Footballer of the Year voting

Voting has opened for Footballer of the Year, and all FWA members should by now have received an email with a code for online voting.  If you have not received an email, however, or would like to register your vote by email, phone, text or post, please contact our executive secretary Paul McCarthy on or 07831 650977 .  Voting closes on midnight April 30th.

Women’s Footballer of the Year shortlist

Five members of Phil Neville’s England squad have been voted on to the shortlist for the FWA’s inaugural Women’s Footballer of the Year award. The short-list was chosen by a 22-strong expert panel, drawn from members of the Football Writers’ Association who report on women’s football.

The five are (in alphabetical order): Lucy Bronze (Lyon), Isobel Christiansen (Manchester City), Fran Kirby (Chelsea), Jordan Nobbs (Arsenal), Jodie Taylor (Arsenal/Melbourne City/Seattle Reign)

Two young English players, Millie Bright (Chelsea) and Nikita Parris (Man City) were very close to making the cut, as was Arsenal’s Dutch striker Vivianne Miedema.

Votes were also received by (in alphabetical order, English unless stated): Eni Aluko (Chelsea), Toni Duggan (Barcelona), Ji So-yun (Chelsea & South Korea), Hedvig Lindahl (Chelsea & Sweden), Maren Mjelde (Chelsea & Norway), Lucy Staniforth (Sunderland), Keira Walsh (Man City), Ellen White (Birmingham City).

The winner will be announced later in the season, after further deliberations.


Lucy Bronze (Lyon) . Voted into the team of the tournament at Euro 2016 after which she left Manchester City for Lyon, the French and European champions. Defender who led England at the recent She Believes Cup.


Isobel Christiansen (Manchester City)  Maturing attacking midfielder who creates and scores goals. Joined from Birmingham City in 2014 and has been a key figure in Manchester City’s rise.


Fran Kirby (Chelsea) . Leading scorer this season with 15 goals in 20 domestic appearances. Signed by Chelsea from Reading for a rumoured record fee in 2015 and scored consistently since.


Jordan Nobbs (Arsenal) England vice-captain who shone at Euro 2016 and has been at the heart of Arsenal’s revival. Midfielder with a penchant for spectacular goals.


Jodie Taylor (Arsenal/Melbourne City/Seattle Reign) Golden Boot winner at Euro 2016 who has since scored for Arsenal, Melbourne City (including the winner in the W-League Grand Final), and now Seattle.

The FWA’s panel will meet again to decide on the winner ahead of the Footballer of the Year dinner on May 10th


Football Book of the Year

Biographies of some of the most successful football managers, past and present, dominate the Football Writers’ Association Book of the Year Award Longlist for 2018.

Now sponsored by Coutts, it is one of 10 categories within the Sports Book Awards Ceremony which takes place at Lord’s Cricket Ground on June 7th.

A total of 12 books made the shortlist, selected by members of the FWA’s books committee, and eight of the authors were present at Coutts’ offices on the Strand for a the announcement on Monday March 19th.

Sir Matt Busby by FWA Chairman Patrick Barclay and Quiet Genius (Life of Bob Paisley) by Ian Herbert will compete in the football book category with David Bolchover’s The Greatest Comeback, the story of Bela Guttmann. Each are European Cup-winning managers, a feat that remains elusive to Mauricio Pochettino, the exciting young coach at Spurs and subject of Brave New World by Sky Sports La Liga pundit Guillem Balague, another FWA member.

Stephen Constantine is a lesser-known veteran coach of six different national teams in four continents. His story, written with Owen AmosFrom Delhi to the Den: The Story of Football’s Most Travelled Manager continues the strong managerial theme running through the list.

Last year’s Autobiography of the Year award winner at the Sports Book Awards, Michael Calvin who co-authored Joey Barton’s life story, is longlisted again with No Hunger in Paradise, the third part in his much celebrated trilogy of football writing. James Montague is another previous winner and his book, The Billionaires Club, takes a delve into the unstoppable rise of football’s super rich owners while Martin Lipton’s White Hart Lane provides football fans with a complete history of Tottenham Hotspur’s home  before it re-opens after redevelopment next season.

Tom van Hulsen’s Game Changers – The Remarkable Story of Dutch Masters Arnold Muhren and Frans Thijssen, celebrates  two great Ipswich Town midfield maestros while Doctor Socrates by Andrew Downie chronicles the maverick, iconic captain of the greatest Brazil side never to win the World Cup. David Tossell’s Alan Ball: The Man in White Boots completes the midfield quartet for the 2018 longlist.

