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.

 

Carrie Brown becomes first female Chair of the FWA

CARRIE BROWN has succeeded Paddy Barclay as Chair of the Football Writers’ Association, the first woman to hold the role and the first female chair of a major football organisation.

Carrie, who is Senior Sports Correspondent for beIN Sport, was elected unanimously at the FWA’s Annual General Meeting on April 23.

She has been an FWA member for more than ten years and an active member of the National Executive Committee for the past two years.

Carrie said: “It was first a considerable source of pride simply to be considered for membership of the Football Writers’ Association over a decade ago. In the past two years, I have witnessed and been wholly impressed by the drive and determination of Paddy to promote diversity within the FWA and especially among the Executive Committee. Today, I am honoured to have been voted into the role of Chair but accept the position in the knowledge this role should have been taken by our late vice-chair Vikki Orvice.

“Vikki was an early and ever-present support and role model in my career. I will not try to emulate or follow her path but I do hope I can make her and our members proud.”

Paddy Barclay has overseen a huge rise in the number and diversity of members over the past few years, and the FWA now has 430 full members and over 100 student members, as well as a mentoring scheme for young journalists.

Paddy said: “Carrie will continue and enhance the development of the FWA in every sense. She has made a great impact on the organisation in a relatively short time and yet the energy she has put into this crucial contribution to our modernisation is balanced by a respect for history.

“Yes, we have made progress in terms of membership and, within that, diversity. But within the next few years progress will harden into true, undeniable and irrevocable character. Nothing could make me more sure of that than the election of Carrie Brown.”

Also leaving the National Committee after more than 20 years is Mike Collett, the former global editor of football for Reuters. Mike has served the FWA with distinction, not least in researching the history of the association back to its founding fathers in 1947. Just recently Mike sourced a collection of memorabilia from the family of Ivan Sharpe, Chairman for the the FWA’s first six years, and handed it over to the National Football Museum, who will have a permanent exhibition space dedicated to the FWA.

Joining the National Committee in their place are three members who demonstrate the association’s drive for diversity in terms of age, ethnicity and gender. Alyson Rudd of The Times has been a mainstay of newspaper football coverage for over 20 years, Kelly Cates of Sky and BBC Radiio is a highly-respected broadcaster, and Joel Beya from Cheeky Sport represents the new wave of multimedia journalists in the digital world.

Their recruitment to the National Committee follows that of Sam Cunningham of The I newspaper, Darren Lewis of the Mirror, Jonathan Liew of the Independent and broadcaster Jacqui Oatley, who have all joined in the past year.

You can see Carrie’s first interview as Chair of the FWA here: https://youtu.be/S-s-xMGkymA

FWA AGM – Tuesday April 23

The Annual General Meeting of the Football Writers’ Association will be held at noon on Tuesday April 23 at The Old Bank of England, Fleet Street. 

 All National Committee members seeking re-election must attend or give a minimum 72 hours notice of apology.

All FWA members are welcome.  Please let Executive Secretary Paul McCarthy know if you wish to attend.

 

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

Hugh McIlvanney memorial service

A memorial service for Hugh McIlvanney will be held at St Bride’s Church, Fleet Street, London EC4 at 11.30am on Thursday 16 May.

St Bride’s is described as ‘the spiritual home of the media’ so it is a fitting venue for friends, family and former colleagues to remember Hugh, who passed away earlier this year after a long fight with cancer.

FWA Chairman Patrick Barclay, Hugh’s close friend, said: “It will be quite an occasion as we celebrate the life of arguably the greatest sports writer of all. Already I have been made aware that many of Hugh’s admirers from outside journalism would like to join us. They would be more than welcome and I know that would be Hugh’s wish. If they have time to inform the FWA in advance, we’d really appreciate it and shall try to allocate seats.”

More details will follow in due course.

 

Raise Your Game – Racism in Football

Darren Lewis of the Mirror and FWA’s National Committee attended a debate on Racism in Football, organised by Kick it Out, at BBC Centre, London on March 19. Here are his thoughts…

WE KNOW the numbers.

The people who run the game, who run our media and the industry know all about the glass ceilings and scandalous representation within it.

