe, 1953 Ivan Sharpe, 1960 Ivan Sharpe, 1961 … yes, Ivan Sharpe.

There were many others too – 1954 Bernard Joy, 1963 Geoffrey Green, 1964 Alan Hoby, 1967 Sam Leitch, 1968 Frank McGhee, 1970 Peter Lorenzo, 1971 Reg Drury, 1974 Mike Langley and on to the already known chairmen like Ken Jones, Jeff Powell, Dennis Signy and Brian Scovell. The list was coming alive!

By the April of 2017 I had found every past chairman’s name except for one year … 1952. Paddy Barclay, who has just stepped down after three years as FWA chairman, mentioned that he knew Sharpe’s grandson, Anthony Holden, and perhaps he could help and after making contact, Tony said he was in possession of all of Sharpe’s memorabilia going back over 100 years. We duly met at Tony’s flat in London and inside an ancient and battered, but handsome, liner-style suitcase containing Sharpe’s remarkable treasure trove was a newspaper cutting with a photo of him presenting the 1952 Footballer of the Year award to Arsenal’s Joe Mercer.

The Eureka moment! The final piece of the jigsaw – found in Sharpe’s very own suitcase and proving that he was chairman of the FWA for the first six years of its existence from 1947 until 1953, before two more stints in 1960 and 1961. He was chairman eight times in all. No one else comes close.

Norman Giller, resident golden oldie columnist for BACKPASS, remembers Sharpe well too. “I was chief football writer on the Daily Express when Ivan was coming to the close of his exceptional career. I used to bow the knee to him and listen in awe to his kaleidoscopic memories. There is no football writer from my generation who was not influenced by Ivan’s prolific chronicling of the Beautiful Game, whether by his prose or maze of facts and stats. He deserves to be in the same hall of fame as his hero Sir Stanley Matthews. Come to think of it, why on earth was he never knighted? His services to football on all fronts was phenomenal.”

In recognition of Sharpe’s outstanding contribution to the FWA and his involvement for the first seven decades of the 20th century, the FWA marked its 70th anniversary in 2017 by inaugurating the Ivan Sharpe Life Membership Award and included the list of all the previous FWA chairman on its menu card at the Footballer of the Year dinner for the first time. And the archive has now been gifted to the National Football Museum.

Tim Desmond, the museum’s chief executive, told BACKPASS Magazine: “The museum is all about exploring the Game of our Lives, and we were delighted to be approached by the FWA to become custodians of the Ivan Sharpe collection. Our aim now is to conserve and research his fascinating life in football for the benefit of future generations.”

Rising like a phoenix from the flames, Ivan Sharpe’s name will never be forgotten again.

 . 

Klopp and Guardiola in sparkling form at FWA awards

PEP GUARDIOLA AND JURGEN KLOPP were in sparkling form at the Football Writers’ Association Northern Managers awards night, in Manchester on Sunday November 24.

Klopp was honoured for leading Liverpool to victory over Tottenham in the Champions League final on June 1, and he attended the dinner with the trophy standing proudly by the top table.

Guardiola was honoured for leading Manchester City to a domestic treble of Premier League, FA Cup and League Cup. All three trophies were on display at the Radisson Hotel, along with the FA Womens Cup and Continental Trophy, won by Manchester City Women. Their manager Nick Cushing, was also honoured with an award at the event.

Other managers to be honoured included Chris Wilder for leading Sheffield United to promotion from the Championship, Daniel Stendel of Barnsley, Ryan Lowe of Bury, Tranmere’s Micky Mellon, Graham Alexander of Salford City, AFC Fylde’s Dave Challinor and Barry Lewtas from Liverpool Under 18s.

Klopp and Guardiola both gave charming and witty speeches, admitting to being envious of each other’s trophies and stating their ambitions to win more.

Ian Dennis, a recent recruit to the FWA, was master of ceremonies for the evening, and a substantial sum was raised for the nominated charity of the FWA’s Northern Branch,the Forget Me Not children’s hospice in Huddersfield.

The event was attended by FWA Chair Carrie Brown, Executive Secretary Paul McCarthy and several members of the national committee. Our thanks to the organisers Richard Bott, Steve Bates, Paul Hetherington and Andy Dunn, as well as the staff of the Radisson and our generous sponsors William Hill.