James Corbett’s Faith Of Our Families: Everton FC –An Oral History 1878-2018 is a book told by the people who made the great Merseyside club and completes the long list.

David Willis, Chairman of the Sports Book Awards said: ‘We are delighted to be announcing the Football Writers’ Association Book of the Year Longlist and working in partnership with Coutts for the first time and the highly esteemed Football Writers’ Association.’

Simon Hopes, Director Coutts, in response said: ‘The business of football is very important to Coutts and we are very appreciative of the opportunity to partner with The Sports Book Awards and the Football Writers’ Association for the first time in FIFA World Cup year.’

Mike Collett, Chair of the Football Writers’ Association Books Committee, commented: “We’re incredibly impressed by the quality of this year’s football writing. So much so that we’ve decided to announce this longlist for the first time. We’re thrilled with the continued association with the Sports Book Awards team and by the new sponsorship from Coutts.

“Selecting the winner of this award gets harder every year” added Mike, “It reminds me of the Goal of the Season award — what is better a 30-yard screamer or a goal scored after a mazy run through the defence. ?  The same with these awards, the subjects are so diverse, how do you pick a winner ? The interesting part is that there are certain criteria we set, and the winner invariably meets all of them.
“The standard was so high this year that for the first time, with the backing of the Sports Book Awards organisation we have held a public Long List  launch with eight of the 12 nominated authors able to discuss their work on a panel chaired by FWA Book Committee member Philippe Auclair. It was a fantastic night at Coutts Bank, and many thanks to them and their staff for making the evening such a memorable one.”

The winners of the 2018 Sports Book of the Year Awards will be announced at a gala awards dinner to take place at Lord’s Cricket Ground on the evening of June 7th.

The Sports Book of the Year Awards partners include Sky Sports, The Times, Thomson Reuters, AT Cross and Coutts. The final short lists for the 2018 Sports Book of the Year Awards will be announced at a further reception at Coutts Strand branch on May 10th 2018.

FWA to honour Women’s Footballer of the Year

For the first time in the 71 years of the Footballer of the Year award, the members of the Football Writers’ Association will also be honouring the Women’s Footballer of the Year at its annual dinner on May 10.

The decision to break with tradition recognises the development of the women’s game as chairman Patrick Barclay explained: “The FWA simply felt a need to keep pace. Quite a few of our members now work in women’s football and this reflects our belief in equal opportunity.”

The FWA has formed a sub-committee that features leading figures in the women’s game to decide the winner of the inaugural award – including distinguished internationals Alex Scott and Rachel Finnis- Brown, who have 222 England caps between them.

They will serve on the selection panel alongside some of the most highly respected journalists and broadcasters involved in the women’s game including Jacqui Oatley, Jonathan Pearce, Glenn Moore and Jane Dougall.

Arsenal full-back Alex Scott, said: “I am delighted that the FWA have taken this action – I can’t wait to get down to work with the other judges.”

The Women’s Footballer of the Year trophy will be presented on Thursday May 10 at the Landmark Hotel.

For more information, contact Executive Secretary, Paul McCarthy ( or 07831 650977

FWA members clean up at SJA Journalism Awards

FWA Members scooped some of the top prizes once again at the Sports Journalists’ Association’s annual awards ceremony at the Park Plaza Westminster on Monday February 26.

Danny Taylor of the Guardian led the way with the most prestigious prize, as Sportswriter of the Year, as well as being voted Football writer of the Year.

Danny’s predecessor as Sportswriter of the Year for the past two years, Paul Hayward, won the Columnist of the Year category this time, while his Telegraph colleague Jeremy Wilson was voted Investigative Sports Reporter of the Year for his groundbreaking work highlighting the links between football and dementia.

The Mail’s Matt Lawton won Sports News Reporter for a remarkable fourth successive time, while the Regional Journalist award went to Chris Wathan who has just joined the BBC from Media Wales.

And there was a special award for David Walker, the outgoing Mirror sports editor, who won the Doug Gardner award for services to sports journalism.

Numerous FWA members were also shortlisted and commended in many categories. You can see a full list of the prize-winners at the SJA website here:

Danny Taylor receives his Sportswriter of the Year award from FWA Life Member and SJA President Pat Collins

Defoe, Benitez, Lascelles and Pickford collect awards

Jermain Defoe led a star-studded awards evening at the North East Football Writers’ Association annual dinner at the Ramside Hall in Durham on Sunday night.

The Bournemouth striker collected a special award from the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation for his work with Bradley Lowery as the young Sunderland fan fought an ultimately unsuccessful fight against cancer.

