Footballer of the Year

Preparations are underway for our Footballer of the Year and Women’s Footballer of the Year awards dinner, which will be held at the Landmark Hotel, London on Thursday May 9.

Below is a note from the FWA’s Executive Secretary Paul McCarthy outlining how FWA members can vote for their choice and apply for tickets to the dinner, one of the top nights in the sporting calendar:

“Dear Member,
It’s that time of the year when planning starts for the FWA Footballer of the Year Dinner. This year’s event will be on Thursday, May 9 at The Landmark Hotel, 222 Marylebone Road in London.
Before that, of course, we begin voting for our Footballer of the Year 2019. Voting will open on Monday April 1 and will close at midnight on April 28 with the winner to be announced the following day. All members will receive a unique voting code with which they can register their vote online. Alternatively, you can register your vote by phone, text or WhatsApp on 07831 650977 or by email to paul@maccamedia.co.uk
The Women’s Footballer of the Year will again be selected by a chosen panel of experts and also announced on April 29.
In terms of the dinner, I am now taking bookings for full tables of either 10 or 12 or individual tickets. Thanks to the generosity of our title sponsors, William Hill, we have held the prices at £85 for members and £90 for non-members. Please indicate on your ticket application the split you require.
The menu for the dinner is as follows;
Chilled veloute of green asparagus and chervil crème fraiche 
Lemon preserved chicken, chick peas, baby spinach, chorizo and baked aubergine, smoked paprika sauce
Passion fruit and mango pavlova, Chantilly cream, coconut sorbet.
Vegetarian and vegan options are available and I would be grateful if you could alert either myself or Kristy Mitten (kristy.mitten@thelandmark.co.uk) at the hotel to any dietary requirements when you book your tables/tickets. Wine and drink order forms will be distributed in due course to all table hosts or individual ticket holders.
To book tickets, please contact me on paul@maccamedia.co.uk as this is the only address where tickets can be booked. I will then forward an invoice with all payment details.
Could all LIFE MEMBERS please let me know if they want to take up your complimentary tickets at the above address.
As ever, tables will sell rapidly so I would advise you let me know your requirements as quickly as possible.
I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible on May 9.
Kind regards
Paul McCarthy
Executive Secretary

Chelsea Ladies Fran Kirby poses with FWA Women’s Footballer of the Year 2018 awards during the FWA Footballer of the Year Dinner at The Landmark Hotel, London. Photo credit: Steven Paston/PA Wire

Football Writers Association Patrick Barclay hands over to Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah the 2018 FWA Footballer of the Year 2018 awards during the FWA Footballer of the Year Dinner at The Landmark Hotel, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday May 10, 2018. Photo credit: Steven Paston/PA Wire

FWA members honoured at SJA Awards night

FWA members Paul Hayward, Jonathan Liew, James Olley, Danny Taylor and John Richardson collected prizes for their outstanding work at the Sports Journalists’ Association’s annual awards night on Monday.

Hayward of the Telegraph won the Sports Writer of the Year award for the fifth time while last year’s winner, the Guardian’s Taylor, was named Football Writer of the Year for the fourth year running.

The Independent’s Liew, who sits on the FWA National Committee, was voted Sports Columnist of the Year, to follow up on his Young Journalist of the Year award in 2011. Olley of the Evening Standard missed out on the Regional Journalist of the Year award, which he had won in 2015 but then collected the Scoop of the Year trophy for his exclusive story that the FA were considering selling Wembley stadium.

Finally John Richardson was perhaps the most popular winner on the night when he was named Sports News Reporter of the Year for his brilliant work at the Sunday Mirror.

Mark Demuth, head of sport at ITV and another FWA member, also collected the award for ITV’s coverage of Royal Ascot, and the Doug Gardner Award for an outstanding contribution to sports journalism went to Barry Davies, the sports commentator.

The Daily Mail was voted Sports Newspaper of the Year, and the Mail online won the best website award.

More than 600 guests packed the Park Plaza Westminster for the ceremony, and a full list of winners can be found at the SJA website http://www.sportsjournalists.co.uk

Shearer leads North East FWA award-winners

Alan Shearer led a glittering line-up at the North East FWA’s annual awards dinner, as the former Newcastle and England captain collected the region’s Personality of the Year award, in association with the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

Shearer was one of many famous football faces at the Ramside Hall, Durham, for another great evening that was superbly organised as ever by Colin Young, secretary of the North East branch of the FWA.

Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka collected the Player of the Year award, while Sunderland’s manager Jack Ross picked up the Young Player of the Year award on behalf of the club’s former striker Josh Maja.