You can see a video from the evening here: https://youtu.be/2O1u2QYSlos

FWA Vanarama Golf Day winners

Kate Mason, one of the FWA’s newest members, was the proud winner of the Joe Melling Trophy at our annual golf day, sponsored by Vanarama, at Stoke Park on October 7th.

Kate, who left BeIn Sports to join Sky Sports News earlier this year, is relatively new to golf and was the only female player in this year’s event.

Playing in the Hayters team alongside Gerry Cox, Les Ferdinand and Jamie Weir, Kate scored 32 Stableford points, the highest individual score by an FWA member, edging Neil Silver into second place.

There was also debut success for Mike Keegan of the Mail, whose fourball won the team prize. Mike was also playing in the event for the first time, with former Barnsley chairman John Dennis, as well as Andrew Lane and Niall Ashworth from Vpar, who provided the live scoring system.

The individual non-FWA member’s prize went to Stephen Hunt, the former Reading and Republic of Ireland midfielder, who scored a superb 42 points from three-quarters handicap.

Other names from the world of football included former England internationals Steve Coppell, Kevin Phillips and Andy Sinton, ex-Scotland players Bryan Gunn and John Duncan, Matt Jansen, Wally Downes, Paul Clement, Lee Cook and Michael Gray.

The day was generously sponsored once again by Vanarama, whose team was led by marketing director Gary Lemon, and there was a presentation from Jake Martens of Prostate Cancer UK, as we remembered our great friend Ralph Ellis, who enjoyed and organised the event for so many years before he passed away last year.

Steve Bates and Gerry Cox of the FWA National Committee have taken over organisational duties. A substantial sum was also raised for Prostate Cancer UK, and further online donations can be made here: http://bit.ly/2kysOnP

For more about Vanarama visit: https://www.vanarama.com/

For more on VPAR visit: http://vpar.com/

Rodrigo Lara of Hayters TV put together a video of the event: https://youtu.be/z4ZQpdEz07k 

Jamie Weir, Kate Mason, Les Ferdinand and Gerry Cox of Team Hayters

 

Change of date for Vincent Kompany Tribute Night – now Jan 12, 2020

Please note that the Tribute Night for Vincent Kompany has a change of date, brought forward from Jan19 to SUNDAY JANUARY 12. This is because Belgian TV requirements have led to a re-scheduling of Anderlecht’s game on the 19th.

All other details remain exactly the same and those who have booked tickets and tables at The Savoy event will be receiving tickets and passes within the next 10 days.

As a matter of urgency, can you please let Paul McCarthy, FWA Executive Secretary, know if you are NOT able to take your allocated table or tickets.

Our sincere apologies for the change but it was completely out of our control.

The FWA’s National Committee chose to honour Kompany not just for his outstanding contribution to English football, having won every domestic trophy (four PL titles, two FA Cups and four League Cups) but also for his charity work, not least via Tackle4MCR, a co-operation with the Mayor of Manchester’s office to tackle homelessness in the city.  He also studied for and gained an MBA when he was in Manchester, and is a FIFA ambassador for the SOS Children charity.

Kompany wlll travel to London on January 12 to collect his award in what is sure to be a star-studded event and memorable night.

You can see a list of previous winners of the FWA Tribute Award here: http://footballwriters.co.uk/previous-tribute/

Pictures: PA images

Footballers of the Year Sterling and Parris

Raheem Sterling and Nikita Parris made it a win double for Manchester City and England as they collected their Footballer of the Year and Women’s Footballer of the Year awards at our gala dinner on Thursday night.

The two strikers won the Football Writers’ Association awards for their outstanding work on and off the pitch this season, and were presented with their honours by our new Chair Carrie Brown.

‘It’s a massive achievement, a massive honour,’ said Sterling. ‘To be recognised is always a lovely feeling, especially by the writers. It makes it even more special.

‘It is an award that I will cherish, especially with the people that have won it before me so I am really, really glad and proud.’

Sterling collected 62 per cent of the poll by FWA members and beat Liverpool centre-back Virgil Van Dijk to the award by over 100 votes.

Sterling is the first Manchester City player in 50 years to win the FWA Footballer of the Year award, following on from Tony Book sharing the accolade with Derby’s Dave Mackay.

‘Precept and example’ have long been considered when voting for the award – values that Sterling boasts in abundance.

Put to him that he has had a bit of an up and down time with the media in the recent years, Sterling said: ‘Yeah, it’s one of those where I take full responsibility as well because it’s my first time being a professional and everyone makes mistakes, especially being young and not quite understanding what goes on in and around football with the media.

