Ladbrokes Northwest Football Awards 2021 Winners Announced

The winners of the Ladbrokes Northwest Football Awards (NWFA) 2021 have been revealed during a star-studded ceremony.



More than 650 guests attended the black-tie event last night, which was hosted by BBC and Strictly’s, Dan Walker, at The Point at Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester, which celebrated and honoured the stars of the 2020/21 season.


Winners were named in nine player categories, as well as in a raft of other honours – including the highly sought-after Moment of the Season, as voted for by fans from around the world.


After an intensely fought season and much deliberation from the judges, Blackpool’s Neil Critchley was awarded the coveted Manager of the Season title, for winning promotion for Blackpool to the Championship, whilst Harvey Elliot who had an incredible season at Blackburn Rovers, on loan from Liverpool, won The Athletic Rising Star of the Season, as voted for by the fans.


It was a double win for Liverpool FC as Mo Salah won Premier League Player of the Season, with Jordan Henderson being handed the Billy Seymour Impact Award, which recognises an individual who has made a significant positive impact on football in the region for his work both on and off the pitch.


The Lifetime Achievement accolade was awarded to the legendary Denis Law, CBE, for his achievements throughout his playing career for Manchester United and Manchester City and Scotland.


The award was given in the name of Maurice Watkins, CBE, who had been judge of the NWFA since its inception 14 years ago. One of the UK’s best-known sports lawyers, Maurice was a director of Manchester United Football Club for 28 years and famously brokered the deal to keep Sir Alex Ferguson at the club after he had decided to leave – with fans chanting his nickname, ‘Mo’, from the stands.


It was also a successful night for Manchester City’s women’s team with Chloe Kelly being awarded the Women’s Player of the Season and Lauren Hemp receiving The Athletic Women’s Rising Star Award.


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.”


During the night, tributes were also paid to the crucial role football clubs carry out in the community, with the Manchester United Foundation winning the hotly contested Community Club of the Season for the Premier League and Blackpool FC Community Trust winning the Award for clubs from all other leagues. 


City in the Community took home the accolade for Community Initiative of the Season for its hugely successful City Thrive campaign.


The Promoting Inclusion Award, in association with Kick it Out was another hugely impressive category, with the non-league award going to Creative Football and the League honour being scooped by Everton Football Club.


Business and Professional Services to Football went to Brabners, while the Best Club Marketing, Sponsorship and Engagement Campaign was awarded to Tranmere Rovers Football Club for their football shirt design campaign, Designed by you for you, where fans had a chance to design the team’s new kit.


In the highly competitive broadcasting or journalist category, the judges named The Athletic’s Danny Taylor journalist of the Season for his incredible piece of work talking to two of Jeremy Wisten’s friends about their shock and grief losing him and the issues around what happens when youth players are released by clubs, while Sam Matterface picked up the broadcaster of the season for his work at talkSPORT.


The Fabrice Muamba Award for Outstanding Service to Football Medicine and Performance was awarded to Matt Barrass, physio at Bolton Wanderers, who has supported the players through some turbulent times at the club, as well as through the pandemic, being the club’s Covid lead.


The ‘Unsung Hero’ accolade was given to Manchester United chef, James Tagg, who led a catering team of over 100 staff, designing and implementing an industrial-scale operation to produce 60,000 meals for hard-working NHS staff in local hospitals and 85,000 meals for locals’ families throughout the pandemic.


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. 


The Ladbrokes Northwest Football Awards proudly supported the Darby Rimmer Foundation and The Offside Trust on the night. 


There was an emotional moment when a message was played from former Liverpool, Rochdale and Bolton Wanderers footballer, Stephen Darby, who set up the Darby Rimmer MND Foundation with his close friend and former British Forces veteran, Chris Rimmer, after Stephen’s sudden retirement from football in September 2018, after being diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND), aged just 29. 


The NWFA also honoured Offside Trust ambassador, the late Billy Seymour, who sadly passed away in January 2019, and named The Impact Award in his honour.


Also honoured on the night were the England team for their stand against racism and the heroes of the NHS for their incredible selflessness and bravery throughout the pandemic.


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FULL LIST OF WINNERS – Ladbrokes NWFA Winners 2021


Community Initiative of the Season (in association with the PFA)

City in the Community, City Thrive


Community Club of the Season – All other Leagues (in association with the PFA)

Blackpool FC Community Trust


Community Club of the Season – Premier League (in association with the PFA)

Manchester United Foundation


Highly Commended – LFC Foundation


Kick It Out Promoting Inclusion Award – League

Everton Football Club


Highly Commended – Foundation 92


Kick It Out Promoting Inclusion Award – Non-League

Creative Football


Business and Professional Services to Football



Highly Commended – UZ Gamechanger


Best Club Marketing, Sponsorship or Engagement Campaign

Tranmere Rovers Football Club


Fan Media, Channel or Podcast of the Season

The Podcast


Northwest Football Broadcaster of the Season

Sam Matterface – talkSPORT


Northwest Football Journalist of the Season

Daniel Taylor – The Athletic UK


Unsung Hero

James Tagg


Manager of the Season

Neil Critchley – Blackpool FC


Premier League Player of the Season

Mo Salah – Liverpool Football Club


Championship Player of the Season

Adam Armstrong – Blackburn Rovers Football Club


League One Player of the Season

Will Keane – Wigan Athletic Football Club


League Two Player of the Season

Peter Clarke – Tranmere Rovers Football Club


National League Player of the Season

John Rooney – Stockport County


Women’s Player of the Season

Chloe Kelly – Manchester City


The Athletic Rising Star

Harvey Elliott – Blackburn Rovers Football Club


The Athletic Women’s Rising Star

Lauren Hemp – Manchester City


Fabrice Muamba Award for Outstanding Service to Football Medicine & Performance

Matt Barrass


Billy Seymour Impact Award, in association with The Offside Trust

Jordan Henderson


The Maurice Watkins, CBE Lifetime Contribution Award

Denis Law


Moment of the Season

TYRHYS DOLAN, Preston North End v BLACKBURN ROVERS, 24.11.20 – Dolan dedicating his goal to his late friend, Jeremy Wisten