Beth Hepple of Durham was voted Womens’ Player of the Year, and presentations were made to Stockton Town, South Shields and Marske United in recognition of their successes in non-league football last season.

There were also special awards for two people who have worked closely with the FWA over the years. Adrian Bevington, former head of communications for Middlesbrough and England who is now Boro’s head of recruitment, was presented with the Bob Cass award for his outstanding contribution to North East football.

And Louise Wanless, who also worked at Boro before becoming head of communications at Sunderland, won the John Fotheringham Award.

Steve Harper spoke wittily about his good friend Shearer, who then gave an insight to his life as a player turned pundit, in a Q and A session with BBC’s Ian Dennis who conducted his Master of Ceremonies duties with superb professionalism.

Shearer has raised over £11m for charities since retiring, and said he gets more satisfaction from his charity work than any of his many achievements on the pitch. The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, for whom Shearer is a patron, was also represented.

Other former players included Gary Pallister, Kevin Ball, Jim Montgomerie, Craig Hignett, Martin Gray and John Hendrie. The FWA National Committee was represented by former Chairman Steve Bates, Gerry Cox and Paul McCarthy, and the evening was supported superbly by our sponsors William Hill.

“This is always a special night, bringing together the region’s football family and celebrating the best of the game,” said Colin Young, who paid special tribute to the Ramside Hall for hosting the event.

“The focus is often on the Player of the Year awards and we were proud to honour both Martin Dubravka and Beth Hepple.

“However, it’s also very important that we recognise the significant contributions made by dedicated individuals within the game and the wider community, and we were grateful to have the opportunity to do that last night.”

 

Gareth Southgate honoured by the FWA

Gareth Southgate became the latest recipient of the FWA Tribute Award at a star-studded ceremony in London’s Savoy Hotel on Sunday January 20.

The England manager was honoured for leading the Three Lions to the World Cup final last summer, and importantly for helping to reconnect the national team to their fans and the media.

Southgate gave a superb speech, thanking the FWA and talking about the work England have yet to do, starting with this summers Nation’s League finals in Portugal. He also presented Charlie Sale, who is retiring from the Daily Mail, with the infamous dartboard on which England’s players took on the media during the World Cup in Russia.

Gary Lineker spoke with great humour and wit about what it is like to be an England captain at a World Cup, carrying the nation’s hopes, and he was foillowed by Ben Williams, the former Royal Marines Commando who led England’s players and manager through a three-day bootcamp last year.

Finally FWA Chairman Patrick Barclay paid tribute to Southgate and introduced a tribute film put together by Gabriel Clarke and Sean Martin of ITV Sport.

For more on what was a memorable night, please visit the FWA’s social media feeds and YouTube channel to see video and photos from the event. https://youtu.be/-lo1BUbSDVI

Gareth Southgate to be honoured by the FWA

We at the Football Writers’ Association are delighted to announce that the recipient of our Tribute Evening at the Savoy in January will be Gareth Southgate.
Following discussions with Gareth, his team and the FA, we have decided against our traditional event. Unlike previous Tribute dinners, this one will not focus solely on Gareth’s career but on what he has created as England manager with a new style of leadership and culture which helped the squad to a World Cup semi-final this summer.
It will also be a celebration of the squad and staff as a whole and Gareth’s determination to bring the England team closer to both the supporters and the media, something which he achieved with spectacular effect during the summer and post-World Cup.
The speakers on the evening will reflect the significant change in culture and Gareth’s determination to build on the foundations in Russia as England prepare for fresh challenges.
The dinner will take place on Sunday January 20, 2019 at The Savoy and the ticket price has been held at £96 per person thanks to the generosity of our title sponsors, William Hill.
FWA members can purchase tickets individually or in tables of either 10 or 12, and we are able to take bookings for smaller groups of FWA members. Please let Paul McCarthy, FWA Executive Secretary, know your ticket requirements by email paul@maccamedia.co.uk
We look forward to an enjoyable night, which is one of the highlights our calendar.

Photos: Press Association Images

FWA Northern Awards dinner

Pep Guardiola led a host of successful managers honoured by the Northern branch of the FWA at the annual awards dinner in Manchester on Sunday November 4.

Guardiola was honoured after winning the Premier League title with Manchester City, and he was joined at the top table be fellow winners Tony Mowbray of Blackburn Rovers, Micky Mellon of Tranmere, Rotherham’s Paul Warne, John Coleman of Accrington Stanley and John Askey for his success with Macclesfield Town. Paul Cook of Wigan was unable to attend for personal reasons, but his assistant Liam Robinson accepted the award in his place.