‘As you get older, you mature and understand things much better and I think now people can see me for who I am.

‘Role model, not in terms of saying you set out to be a role model but just in terms of leading by example.

‘You have young kids who do follow you and do look up to you, and you need to try and set the right example for them and the next generation coming through for sure.

‘Certain subjects that I have spoken about this season has been touchy but at the same time I thought it was needed and I tried to do my best to address it in a positive (way) and not come across aggressive or ignorant.’

Thursday night was a double celebration for City as England striker Nikita Parris collected the FWA Women’s Footballer of the Year.

‘It feels amazing to be voted for by the Football Writers’ Association,’ she said. ‘I am really grateful for the award and I hope the night is special, with two Manchester City players getting the award. Many congratulations to Raheem, I think he has been fantastic this year.

‘It has been a fantastic season for us, winning two trophies and will really be fighting for that league trophy next year. It is a fantastic time for women’s football and the England team.’

(Photos PA/Steve Paston)

 

Sterling and Parris at the double in FWA awards

Raheem Sterling is the Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year 2019, and in a unique double for Manchester City and England, Nikita Parris is the FWA’s Women’s Footballer of the Year.

Sterling, the City and England forward was a clear winner in the vote of over 400 FWA members, taking 62 per cent of the poll and 100 votes more than Liverpool defender Virgil Van Dijk. His fellow City forward Sergio Aguero placed third.

Other players to receive votes from FWA members were, in alphabetical order: Harry Kane (Tottenham), Eden Hazard (Chelsea), Alexandre Lacazette (Arsenal), Bernardo Silva and David Silva (Manchester City).

Sterling, 24, becomes the first Manchester City winner of football’s oldest individual award, first handed out in 1948, for 50 years since defender Tony Book shared the 1969 accolade with Derby’s Dave Mackay.

An integral part City’s battle with Liverpool for the Premier League title, Sterling has also received widespread praise for his courageous stance taken against racism in the game.

The England forward has scored 29 goals for club and country this season, helping drive Gareth Southgate’s side to the UEFA Nations League finals and an impressive start in Euro 2020 qualifying.

Sterling, who could yet also end up with an FA Cup winners’ medal, will be presented with the Sir Stanley Matthews Trophy at the 2019 Footballer of the Year dinner, to be held at the Landmark Hotel in London on May 9.

Newly-elected FWA Chair Carrie Brown said: “Raheem Sterling is a player of style and a man of substance.

“More than 70 years ago Charles Buchan, one of the founding fathers of the Footballer Writers’ Association, suggested there be an award presented to the player who by “precept and example” is considered the Footballer of the Year.

“Raheem Sterling is an exemplar of the talent and values our founding fathers sought to reward when they established the FWA in 1947.

“To have been voted the 2019 Footballer of the Year by our members, and with such an overwhelming majority, clearly acknowledges the contribution from a player over one season

but it also recognises the huge impact of Raheem’s courage to challenge preconceptions and fight racism, which will leave a legacy not just for future generations in football but society as a whole. Eyes have been opened, voices found, we are listening and will be at the forefront of the continued drive for equality.

“On the pitch, Raheem has evolved into one of the most dangerous forwards in the world. A player long admired for his tactical intelligence, link-up play and quick feet has now added a devastating finish to his game. The Manchester City forward’s Champions League opener against Tottenham at the Etihad Stadium drew comparisons with Lionel Messi’s goal against Manchester United. Are we approaching a time where Barcelona’s maestro will be forced to  cast a watchful glance over his dropped shoulder at the rising star of Sterling?

“Raheem didn’t set out to be a leader, but he is setting examples in society and in the game which the world is following with interest.

I look forward to presenting him with the Sir Stanley Matthews Trophy on May 9.”

Nikita Parris will also collect her accolade at the gala event. The 25-year-old City and England forward succeeds fellow England striker Fran Kirby, who won the inaugural award last May.

Parris won by the narrowest of margins from Arsenal & Netherlands striker Vivianne Miedema.

The award is decided by a two-stage poll of a panel of experts. The pair emerged as the clear favourites from the first phase, Parris polling one extra vote as both gained at least ten votes more than the next contender. Parris then won by a single vote (11-10) in the second stage.

