Schar, Longstaff and Hill win North East FWA awards

Newcastle United defender Fabian Schar is the 2019 North East Football Writers’ Association’s Player of the Year.

His Newcastle team-mate Sean Longstaff is the NEFWA Young Player of the Year.

And Durham Women FC defender Kathryn Hill has been named Women’s Player of the Year.

All three will be presented with their awards at the 40th North East Football Writers’ Association annual dinner at The Ramside Hall Hotel, Golf and Spa, Durham, WHICH WILL NOW BE HELD ON SUNDAY FEBRUARY 23rd

The awards night will also feature the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation personality of the year award which has previously been awarded to Alan Shearer, Jermaine Defoe, Niall Quinn and Robbie Elliott. This year’s recipient will be announced later this week.

As well as recognising success in non-league football, the NEFWA also present the Bob Cass Award and the John Fotheringham Awards, named after two renowned North East football writers, and recognising outstanding services to the region’s football.

Switzerland international Schar narrowly beat Newcastle midfielder Isaac Hayden in the player of the year vote, which is held among the North East’s football writers, with Middlesbrough and Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Darren Randolph in third place.

Schar, 28, joined Newcastle from Deportivo La Coruna in summer 2018 after spells with FC Wil 1900, FC Basel and 1899 Hoffenheim. He has 52 Swiss caps, playing in the last two World Cup Finals and Euro 2016 Finals, and also represented his country in the 2012 Olympics in London.

The stylish centre-back scored four goals last season, including the 30-yard screamer against Burnley which won the Premier League and Match of the Day goal of the month in February. He scored his first goal of this season against Everton as a near ever-present under Steve Bruce, until a hamstring injury over the festive period.

Schar becomes the fourth Newcastle player in a row to win the annual award following keeper Martin Dubravka last season and joint winners Jamaal Lascelles and Matt Ritchie in 2017. 

In total Newcastle players have won the award 19 times, with Sunderland on 11, Middlesbrough nine and Hartlepool United’s Joe Allen taking the large silver trophy home in 1991. 

Newcastle academy graduate Sean Longstaff was the unanimous choice for the young player award, which also has an impressive list of previous winners.

He takes the awards from former Sunderland striker Josh Maja and follows the likes of Jordan Pickford, Ayoze Perez and the first winner, Steven Taylor. 

The 22-year-old midfielder joined the club as a schoolboy and after loan spells with Kilmarnock and Blackpool, made his first team debut under Rafa Benitez in December 2018.

He made a real impression on Newcastle fans in the win over champions Manchester City at St James’ Park and scored his first Premier League goal in that 2-0 win over Burnley. 

Although he was ruled out for the season with a knee injury the following month, Longstaff, whose brother Matt has also made an impressive breakthrough to the first team, continued where he left off when he returned to the side this season.

Scotland international Hill is the second Durham Women FC player to win the annual award, following last season’s recipient Beth Hepple, the local youngster, who started her career at New Ferens Park.

The tough-tackling defender, signed from Rangers two years ago as part of the club’s link with Durham University, has been an integral part of the FA Women’s Championship side’s promotion pushes this season and last.

Hill has made nearly 50 appearances since her debut for Lee Sanders’ side which narrowly missed out on a place in the FA Women’s Super League last season.

Tickets for the awards night are £58 and available from Claire Stephen on 0191 375 3080.


Previous player of the year award winners

Newcastle 19 (2 joint)

Sunderland 11 (1 joint)

Middlesbrough 9

Hartlepool 1

Player of the Year:

1980 David Armstrong (Middlesbrough)

1981 Jim Platt (Middlesbrough)

1982 Bryan ‘Pop’ Robson (Sunderland)

1983 Kevin Keegan (Newcastle)

1984 Kevin Keegan (Newcastle)

1985 Chris Waddle (Newcastle)

1986 Peter Beardsley (Newcastle)

1987 David McCreery/Neil McDonald (Newcastle)

1988 Tony Mowbray (Middlesbrough)

1989 Marco Gabbiadini (Sunderland)

1990 Mick Quinn (Newcastle)

1991 Joe Allen (Hartlepool United)

1992 Stephen Pears (Middlesbrough)

1993 Lee Clark (Newcastle)

1994 Peter Beardsley (Newcastle)

1995 Barry Venison (Newcastle)

1996 Les Ferdinand (Newcastle)

1997 Juninho (Middlesbrough)

1998 Paul Merson (Middlesbrough)

1999 Niall Quinn (Sunderland)

2000 Kevin Phillips (Sunderland)

2001 Thomas Sorensen (Sunderland)

2002 Shay Given (Newcastle)

2003 Alan Shearer (Newcastle)

2004 Gareth Southgate (Middlesbrough)

2005 Stewart Downing (Middlesbrough)

2006 Shay Given (Newcastle)

2007 Nyron Nosworthy/Dean Whitehead (Sunderland)

2008 David Wheater (Middlesbrough)

2009 Danny Collins (Sunderland)

2010 Darren Bent (Sunderland)

2011 Fabricio Colocinni (Newcastle)

2012 Simon Mignolet (Sunderland)

2013 Yohann Cabaye (Newcastle)

2014 Lee Cattermole (Sunderland)

2015 Daryl Janmaat (Newcastle)

2016 Jermain Defoe (Sunderland)

2017 Jamaal Lascelles/Matt Ritchie (Newcastle)

2018 Martin Dubravka (Newcastle)

2019 Fabian Schar (Newcastle)

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