Guardiola thanked the football writers for making him feel at home in Manchester, and his full acceptance speech can be seen on our YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=37gBQPlbo08

A substantial sum was raised for the designated charity, Clare House Children’s Hospice.

Thanks to Dick Bott, Paul Hetherington, Andy Dunn and Steve Bates for their sterling work in organising the event, and also to our sponsors William Hill for supporting it.

Jurgen Klopp’s remarkable message to Mo Salah, the FWA, Rhian Brewster and Gareth Southgate

Jurgen Klopp sent a remarkable message to Mo Salah, the FWA, Liverpool teenager Rhian Brewster and Gareth Southgate on Thursday evening (May 10) as the ‘Egyptian King’ collected the Footballer of the Year award.

Klopp was unable to attend the FWA dinner because he was at Liverpool’s own awards ceremony, from which Salah jetted down to London in time to be presented with his trophy.

Instead the Liverpool manager prepared a thoughtful and at times moving speech which, was read out by FWA Chairman Patrick Barclay. In it he paid tribute to Mo Salah as a model professional and role model, thanked the FWA and football journalists for their dealings with him and in particular for highlighting the racism suffered in Europe by Liverpool and England teenager Rhian Brewster, who was on the club’s table at the dinner, along with Troy Townsend from Kick it Out and Matt McCann, Liverpool’s head of communications. Matt worked tirelessly to ensure Mo made it to the dinner, and we thank him and his team for their efforts.

Jurgen Klopp’s message was so well received by the audience of journalists, football personalities and their guests, that we have reprinted it in full here:

 

Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen,

Firstly – please accept my apologies for not being with you in person tonight.It is the club’s own award ceremony at Anfield and as such I need to prioritise being here with the rest of the team. Given this is the Football WRITERS Association I thought a written acknowledgement from me – that someone could read out on the evening – would make more sense than a recorded message.  In terms of a Liverpool presence at your event tonight, hopefully we have managed to show the respect it deserves – despite the clash with our own annual awards.

Your winner – Mr Salah is either with you now or on his way – depending when this message is read out. It is typical of Mo’s character that he was so keen to attend. And I don’t mean greedy for awards – but being gracious and good mannered to make every effort to be there in person and thank you for the honour.

There’s not much I can say about what he does ‘on the pitch’ that you guys haven’t already seen and written about. The fact you have voted for him as your ‘player of the season’ reflects that you have witnessed his incredible quality as a footballer. But it’s his qualities as a person that should not be overlooked.

I read and hear about him being a wonderful role model for Egypt – North Africa – for the wider Arabic world and for Muslims. This of course is true – but he is a role model FULL STOP. Regardless of race or religion – country or region of birth. The only ‘labels’ we should put on Mo is what a good person he is and what a fantastic footballer he is – and by the way – the first part of that is more important in life than the second.  Mo is someone who sets an example of how to approach life and how to treat others.

Around Melwood – with his teammates and the club staff – he is gentle and humble – despite being the international superstar he is now. The attention and acclaim has not changed him even by 0.01% percent.

He arrived at Liverpool humble and warm and this is the same boy who comes to be with you all tonight to accept your generous recognition. Although – maybe a little more tired and weary of selfies and autographs – so keep that in mind please. Mo, we are very proud of you and thankful for what you have done for this team and club – and of course we look forward to sharing many more seasons with you at Liverpool.

In a season when Manchester City have been outstandingly good – and played outstandingly well – football from another planet – you have won the two major awards. The one voted for by your fellow professionals and now the one voted for by the football writers. You are World Class Mo – truly world class – and what’s even more exciting – for you – for Liverpool – and for the public who get to watch you play – you can and will get even better.

Congratulations my friend. 

Aside from Mo – I have another member of my team with you all this evening – and his presence is – I believe – recognition of the importance of your industry. Writing and journalism.

Rhian Brewster is just 18 years old. During the past 12 months Rhian has established himself as one of the most exciting prospects in English football. He has grown and risen in status at Liverpool. He won the world cup for your country at his age level – he won the golden boot at that very same tournament. He made his family – his friends – his club – and his country proud in doing what he did on the football pitch.

But it was away from the football pitch – and instead in the pages of a UK newspaper – where Rhian made an even bigger impact on the game we all love and even a significant impact on society. Aged just 17 at the time – and at his own behest – albeit with the support of his family and friends – plus the support of the incredible academy staff at Liverpool – he sat and spoke about racism in modern football with the same power, command and composure that he shows when playing.

The newspaper who carried the original story was then supported by other journalists – and other publications – many of whom I am sure are in the room tonight – in making sure Rhian’s voice was loud and clear in articulating that racism and discrimination still exists and persists in our game. That it takes a 17-year-old boy to do this is as frustrating and depressing as it is inspirational and uplifting. That many of you in the room were so supportive in spreading his message is testimony to journalism in this country.

