It was Charles Buchan, the publisher and writer of Football Monthly as well as one of the founding fathers of the FWA, who suggested that an award should be given “to the professional player who by precept and example is considered by a ballot of members to be the footballer of the year.”
That was back in 1947 and since then the Footballer of the Year Award has become the most prestigious award in the British game.
Voted for year on year by the FWA members, the first recipient was the legendary Sir Stanley Matthews and ever since players have been honoured for their achievements.
Erling Haaland (Manchester City)
Erling Haaland was voted Footballer of the Year in May 2023 with an overwhelming majority – 82 per cent – of votes. The Manchester City striker finished ahead of Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka and Martin Odegaard, with his team Kevin De Bruyne coming fourth and Marcus Rashford in fifth.
The Norwegian international said:
“To win the Football Writers’ Association award in my first season in English football is an honour. I try every single day to be the best I can be, and to be recognised like this means a lot to me.
“I have loved my time at City so far – my teammates are incredible, and they provide me with the chances to score goals. I want to thank all of them, because I could not have won this award without them.”
Ruben Dias was voted the Footballer of the Year for 2021 by the Football Writers’ Association. He has had an outstanding first season, helping City win the Premier League and Carabao Cup , as well as reaching the Champions League final.
The Manchester City and Portugal defender beat competition from runner-up Harry Kane of Tottenham and England, while Kevin De Bruyne, also of City, came third.
This award was set up in 2018 to honour the best women footballers playing in England. The inaugural winner was Fran Kirby of Chelsea, and 2019’s winner was Nikita Parris of Manchester City. Viivenne Miedema, Arsenal’s Dutch striker, won the award in 2020 and Fran Kirby (Chelsea) in 2021.
Sam Kerr (Chelsea)
Chelsea and Australia striker Sam Kerr was voted the FWA Women’s Footballer of the Year for the second season in succession, having picked up the award in 2022.
She said: “I’m really honoured to win the award. A lot of people still doubt me, no matter how many goals I score, how much I do for the team, how many big games I score in. That kind of fires me up.
“So thank-you very much to the people that voted for me, I could not do it without this amazing team. It’s very humbling, and Emma Hayes tells me all the time what an amazing award it is, so I’m very proud to win it.”
The FWA Tribute Award is presented on an annual basis to an individual that the committee feels has made an outstanding contribution to the national game. The Award is traditionally presented at a gala dinner in January.
Yaya Touré won the 2023 Tribute Award for his achievements during his illustrious career with Barcelona and Manchester City, among others. The former Ivory Coast international was one of the best midfielders to have played in the Premier League era, and was a popular choice for this award.
Liverpool striker Salah is voted Footballer of the Year for a second time, and Chelsea striker Kerr wins Women’s Footballer of the Year. Mohamed Salah
(Former recipients of the Footballer of the Year award join the 1997 winner, Gianfranco Zola, for the 50th Football Writers’s Association Footballer of the Year
(Stanley Matthews holds the silver sugar bowl that was presented to him for being voted Footballer of the Year for the second time in 1963
(Bert Trautmann with his Footballer of the Year trophy 1956 – PA Archive) Bert Trautmann has one of the most unique stories in English football
(George Best holds the Footballer of the Year trophy in 1968 – PA Archive) George Best was so much more than a footballer. His talent
(Pat Jennings with the 1973 Footballer of the Year trophy – PA Archive) Jennings is a rare breed in that he is idolised by supporters
(John Barnes with his second Footballer of the Year trophy for the 1989-90 season – PA Archive) Barnes was elected the Footballer of the Year
(Tottenham Hotspur’s Jurgen Klinsmann shows off the Footballer of the Year trophy – PA Archive/) Klinsmann’s move to Tottenham Hotspur came somewhat out of the
(Arsenal striker Thierry Henry with the Football Writers’ Association award. Steve Parsons/PA Archive) Henry was not only the first man to win back to back
(Luis Suárez celebrates scoring for Liverpool against rivals Everton – Peter Byrne/PA Images) English football has been graced by South American greats such as Ardiles,
(Jordan Henderson with the 2020 Footballer of the Year trophy – Dave Thompson/PA Images) Henderson joined his local club Sunderland aged eight and progressed through
(Fran Kirby with the 2018 FWA Women’s Footballer of the trophy – Steven Paston/PA Archive) Kirby began her career with hometown side Reading for whom