Kevin Ball to collect award at NE FWA dinner

Former Sunderland captain Kevin Ball has joined the list of award-winners at a special football night later this month.
The North East Football Writers Association are to pay tribute to the Sunderland legend who has been player, caretaker manager and influential Academy coach for the club.
Ball, who made more than 350 appearances in nine years with the club and served twice as caretaker manager during his leading roles in the academy, will be recognised for his outstanding contribution to North East football.
The presentation of the John Fotheringham Award will be made at the North East Football Writers’ Association’s Player of the Year dinner at the Ramside Hall Hotel, Durham on Sunday, February 23.
During the night, North East Football Writers Association player of the year Fabian Schar, the Newcastle United defender, will pick up his award and team-mate Sean Longstaff has won the NEFWA young player of the year. Durham Women FC’s Kathryn Hill is Women’s player of the year.
England and Manchester City captain Steph Houghton has been awarded the Sir Robson Robson Foundation/NEFWA Personality of the Year Award.
Ball was signed from Portsmouth by Denis Smith in 1990, player of the season the following year and a member of the FA Cup Final side which lost to Liverpool in 1992. Captain for Sunderland’s two Premier League title-winning promotions under Peter Reid, he was named player of the year again in 1997 in the top flight season.
He left in 1999 and after spells with Fulham and Burnley, returned to the Stadium of Light under Mick McCarthy, becoming an influential figure at the Academy of Light. He was also briefly in charge as caretaker after McCarthy’s departure and the steadying ship seven years later in the wake of Paolo Di Canio’s reign before Gus Poyet’s appointment.
Now employed in an ambassadorial role by the club, Ball was instrumental in the development of academy players, including England and Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson and his Three Lions team-mate Jordan Pickford, who is now Everton Number One.
Tickets are still available for the dinner at the Ramside Hall Hotel, Golf and Spa in Durham on Sunday February 23, and further details are available from Claire Stephen on 0191 375 3080/ claire.stephen@ramsidehallhotel.co.uk.

CHANGE OF DATE – NE FWA awards now Sunday Feb 23

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

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

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

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

Steph Houghton is NE FWA Personality of the Year

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vincent Kompany honoured on Gala Tribute Evening

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks to Steve Paston of PA images for photography

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/

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

Memories of Vikki Orvice

A star-studded gathering of the good and the great from sport and the media gathered at Lord’s on November 13 to honour the legacy of Vikki Orvice and raise a six figure sum for the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity.

Over £103,000 was raised among an audience of 400 people who turned up to pay tribute to Vikki, who passed away last February. It was an emotional and moving evening, with tears and laughter in equal measure, superbly hosted by Jacqui Oatley, Vikki’s friend and FWA committee member.

Ian Ridley, Vikki’s husband gave a moving speech and said how much she would have loved to see so many familiar faces, which included Brendan Foster, Paula Radcliffe, Tony Adams, Greg Rutherford and Monty Panesar, to name just a few of the sports stars who attended. One special guest was Tony Currie, Vikki’s favourite footballer, on a table hosted by her beloved Sheffield United.

The gospel choir who sang superbly at Vikki’s funeral reprised their moving and inspiring performance on the night, which was organised by FWA Chair Carrie Brown, Jacqui and Philippe Auclair, along with Jo Tongue and Ian, along with representatives from the Royal Marsden.

The Sun, who made Vikki the first female staff football writer on a tabloid, sponsored the evening, which concluded with a Q and A session with a selection of Vikki’s colleagues from the world of sport and journalism.

Later Ian announced: “A massive £103,000 raised for  @royalmarsden. Thank you to the 400 who attended and all who donated and bought those amazing auction lots and raffle tickets.”

Donations can still be made here: https://www.royalmarsden.org/

Rodrigo Lara of Hayters made a short film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D2TbZrkV-fM

And thanks to Scott Tweed for pics: https://t.co/V5DVf3aUUO?amp=1

Vikki Orvice fundraising dinner

A gift to you from our birthday girl.