It is fitting that alongside Rhian – as part of the LFC table tonight – is Troy Townsend and other colleagues from Kick it Out. Troy and Kick It Out supported Rhian, Liverpool and other players during the very difficult periods following the occasions of racist abuse. They do so for players, staff, supporters up and down the country.

Troy and the team at Kick It Out help to educate players and staff at Liverpool – be it first team, academy or Ladies – on the importance of recognising we all still have lessons to learn in football – and in life – to ensure we are inclusive and not discriminatory.

As Rhian articulated so well in his interview – in England we are fortunate that big strides have been made whereby his own experiences have been largely restricted to European and International competitions – but sadly racism and discrimination is not exclusive to football overseas and therefore Troy and Kick It Out are still as important as ever to the game in this country. I would like to finish with two points – and I hope they do not in any way sound ‘preachy’ – if they do – blame the person reading it – it is their fault clearly.

The first is to thank the English media for the coverage it continues to give football in this country. I am probably guilty – like many on my side of it – of bemoaning “THE PRESS” at times – lumping everyone in together – but I know the game enjoys the prominence and profile in England because the media devotes so much time and energy to covering it.

In some respects, those of you in this room share the same journey as the players you cover. You have to show dedication and sacrifice – you have to constantly keep learning your job and adapt to changes – you make mistakes and learn from them – you are under huge pressure to deliver. And maybe it is good old English irony that in the age of social media many of you are now subjected the same security and comment on your performance.

And that brings me to my second and final point – in a world cup year – where many in this room will no doubt be writing and broadcasting on the players performing for their country. Clearly as a German I will be supporting my own country – and I have actually lost count of the number of countries I have claimed to be backing as my second team In Russia. I suppose that depends on the nationality of the reporter asking – I think to date I have said “if not Germany then…” and declared for Egypt – Senegal – Croatia – Serbia – Brazil and even Iceland.

If Mo Salah is in the room – then Mo – ignore this next bit – because of course if not Germany then it must be Egypt. But – England is a team I now have great interest in and I really wish Gareth, his staff and the team the best of luck. Gareth is still a relatively young manager – and both for him as a coach and many of his players – I think this will be a first World Cup at senior level.

I think as the English media you can help them – if you are minded in doing so. And that doesn’t mean be ‘cheerleaders’ or ‘ignore’ failure and mistakes. It just means remember they are a group of relatively young people who will be giving their best and trying their hardest to make a nation proud and happy.  You are blessed in this country with wonderfully talented, skilful, honest, committed and tactically astute players. You are blessed with a coach who is brave and innovative.

England has the tools – because the manager and the players have the mentality – attitude – character… it is all there for you. Maybe reduce the pressure a notch or two – that is where you can help I think. Maybe take the numbers 1966 off your computer keyboards for the summer and let this team write their own history and memories. Regardless – I hope those of you travelling to Russia have a tournament to enjoy and remember for the right reasons.

Enjoy your evening and thank you for making the right decision when voting, and for once, I don’t mean BREXIT.

HAVE A GREAT NIGHT AND WELL DONE MO

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp PA Images

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp with Mohamed Salah. PA Images

Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah poses with his FWA Footballer of the Year 2018 award alongside team-mate Rhian Brewster during the FWA Footballer of the Year Dinner at The Landmark Hotel, London.  PA Images

Salah and Kirby collect FWA awards

Mo Salah of Liverpool and Fran Kirby of Chelsea Ladies collected their Footballer and Womens Footballer of the Year awards at the Football Writes’ Association’s annual dinner in London on Thursday May 10.

Both stars were enormously popular winners and gave thanked the FWA and their football colleagues in their speeches. Both had other commitments in their busy schedules – Kirby left later in the evening to attend Chelsea’s awards night, while Salah flew in by private jet from Liverpool’s own awards event.

FWA Chairman Patrick Barclay handed Salah’s award to the Liverpool striker, who is the first African and Arabic player to win the award, which has been running since 1948.  Phil Neville, manager of the England Women’s team, presented Kirby’s award and raised a toast to the FWA.

The evening was attended by a host of stars from the world of football including former Footballers of the Year Pat Jennings and Gary Lineker. Chris Hughton of Brighton was one of the many managers in attendance, along with other players from past and present, including Peter Crouch, Joe Jordan, Pat Nevin, Lawrie McMenemy, Tony Cascarino, Alan Smith, and many more.