So it was a breath of fresh air to see football being asked, at Kick It Out’s Raise Your Game event last night, what it intends to do about it.

It was refreshing to hear tough questions being put to the game’s stakeholders. 

It was an education – even now – to hear players offering different perspectives on the racial abuse they suffered over so many years. To see the light shone on grass roots football and its frustrations at being ignored as the game takes a long hard look at itself.

Football needs to face up to the harsh realities put forward in that central London meeting room last night. We can only have so many panels. We can only have so many investigations. 

We can only have so expressions of sympathy from the game without substantive action to actually change things. We in the written press need to look at ourselves and finally listen to the concerns expressed over many, many years about the representation of young black men.

The broadcast media needs to have more people of colour asking the questions, making decisions about policy, approving content. 

It is laughable that there are so few decision-makers of colour with any power in the upper echelons of the FA and the Premier League when football has had so many influential black leaders over the past five decades.

Ex-West Ham striker Carlton Cole, who spoke powerfully on the night, said: “It was a discussion that needed to had. 

“Everyone had a point. Some of the people in the room got things off their chest. Now it’s all about action.”

The Vanarama National League column – Wannabes

Glenn Moore looks at the contenders for promotion to the Vanarama National League.

While the attention on the elite end of the non-League pyramid tends to focus on those teams seeking to enter the Football League, the scramble to get into the Vanarama National League system is no less intense. But now, as the weeks tick by, the smoke surrounding the battle to get into the two-tier, three-division set-up is clearing with two contrasting clubs favourites to step up.

Kettering Town are older than any club in the Premier League, and all but a handful in the Football League, yet currently play in the seventh tier. Also at step 3 in the non-League pyramid are Dorking Wanderers, only 20 years old but already seeking their 11th promotion. Both are poised to be among the six clubs going up to the Vanarama National League’s regional divisions, but who joins them is far from evident.

Three clubs are promoted into each of Vanarama National League North and Vanarama National League South. In the past that meant the champion and promotion play-off winner from each of the Northern Premier League, Southern League, and Isthmian League (a competition based around London and the south-east). The six would be allocated to the North or South divisions according to geography.

However this year, as part of an ongoing re-organisation of the pyramid, there are four divisions, the Southern League top flight having split into the Premier Central and Premier South respectively. So the four title-winners will go up, along with two further teams emerging from a series of play-offs.

Barring a late collapse, coming up from Southern League Premier Central will be a grand old non-League name – Kettering Town, formed in 1872. If an automatic promotion-and-relegation system had been in place before 1987, then surely they would have reached the Football League much earlier. The Poppies came agonisingly close in the following period, finishing runners-up three times in 12 years. Since then they have had mixed fortunes, achieving prominence during Paul Gascoigne’s ill-fated managerial stint and for an FA Cup run that ended at Craven Cottage, but also losing their much-loved Rockingham Road ground and going into administration. Now, playing at nearby Burton Latimer, they are thriving and sit 11 points clear with eight matches left.

If Kettering are non-League aristocracy, then Dorking Wanderers are street urchins. They were only formed in 1999 and began life in the Crawley and District league playing at Big Field Brockham, which is literally a big field. An astonishing ten promotions later they are 13 points clear in the Isthmian League Premier Division. Wanderers play at Meadowbank, formerly home to the now defunct Dorking FC. Previously the oldest club in Surrey, Dorking disbanded and effectively subsumed into Wanderers in 2017 bequeathing them the ground, which now sports an artificial pitch and doubles up as the Surrey FA HQ.

The other promotion races are much tighter. There is a three-way tussle in the Northern Premier League between Farsley Celtic, Warrington Town and 2017 FA Vase winners South Shields. Only Farsley have played in the National League divisions, managing four years before being expelled in 2010 after suffering financial problems.

The Southern League’s Premier South Division features four contenders for the automatic spot: Taunton, Weymouth and Salisbury, all of whom are well-supported with big ambitions, and Surrey-based Metropolitan Police, who traditionally find spectators harder to attract.

For more on the Vanarama National League, visit:  http://www.thenationalleague.org.uk/

For great deals on cars and vans, visit: https://www.vanarama.com/