The FWA’s first female vice-chair, Vikki Orvice, should have celebrated her 57th birthday on Friday. 


Sadly we can’t mark the occasion with Vikki this year as she passed away in February. Instead we will celebrate her life with a fundraising dinner on Wednesday (13th) for the The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity.

Ahead of the fundraiser, a number of generous donations from the world of sport, entertainment, literature, fine dining and fashion have been placed in a live online auction. 

Vikki’s husband Ian Ridley and the organising committee, featuring our chair Carrie Brown, National Committee members Jacqui Oatley, Philippe Auclair and Jo Tongue, have been inundated with offers of once-in-a-lifetime and money-can’t-buy experiences from celebrated names.

They can be found at:

https://givergy.uk/anightofcelebration/?controller=home

We would like to thank those in the football family who have donated so generously, including Sky Sports, Chelsea, Arsenal, Watford, Tony Currie and Sheffield United, Gary Lineker with BBC Match of the Day, Tony Adams, the Football Association, the Premier League, ITV Sport, BBC Radio Four, The Sun, The Sunday Times, Richard Pelham and, of course, The FWA. You have wowed with your kindness and creativity. 

For our Strava fanatics, there are places on offer in the Virgin Money London Marathon, four tickets to the opening night of Six Day cycling series at the Olympic Velodrome – where you will enjoy top seats in the middle of the track itself  – and VIP tickets to the 2020 Muller Anniversary Games.

The entertainment industry has followed suit with Hat Trick Productions providing just one of the many treats up for offer. Politics may have descended into satire but one lucky bidder will be able to seek refuge safe in the bosom of the Have I Got News For You green room. Theatre lovers can bid to attend a Bill Kenwright show. 

Avid sports memorabilia collectors can bid for a signed shirt from this summer’s cricket hero Ben Stokes , intimidate with a boxing glove signed by one of the sport’s greatest – Anthony Joshua or claim a prized signed shirt from the Premier League’s finest. 

Do dive in and have a look. We won’t give away all the treasures on offer. There is truly something for everyone and we are beyond grateful for the generosity and support afforded to the evening. 

Happy bidding. 

FWA Live North East Special – POSTPONED

FWA Live North East Special – POSTPONED until 2020

The FWA are sorry to announce that we have had to postpone the FWA Live North East Special in Durham, which was planned for this Thursday November 21, owing to circumstances beyond our control.

Instead the event, which will feature representatives from Sunderland, Middlesbrough and Newcastle United has been put back until after Christmas.

Those attendees who have bought their tickets via Eventbrite should get a full refund in due course.

Vikki Orvice celebration night at Lord’s

Just a reminder that there are still a few tickets remaining for the gala night at Lord’s on November 13 to celebrate the life of our dear departed colleague Vikki Orvice.

Vikki sadly died of cancer in February after several years of treatment. We plan to spend the evening remembering the highlights of Vikki’s working life as a trailblazing sports journalist, while raising vital funds for the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity, via auction and raffle. Many fantastic prizes have already been pledged, and there will be spectacular live music and entertainment, as well as superb food and drinks.
Vikki was the first female vice-chair of the FWA and a significant influence on our organisation over many years. She was a driving force for the changing face of the association in terms of inclusivity and we owe much to her pioneering spirit. This is your chance to pay your respects to Vikki while enjoying an evening of laughter and entertainment amongst colleagues and sportspeople.
Please click on the link below to buy your tickets for a three course meal with wine. You have the option to buy tickets on an individual basis or a table of 10. Sponsorship and corporate packages are also on sale directly via the link.
Every penny raised will support The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity. 
For any queries, please contact the Royal Marsden’s special events manager, Emma Payne, on Emma.Payne@rmh.nhs.uk or 020 7811 8021.  We very much hope to see you at Lord’s on November 13th.