The winners of the Ladbrokes Northwest Football Awards (NWFA) 2019 have been revealed during a star-studded ceremony.
More than 550 guests attended the black-tie event last night, which was hosted by BBC’s Dan Walker at The Point at Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester.
Winners were named in nine player categories, as well as in a raft of other honours – including the highly sought-after Goal of the Season, as voted for by fans from around the world.
After an intensely fought season, Liverpool FC manager Jurgen Klopp was awarded Manager of the Season for winning the Champions League and just missing out on the Premier League title by one point, whilst Reece James who had an incredible season at Wigan Athletic, on loan from Chelsea last season, won Championship Player of the Season, as voted for by the fans.
It was a double win for Liverpool FC as Virgil Van Dijk landed Premier League Player of the season, with Trent Alexander-Arnold named Rising Star of the season for the second year running, in unanimous voting and judging decisions.
The highly anticipated Goal of the Season was awarded to Preston North End’s Alan Browne for his incredible strike against Bolton Wanderers as voted for by fans on Twitter.
The Lifetime Achievement accolade was awarded to Joe Royle for his achievements throughout his playing career for Everton, Manchester City and England as well as his managerial work with Everton, Oldham Athletic and Manchester City.
It was also a successful night for Manchester City’s women’s team with England Captain Steph Houghton, MBE being awarded the Women’s Player of the Season and Georgia Stanway receiving the Women’s Rising Star.
On collecting her award, Steph said: “I would like to say a huge thank you to the fans for voting for this award. Last year was an unbelievable season for me as well as my club Manchester City. To be able to lead my country to a World Cup semi-final and win two trophies with my club was an incredible experience”.
Laura Wolfe of the Ladbrokes Northwest Football Awards said: “The quantity and quality of entries continues to rise year on year and the effort that the clubs put into their entries is truly humbling. The array of footballing talent across this region is second to none and I congratulate each and every winner and thank everyone who submitted entries that made the job of our judging panel so demanding, but hugely inspirational.
“As soon as one year is over, we start planning for the next and we are excited to be working with our title sponsor, Ladbrokes for a second year running in 2020.”
During the night, tributes were also paid to the crucial role football clubs carry out in the community, with Manchester City’s City in the Community winning the hotly contested Community Club of the Season for the Premier League and Bolton Wanderers Community Trust winning the Award for clubs from all other leagues, for the incredible work that the Trust did for the community and its own staff during Bolton’s difficult season.
Burnley FC took home the accolade for Community Initiative of the Season for its hugely successful ‘The Leisure Box’, which has seen 29,000 visitors since it opened to the community in March.
The Promoting Inclusion Award, in association with Kick it Out was another hugely impressive category, with the non-league award going to Mid Lancashire Colts Junior Football League and the League honour being scooped by Manchester United for its #allredallequal campaign.
Business and Professional Services to Football went to Mills & Reeve, while the Best Club Marketing, Sponsorship and Engagement Campaign was awarded to Everton Football Club for its 2018/19 home kit launch with Umbro: Built to Last.
In the highly competitive broadcasting or journalist category, the judges named BBC Radio Lancashire’s Andy Bayes and Marc Iles from The Bolton News as joint winners with Marc winning the award for his impressive job reporting on Bolton Wanderers’ crisis throughout the season.
The Fabrice Muamba Award for Outstanding Service to Football Medicine and Performance was awarded to three medical professionals who saved the life of former Premier League referee Eddie Wolstenholme, who suffered a critical heart attack and collapsed in the tunnel just an hour before Burnley’s kick off with Newcastle United. Dr Simon Morris and John Moorhouse of Burnley FC, and Dr Paul Catterson of Newcastle United FC were all there to accept their recognition award.
The Fan Media Channel Award, which recognises the enduring popularity of fan-based content, went to the Redmen TV as voted by the fans for the third year running.
The ‘Unsung Hero’ accolade was presented to the staff behind the scenes at Bury FC for their tireless work and effort to save the club as it was facing expulsion from the Football League and ensure that Bury has a football club competing next season.
The Impact Award, which honours and recognises an individual who has made a significant positive impact on football in the region, was one of the night’s special awards. It is awarded to someone who has obviously delivered success on the pitch, but additionally, and just as importantly, given of their time off the pitch and used their position to contribute to and positively impact the wider community.
This year’s recipient was Vincent Kompany for his Testimonial year, captaining the team to major titles, as well as his Tackle4MCR homelessness and rough sleeping initiative, which supports the Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham’s ‘A Bed Every Night’ project.
Player of the Season in the National League went to AFC Fylde forward Danny Rowe; League Two was awarded to Scott Davies of Tranmere Rovers; and League One went to Rochdale AFC’s Ian Henderson.
Stuart Martin of Ladbrokes said: “This was a truly fantastic evening for all the clubs, people and our winners in the North West. A huge congratulations to all those who did receive an award on the night, and everyone involved with the event in making it a massive success. This is an event we are passionate about and now very much looking forward to the NWFAs 2020.”
The Ladbrokes Northwest Football Awards proudly supported the Darby Rimmer Foundation on the night, and there were emotional words from former Liverpool, Rochdale and Bolton Wanderers footballer, Stephen Darby, and with his close friend and former British Forces veteran, Chris Rimmer, who set up the Darby Rimmer MND Foundation after Stephen’s sudden retirement from football in September last year, after being diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND), aged just 29.