Defoe was presented with his award by Bradley’s mum Gemma, in an emotional moment on  a glittering evening.   Rafa Benitez was rewarded for winning the Championship title with Newcastle last season, while United captain Jamaal Lascelles collected the NE Player of the Year trophy, which he won in tandem with team-mate Matt Ritchie.

Jordan Pickford was named NE Young Player of the Year for the second season running, and there were also awards for two of the North East’s finest journalists – George Caulkin of the Times and Ray Robertson, who organised the dinner for many years and was honoured with Life Membership of the FWA.

Congratulations must go to Colin Young for organising another successful evening in his tireless way, and also to our title sponsors William Hill for their support.

Watch out for more reports and video from the event…

Special award at North East FWA Dinner


The friendship between former Sunderland striker, Jermain Defoe, and young cancer patient, Bradley Lowery, touched everyone who saw the pair together.

Bradley, from Blackhall Colliery, was diagnosed with neuroblastoma at only 18-months-old and last year his mum, Gemma, shared the devastating news that the cancer was terminal. He passed away in July aged just six.

Jermain’s compassion towards his young friend, and his help raising awareness of neuroblastoma, will be recognised at the North East Football Writers’ Association’s Awards later this month (Sunday 25th February) where he will be named the North East Personality of the Year.

The prestigious award is given in association with the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and recognises someone who uses their position in football to benefit the wider community, and a special trophy has been created by Kalki Mansel, a hot glass artist and designer at the National Glass Centre in Sunderland.

Bradley’s Mum, Gemma, was proud to personally add the finishing touches to it by blowing the glass.

Gemma said: “It was fantastic that Jermain became such a friend to Bradley and his continued friendship to us now means a lot.

“He had so much to do with us all in the final weeks of Bradley’s life and he hasn’t just left things there. Jermain is a Patron of the Bradley Lowery Foundation and he wants to be involved because that’s where his heart is.

“This award is something to be grateful for and it’s nice that Jermain is receiving recognition, although he said he doesn’t need that. Everything he has done came from his kindness and the goodness of his heart.

“Sadly, Bradley’s not here to help but I hope I’m the next best thing and I enjoyed helping make the award. I’m sure Jermain will love it.”

Jermain first met Bradley when he was a mascot for Sunderland AFC in 2016 and a very special bond grew between them.

Now a player for Bournemouth, Jermain returned to the North East to spend time with Bradley at his County Durham home just before he died. A week later, he returned again, this time to attend Bradley’s funeral. Jermain wore his England shirt in honour of his young friend.

Lady Elsie says: “This award is very important to the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and we can’t think of anyone more appropriate to receive it than Jermain. It’s been absolutely fascinating to see the award being made and a great pleasure to meet Gemma. She’s an extraordinary woman and I admire her positivity and strength during such a difficult time.”

Held annually at Ramside Hall Hotel in Durham, the North East Football Writers’ Association Awards night, sponsored by William Hill, raises funds for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, which helps find more effective ways to detect and treat cancer.

The charity recently made a £1million contribution to fund clinical research and nursing posts at the new Wolfson Childhood Cancer Research Centre at Newcastle University.

Colin Young, secretary of the North East Football Writers’ Association, adds: “Our awards night is a chance to celebrate all that’s good about football in this area. Joining with the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation to honour Jermain highlights the positive things football can do.

“Very sadly, Colin Verne-Jones from Durham Trophies, who supplied our awards for many years, died suddenly from cancer within weeks of last year’s event.

“We had to think of a new approach to the trophies for this year and wanted to make them very special and from this region. Commissioning trophies from the National Glass Centre seemed the ideal choice. And Jermain’s is all the more perfect because of Gemma’s input into it. We’re glad that Jermain will have a lasting reminder of his time in the North East with him when he leaves our awards event.”

The North East Football Writers’ Association Awards will be held on Sunday 25th February at Ramside Hall Hotel.  Other recipients of awards include Men’s Players of the Year, Jamaal Lascelles and Matt Ritchie, Young Player of the Year, Jordan Pickford, and Womens’ Player of the Year, Victoria Williams.

There will also be special presentations to Newcastle United manager, Rafa Benitez, and non-league clubs Blyth Spartans, Spennymoor Town and South Shields.

Tickets to the black tie event are available now at £58 per person, which includes a four course meal and entertainment.  Please call Claire Stephen on 0191 375 3080 or email for more information or to book tickets.

Below are pictures of Gemma Lowery, Bradley’s Mum, and one with the glass designer Kalki Mansel alongside Lady Elsie Robson, Colin Young and Gemma Lowery.

