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The winners of the hugely anticipated Leesa Northwest Football Awards 2017, recognising those who have achieved footballing excellence both on and off the pitch in the 2016/17 season, from both the Men and Women’s football leagues, from Conference though to Premier League, have been announced.

The winners of the hugely anticipated Leesa Northwest Football Awards 2017, recognising those who have achieved footballing excellence both on and off the pitch in the 2016/17 season, from both the Men and Women’s football leagues, from Conference though to Premier League, have been announced.

Over 550 guests packed The Point at Emirates Old Trafford last night (13th November) at a glitzy black-tie event in Manchester, hosted by the BBC’s Dan Walker.

In its tenth anniversary year, the Leesa Northwest Football Awards awarded its inaugural Impact Award to Liverpool Football Club’s James Milner. The new award recognises the significant positive impact on football in the region and in particular James’ work off the pitch, through the James Milner Foundation, which has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds to help positively change the lives of many people.

One of the night’s big winners was Brian Kidd, who was given the Lifetime Achievement Award, for his incredible career in North West football, both as a player and a coach at Manchester United Football Club and Manchester City Football Club.  His award saw Manchester truly as a City United, with his honour presented by Manchester City Captain, Vincent Kompany, alongside members of the infamous Class of ’92 – Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville, Phil Neville and Nicky Butt, who all paid tribute to “Kiddo”.

The 2016/17 Manager of the Year award winner was Gary Bowyer, manager of Blackpool Football Club, for his work steadying the ship for the Seasiders and leading the Club to promotion back to League One in his first season in charge and has earned well-deserved accolades for handling the pressure both inside and outside of the dressing room.

Daniel Taylor from The Guardian was awarded the title of Football Journalist of the Year, for his work uncovering and reporting on football’s sexual-abuse scandal – in particular Daniel’s interview with Andy Woodward, which prompted many further victims to come forward with allegations involving more than 300 clubs.  His award was presented to him by survivors and founders of The Offside Trust, Chris Unsworth and Steven Walters.

The Unsung Hero was awarded posthumously to Gordon Lawton of Oldham Athletic Football Club, a club legend described as the ‘heart and soul’ of the Club.  Gordon passed away in June aged 63. He had worked for the Latics for more than 30 years fulfilling a number of different roles including programme editor, club commentator, media manager and football secretary, and was a well-known face among players and fans at Boundary Park.  His award was accepted by his wife, Lorraine.

The Fabrice Muamaba Award for Outstanding Service to Football Medicine and Science award went to Dr Ian Irving, who recently retired from his role as Club doctor at Everton Football Club, having worked alongside nine managers during his 39 year tenure.


Laura Wolfe, managing director of Wolfesport and the Leesa Northwest Football Awards said: “The Leesa Northwest Football Awards proudly celebrates ten years of the best of football, on and off the pitch, from across the region, whilst remembering some incredible winners over the past ten years.

“We are proud to honour the dedicated, hard-working, talented and inspirational people from our great football clubs and those businesses that support them; we honour our heroes – some well-known and some unsung – on what is an incredible night of celebration for North West football.

“We are immensely proud of what we have created and wish to congratulate all our finalists and winners.  Football is much more than just about what happens on the pitch and these awards celebrate the clubs, people and organisations across the sport in our region who are truly leading the way and setting an example for the rest of the UK, across both the men’s and women’s games, positively impacting local communities socially and economically.”

*pictured: Breakfast TV presenter Mr Dan Walker, former professional footballer Fabrice Muamba, Award winner Dr Ian Irving and FMA CEO Eamonn Salmon