- Liverpool’s Coutinho named Premier League Player of the Year, as Marcus Rashford picks up ‘Rising Star’ award
- England 1966 World Cup Squad recognised with lifetime achievement in 50th anniversary year
- Manager of the Year goes to Manchester City Women’s boss, Nick Cushing, after historic season
- Tranmere Rovers, Accrington Stanley, Wigan Athletic and Burnley stars all pick up Player of the Year in respective leagues
- Wigan, Everton and Burnley also win accolades for ‘outstanding’ community work
The winners of the MBNA Northwest Football Awards 2016 have been announced, celebrating all things good in the region’s football world, from grass roots to the Premier League and the treatment table to the Boardroom.
With all of the player-related awards voted for by football fans, the awards were presented last night at a glitzy black tie event in Manchester.
Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho was named Premier League Player of the Year. The 24-year-old Brazil international has been in fine form this year, with his goals and impressive performances for the Reds seeing him become an integral part of Jurgen Klopp’s side.
Andre Gray was named Championship Player of the Year after the striker’s 23 goals helped to fire Burnley to promotion last season and saw him named top scorer in the division.
Wigan Athletic’s David Perkins was named League One Player of the Year. The 34-year-old has been a virtual ever-present in the team and was praised for his consistent displays on the pitch.
The League Two Player of the season award went to Accrington Stanley forward, Billy Kee, who has found the net 21 times in 52 appearances for the club.
James Norwood, star striker for Tranmere Rovers collected the National League Player of the Year title after scoring 19 goals last season for the non-league giants – and having already scored seven league goals this season.
Meanwhile, Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford was named the region’s Rising Star of the Year after bursting onto the scene as a relative unknown in February and scoring on his Manchester United and England debuts at the age of just 18 – becoming the youngest ever English player to score in his first senior international game.
Manchester City Women’s manager, Nick Cushing was named Masters in Sporting Directorship Manager of the Year, ahead of very strong competition including counterparts from across both the men’s and women’s leagues at all levels.
Cushing’s all-conquering Manchester City Women’s team were dubbed the ‘Invincibles’ after celebrating an historic Super League winning season without losing a game, along with the Continental Tyres Cup.
Manchester City Women’s Isobel Christiansen was also named Women’s Player of the Year. Meanwhile, Georgia Brougham of Everton Ladies collected the Women’s Rising Star of the Year title.
The MBNA Goal of the Year was voted by fans on the night. The winner was Paul Gallagher from Preston North End Football Club, with his goal against Charlton Athletic, 20th October 2015.
The England 1966 World Cup Squad was also recognized with special achievement award – 50 years since they beat West Germany 4–2 in the final at Wembley.
No fewer than 11 members of the 22-man squad were either born in the North West or played for clubs in the region at the time of the success. Including: Lancashire-born Final hat trick hero, Geoff Hurst, and Blackpool-born George Eastham; along with Manchester United’s John Connelly, Nobby Styles and Bobby Charlton; Blackpool’s Alan Ball and Jimmy Armfield; Ray Wilson of Everton and Roger Hunt, Gerry Byrne and Ian Callaghan of Liverpool.
WINNERS OFF THE PITCH
A judging panel – which includes the PFA’s Dennis Leman, Colin Bridgford, CEO of Manchester FA and senior football broadcast journalists from BBC Radio Manchester, Merseyside and Lancashire – had a tough job reaching their decisions on the non-Playing awards, with a record number of nominations received this year.
An impressive six football clubs from across the region were shortlisted for their work in the community, recognising the unsung heroes and fantastic work that often goes unnoticed.
Everton, Manchester City, Burnley, Preston North End, Tranmere Rovers and Wigan Athletic were all picked out for their fantastic community contributions by the judging panel, which also included senior executives from Kick it Out, Women in Football, FC Business, She Kicks, the Football Foundation, the Football Medical Association, MBNA and Mob Sport.
The Unsung Hero award went to Frank Melling of Wigan Athletic Community Trust, in recognition of his outstanding volunteering work and contribution within Wigan’s disability football programme.
The Community Initiative of the Year, in association with the PFA also went to Wigan Athletic Community Trust for its brilliant ‘Pathway 2 Participation’ social inclusion programme for young people who are at risk of offending, and keeping them otherwise occupied elsewhere from doing so.
Everton in the Community was named Community Club of the Year – Premier League, in association with the PFA. This was in recognition of the Club’s impactful educational projects and very visible presence in the local community they serve.
And, Burnley FC in the Community was named Community Club of the Year- All other Leagues, in association with the PFA. This was in recognition of the impact and strong number of participants for its wide variety of projects, which help people from different backgrounds and ethnic minorities in the local communities.
The Fabrice Muamba Award for Outstanding Service to Football Medicine and Science, in association with the Football Medical Association was presented to Dr Joyce Watson of Accrington Stanley Football Club. Dr Joyce’s work within the football medicine and science field has been second to none this year and on countless occasions she has gone above and beyond in dedication to her profession.
Salford-born sports journalist and writer for the Guardian, David Conn, picked up the accolade of Football Journalist of the Year, in recognition of his standout investigative work relating to the Hillsborough Disaster. One of the UK’s most respected football journalists, Conn is also the author of three critically acclaimed books chronicling modern English football’s financial and social transformation, including ‘The Beautiful Game?: Searching the Soul of Football’ (2005).
The award for Best Club Marketing Campaign when to Liverpool FC and club legend, Robbie Fowler, who starred in the advert for the LFC Credit Card
The Best Club Sponsorship or Engagement Campaign went to Tranmere Rovers for its Super White Army 2 #SWA2 supporter engagement initiative.
The UCFB Business and Professional Services to Football went to ATPI Sports Events in recognition of going the extra mile for football services in the Northwest
Laura Wolfe, Managing Director of the Northwest Football Awards, comments: “These awards celebrate all things good in the region’s football from grass roots to the Premier League, treatment table to the Boardroom and have grown year-on-year in popularity due to their inclusive approach to the game in the region.
“In total, 22 clubs from the North West received nominations demonstrating the importance of the game to the region; both in terms of what it means to fans and the social and economic benefits and opportunities that football delivers to local communities.
“We’re really proud of our region’s status as the UK’s capital of football and would like to thank everyone involved and who voted, both on and off the football pitch.”