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Jeremy Wilson scoops prestigious award

Jeremy Wilson rewarded for groundbreaking coverage of dementia in football.

FWA member and Telegraph reporter Jeremy Wilson has won a prestigious honour at Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Friendly Awards after spearheading a campaign for research into potential links between playing football and dementia.

The Daily Telegraph’s deputy football correspondent won the National Journalist of the Year Award for a series of hard-hitting stories about former footballers who are living with dementia and their families.

Through a series of interviews and investigative news reports, Jeremy has championed change since reporting how half the surviving outfield 1966 England World Cup-winning team had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or memory loss.

The Telegraph immediately called on the authorities to commission independent research into the prevalence of dementia in football and Jeremy personally met with families of former players, reporting with great care and diligence the different symptoms and the full devastating impact on their lives.

Jeremy’s work culminated in a major breakthrough with the announcement last week of a major study assessing whether footballers are at greater risk of degenerative brain disease, jointly commissioned by the Football Association and Professional Footballers’ Association.

Jeremy said: “I am thrilled. Like many families I have been affected by dementia as both my grandmothers had this condition and therefore it feels extra special and a little bit more personal.

“Above all, I am delighted for the families of the footballers as they have trusted us to tell their stories. They have driven the campaign to get answers from football and I am really pleased their stories are being heard.”

Jeremy was accompanied by Dawn Astle, the daughter of former England international Jeff Astle. Dawn and family have been campaigning on what they call ‘sport’s silent scandal’ since an inquest found that Jeff died in 2002 from head injuries caused by playing football.

Dawn said: “I had to fight back the tears when it was announced that Jeremy had won. He really is a fabulous journalist but he has got a heart of gold as well.

“I feel so lucky that he has got stuck into this issue – and the work that he has done has meant that families in the world of football who are affected by dementia will get answers to their questions on the links between the two.”

Alzheimer’s Society Chief Executive Jeremy Hughes said: “With skill and sensitivity, Jeremy has done the newspaper industry proud by uniting with many retired footballers and their families to tell the moving stories of how dementia has affected them.

“His tenacious journalism prompted other families to tell their stories and was featured across other national media, including the BBC and Sky News, to tackle once and for all the taboo that has forced many people to keep dementia a secret.


“Jeremy has also led a successful Telegraph campaign for new research. It has been followed by our national game’s governing body, the Football Association, and Professional Footballers’ Association funding research into potential links between dementia and playing football.”

Alzheimer’s Society ambassador Angela Rippon hosted the Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Friendly Awards 2017 which have been sponsored by British Gas and are now in their fourth year.

“Dementia devastates lives and, by 2021, one million people will be living with dementia across the UK,” added Mr Hughes.

    • Alzheimer’s Society relies on voluntary donations to continue its vital work. You can donate now by calling 0330 333 0804 or visiting 

Jeremy Wilson scoops award

FWA Northern Managers Awards dinner

The Northern branch of the FWA staged another very successful awards night in Manchester on Sunday November 26th, with a host of leading managers and football personalities in attendance.

David Wagner made it back from Huddersfield’s game with Manchester City in time for the dinner, and Sean Dyche returned from  Burnley’s defeat by Arsenal to attend, along with award-winning managers Chris Wilder, Phil Parkinson, Gary Bowyer, Gary Mills, Graham Fenton and  Lee Picton.  Nick Cushing and Darren Ferguson also won awards but were unable to attend, as were Jose Mourinho and Rafa Benitez, who sent recorded acceptance speeches.

They were joined by legends Bryan Robson and Dennis Tueart, and many others for an event that raised thousands of pounds for the designated children’s charity, The Seashell Trust.



The Football Writers’ Association is delighted to announce that Pele, arguably the greatest footballer of all, will be joining us at the Savoy Hotel on January 21st to receive this year’s FWA Tribute Award.

Pele, 77, has accepted our invitation to join some of the greatest names in world football as recipients of the FWA Tribute Award, and will be flying in from America to collect it at our annual gala dinner at the Savoy.

His achievements should not need repeating, as a member of three World Cup-winning sides, the scorer of over 1000 goals, and numerous personal accolades during a glittering 15-year career.

Paul McCarthy, the FWA’s executive secretary, said: “Traditionally, we have honoured those who have made an outstanding contribution to the British game but I’m sure you will agree that in a World Cup year and on the 60th anniversary of his first appearance in a World Cup, there can be no more fitting recipient than Pele.”

Tickets are on sale now and FWA members should receive an email with details.