Steph Houghton, England and Manchester City captain, was third. Other votes in the first stage were cast for Beth Mead, Danielle van de Donk, Leah Williamson (all Arsenal), Magdalena Ericsson, Erin Cuthbert, Karen Carney, Fran Kirby (all Chelsea), Georgia Stanway (Man City), Lucy Bronze (Lyon) and Toni Duggan (Barcelona).

Toxteth-born Parris has been a dynamic and deadly presence in attack for Manchester City and England since joining from Everton in 2015. This season her goals and assists have helped her club to the Women’s FA Cup final, which is at Wembley this Saturday (May 4), and to victory in the Continental Tyres Cup. The FAWSL’s all-time record goalscorer, she was also a key figure in England’s She Believes Cup triumph earlier this year.

Off the field, Parris has joined with the City of Liverpool College to set up the NP17 Football Academy providing sports qualification to students.

 

 

Marie Bowden wins inaugural Ralph Ellis Award

Leicester City’s Marie Bowden has won the first Ralph Ellis Award from the Football Writers’ Association.

The Foxes’ media administrator collected the trophy from Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers ahead of City’s 3-0 win against Arsenal on Sunday.

The award is named in honour of former national committee member Ralph, who ran the Midlands branch and passed away last year.

Marie said: “I’m really shocked, surprised and honoured. I love my job and I love this club. It really is a privilege to win.”

FWA Midlands members voted for a club member of staff – manager, player or member of the media team – who they felt had helped them the most over the season.

The award is a sign of respect from the FWA to club staff and looks to build on the foundations Ralph laid in the Midlands.

Ralph’s son Daniel said: “Dad would have been honoured and completely shocked to have the Ralph Ellis Award for services to the media named after him.

“The FWA want Marie to know that she doesn’t go unnoticed. Like all at Leicester, she carried herself with great dignity in a very difficult time last October when they lost the club’s chairman in an horrific helicopter crash.

“They say that a person’s never really gone while their name’s still spoken.

“From everything we’ve heard and seen since September, things like this award, and with people like Marie helping the relationship between clubs and journalists, my Dad’s legacy is going to live on for a very long time.”

Wolves at the double in FWA Midlands awards

By Nick Mashiter, Press Association and FWA MIdlands branch chairman.

Nuno Espirito Santo and Raul Jimenez completed a Wolves double at the Football Writers’ Association Midlands awards.

Mexico international Jimenez won FWA Midlands Player of the Year while Wolves boss Nuno was named the Manager of the Year on Wednesday April 24.

Members voted for the pair after an impressive first season back in the Premier League for Wolves.

Wolves legend Steve Bull, the club’s record scorer and vice-president, collected the awards on behalf of the pair, who were preparing for their 3-1 win over Arsenal, at the event which was sponsored by law firm Stewarts, along with FWA official sponsor William Hill.

Jimenez, who became the club’s record buy when he turned his loan from Benfica into a permanent £32million transfer last month, has scored 16 goals in all competitions this season.

The striker has netted 12 times in the Premier League and has impressed with his work-rate and the speed with which he has adapted to English football.

Nuno has continued to build on the club’s Sky Bet Championship title win last season and victory over the Gunners put Wolves seventh. They also lost a thrilling FA Cup semi-final 3-2 after extra time to Watford earlier this month.

Wolves have set a new club record points total in the Premier League this season and could return to Europe for the first time since 1981 if they finish seventh and Manchester City beat Watford in the FA Cup final.

Nottingham Forest manager Martin O’Neill, Burton boss Nigel Clough, West Brom interim manager Jimmy Shan and Birmingham boss Garry Monk all attended the lunch, at the Burlington Hotel in central Birmingham.

Ron Atkinson, Steve Froggatt, Kevin Phillips and Geoff Thomas were among other former managers and players in attendance.

A tribute was paid to former Leicester City chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, who was killed in a helicopter crash in October. Sir Doug Ellis and FWA stalwart and ex-West Brom director Jeff Farmer were also remembered, after passing away in the last year.

A raffle for Prostate Cancer UK raised £660 in memory of former national committee member Ralph Ellis who sadly passed away last year. His widow Sue was one of our special guests.

Clubs donated signed memorabilia with the Football Association providing a signed Gareth Southgate England shirt and Leicester donating four hospitality tickets for a game next season.

It was also the first official function for Carrie Brown, our new Chairman, who was with former Chairman Paddy Barclay and Executive Secretary Paul McCarthy.  Jacqui Oatley and Nick Mashiter were also representing the National Committee in what was an undoubted success.

Thanks to Mark Radford photography for the pictures.