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Business & Economy

The North East Football Writers’ Association Awards

The region’s top footballing talent was celebrated at a star-studded awards ceremony at Ramside Hall. The North East Football Writers’ Association Awards championed the individuals and teams – from Premier League to grassroots level – that have lit up the soccer scene over the last 12 months.


The night’s top accolade went to Newcastle United midfielder Bruno Guimarães, who was named mens’ player of the year.

The Brazilian, watched by a packed audience featuring Magpies’ manager Eddie Howe and the club’s record goal scorer Alan Shearer, spoke of his delight at the honour, and drew cheers when proclaiming the team’s League Cup final appearance would be the first of many following last year’s Saudi-led takeover.

Sunderland AFC goalkeeper Anthony Patterson was crowned young player of the year, with Durham Women FC and Northern Ireland international Sarah Robson picking up the women’s player of the year accolade for a second successive season.

Former Sunderland and Manchester City midfielder – and recent North East Times Magazine cover star – Jill Scott was named Sir Bobby Robson Personality of the Year, in recognition of a 12-month period headlined by Euro 2022 success with England and subsequent victory on ITV’s ‘I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here…!’

Elsewhere, former Middlesbrough FC manager Lennie Lawrence, who steered the club into the inaugural Premier League in the early 1990s and is now a non-executive director at Hartlepool United, received the John Fotheringham Award, which recognises outstanding service to the region’s football scene.

A further award in the same category went to veteran journalist Doug Weatherall.

Having been previously postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Doug was finally able to pick up his trophy and give audience members – who watched archive footage of his verbal jousts with Brian Clough and Lawrie McMenemy – a taste of his tremendous passion for the region’s game.

Derek Wright, who served as Newcastle United’s head physiotherapist for nearly 40 years, was honoured with the Bob Cass Award, which celebrates outstanding contribution to the North East game.

And special recognition honours went to non-league teams Gateshead and Marske United for their successes in winning the National League North and gaining promotion to the Northern Premier League and reaching the final qualifying round of the FA Cup, respectively.

The event was compered by Ian Dennis, BBC Radio Five Live commentator and senior football reporter, and organised and led by Colin Young, North East Football Writers’ Association chair.