Mo Salah said: “I am always happy when I think I’ve achieved something and get awards. I work hard for that. I always want to work hard for my team. I was here four years ago (with Chelsea) and a lot of people were saying ‘he couldn’t play in the Premier League and it is very difficult for him’, so it was always in my mind to come back

“From the day I left Chelsea it was always in my mind to come back to make them wrong. So now I make them wrong. I’m not the same player. I improved a lot in Rome but I can’t say everything is down to me. The team-mates maybe different, the coach and staff, they make my game easier and they always help me ion and off the pitch, so I have to thank all of them.”

Fran Kirby said:  “This awards is massive for me and my family, it is amazing for the women’s game. Hopefully you can see the dedication we are putting into it, on and off the pitch. It is a massive achievement for me and for women’s football. I hope we continue to get your support throughout all the seasons, because it really is going to the next level.”

Phil Neville raised a toast to Sir Alex Ferguson as his former manager recovers from illness. The England women’s team manager then presented the FWA’s first Women’s Footballer of the Year award to Fran Kirby saying: “She is my little number 10, the one I look to to unlock the door with individual brilliance.

“She has had an unbelievable season for England and Chelsea, I saw her score a fabulous goal in the FA Cup final at Wembley. She is a special player who has had an unbelievable season, which I have seen week in and week out, as well as three or four camps with England. She wants to be the best footballer in the world and she will achieve that with her dedication, but Fran is a fantastic person as well.”

Former FWA chairmen Steve Bates and Paul Hetherington were also awarded life-memberships of the FWA for their tremendous service over the years.

Chelsea Ladies Fran Kirby poses with FWA Women’s Footballer of the Year 2018 awards during the FWA Footballer of the Year Dinner at The Landmark Hotel, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday May 10, 2018. Photo credit: Steven Paston/PA Wire

Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah the FWA Footballer of the Year 2018 awards during the FWA Footballer of the Year Dinner at The Landmark Hotel, London.

MO SALAH IS FOOTBALLER OF THE YEAR

SALAH IS FOOTBALLER OF THE YEAR
Mohamed Salah is the Football Writers’ Association’s Footballer of the Year.

The Liverpool forward narrowly beat Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne in a ballot of over 400 FWA members, with the winning margin less than 20 votes.

Tottenham striker Harry Kane was placed third.

Between them, Salah and De Bruyne polled more than 90 per cent of the FWA member votes.

The Egyptian, 25, becomes the first African winner of the football’s oldest individual award, which has been running since 1948. Salah will be presented with his trophy at the 2018 FWA Footballer of the Year dinner, to be held at the Landmark Hotel in London on May 10.

Patrick Barclay, FWA Chairman, said: “It’s been the tightest call since 1968/69, when there was a dead heat between Tony Book of Manchester City and Derby’s Dave Mackay.

“Right up to the last week or so we thought it might happen again, so strong was the support for Kevin de Bruyne, but Mo Salah’s relentless match-winning form, exemplified by his two great goals against Roma, seems to have swung the vote by a very narrow margin.

“What a race it has been between two players who, in a relatively short time, have reached genuine world class. But Mo Salah is the worthiest of winners. He is also the first African to receive the award and we congratulate him on a magnificent season.”

The FWA has also introduced the inaugural FWA Women’s Footballer of the Year Award, which was won by Chelsea and England forward Fran Kirby, who will collect her accolade at the gala event.

Both Kirby and Salah were also voted PFA Players of the Year last month.

Other players to receive votes from FWA members were, in alphabetical order: Sergio Aguero (Man City), Christian Eriksen (Tottenham), Roberto Firmino (Liverpool), Nick Pope (Burnley), David Silva (Manchester City), Raheem Sterling (Man City) and Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham).

You can see the full list of previous winners, starting with Sir Stanley Matthews in 1947, here: http://footballwriters.co.uk/previous-foty

Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah celebrates scoring his side’s first goal of the game during the UEFA Champions League, Quarter Final at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester.

Footballer of the Year – voting deadline tonight

A reminder that voting closes at midnight tonight (April 30) for the Footballer of the Year, so if you have yet to cast your vote, make sure you do so today.  Mohammed Salah and Kevin de Bruyne are among the front-runners, but you are, of course, free to vote for whichever player you consider, by precept and example, to be the Footballer of the Year.  Last year’s winner was N’Golo Kante, who finished ajhead of Chelsea team-mate Eden Hazard and Tottenham’s Dele Alli.

The winner will be announced tomorrow (Tuesday May 1) at 10am, and will be honoured at the Footballer of the Year dinner on May 10th at the Landmark Hotel.

All FWA members can vote via the link on this website, or by email or phone to FWA Executive Secretary Paul McCarthy