Chelsea players win hat-trick of titles at London Football Awards

Lauren James was one of three award-winners for Chelsea at the 2024 London Football Awards, while Arsenal’s Declan Rice was crowned Premier League Player of the Year.

Marking its tenth year, the London Football Awards celebrated the best in London football and acknowledged the achievements of stars of the Premier League, Women’s Super League and beyond.

Following up on her Women’s Young Player of the Year award from last year, Chelsea Women’s forward James saw off competition from her teammates Niamh Charles and Guro Reiten, as well as Tottenham Hotspur Women’s Martha Thomas and Arsenal Women’s Katie McCabe, to win the Women’s Super League Player of the Year title.

James’ attacking flair and 12 WSL goals so far this season have played a central role in her side’s domestic campaign, which sees them currently top the league table in an exhilarating battle for the title.

Arsenal midfielder Rice took home the coveted Premier League Player of the Year title after guiding West Ham United to UEFA Europa Conference League glory before a summer transfer to North London, where he has helped keep the Gunners in a hotly-contested Premiership title race and propelled them into the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League.

Rice won the award ahead of his teammate William Saliba, West Ham United striker Jarrod Bowen and Tottenham Hotspur’s Guglielmo Vicario and Pedro Porro.

Commenting on his first season at Arsenal as he accepted his award on stage, Rice said: “Since the moment I walked through the doors, I’ve loved every single minute of it.”

“Obviously I was at West Ham for ten years – it’s such a big change in environment, life, different manager, different players, and my thing was to just go there and be myself.”

“As time’s gone on, as games have gone on, I’ve just tried to be confident and do the best I can for the team and so far we’re doing really well.”

“Thirteen (games) to go, but hopefully we can have a good end to the season.”

In the rising stars categories, the future looks bright at Stamford Bridge as Chelsea celebrated Cole Palmer and Agnes Beever-Jones winning the Men’s and Women’s Young Player of the Year awards.

Palmer joined the Blues from Manchester City last September and the striker’s 10 goals and six assists for the club saw the judges rank him ahead of runners-up Ali Al-Hamadi and Jack Currie of AFC Wimbledon, and Tottenham Hotspur’s Destiny Udogie and Pape Mata Sarr.

Chelsea Women’s forward Beever-Jones has impressed with her “super sub” goals this season and she was crowned ahead of Tottenham Hotspur’s Grace Clinton and Arsenal’s Kyra Cooney Cross.

Elsewhere, Tottenham Hotspur’s Ange Postecoglou was named 2024 Manager of the Year for bringing an exciting brand of football to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, which sees his team currently sit fifth in the Premier League table.

He was up against stiff competition from runners up David Moyes of West Ham United, Chelsea Women’s coach Emma Hayes, Arsenal’s Mikel Arteta and Richie Wellens of Leyton Orient. Spurs also celebrated Guglielmo Vicario receiving the Goalkeeper of the Year award, with the Italian’s shot-stopping ability recognised ahead of Crystal Palace’s Sam Johnstone, Fulham’s Bernd Leno and West Ham United’s Alphonse Areola and Mackenzie Arnold (of West Ham United Women’s).

Reflecting on how he is finding his first season playing in the Premier League and living in London,

Vicario said: “I think it’s the best football in the world so it’s very good to play in and to enjoy everything – the stadiums, the fans, the crowds, the atmosphere that people are creating in every game, every weekend is unbelievable.”

Alfie May was crowned English Football League Player of the Year after becoming the fastest player to score 20 goals for Charlton Athletic in 51 years – reaching the milestone in just 30 appearances.

His category’s runners-up were AFC Wimbledon’s Ali Al-Hamadi, Millwall’s Ryan Leonard and Leyton Orient’s Theo Archibald.

Fans played their part in this year’s London Football Awards ceremony as they voted for the Goal of the Season award, which went to Crystal Palace midfielder Michael Olise’s spectacular solo effort against Luton Town on 25 November, 2023.

The winning moment saw Olise receive the ball on the halfway-line, weave through the Hatters defence and curl a sublime strike into the top corner of the net from the edge of the penalty area.

The Community Project of the Year award, which shines a light on how clubs are supporting those living in their local area and working to tackle issues on and off the pitch in London, went to Sutton United Foundation’s Pan-Disability Football.The initiative, which facilitates training, matches and tournaments for footballers with a range of disabilities, pipped Arsenal Foundation’s Positive Futures Initiative and Tottenham Hotspur Foundation’s Move4U to the title.

The Power of Football award went to the late John Berylson, who was chairman of Millwall from 2007 until his death at the age of 70 last year, and it was collected by his son James and Millwall CEO Steve Kavanagh in his honour.

The evening ended with the presentation of the Outstanding Contribution Award to Harry Redknapp, who has played a significant role in London football as both a player and manager for more than five decades.

He was recognised for his seven years managing West Ham United, with whom he won the Intertoto Cup in 1999, his successful periods in the dug-out at Tottenham Hotspur and Queen’s Park Rangers and his achievements beyond London, which included winning the FA Cup with Portsmouth.

Receiving his award from former Arsenal goalkeeper Bob Wilson OBE, who founded the awards’ charity the Willow Foundation, Redknapp said: “It’s great to be here and thank you for the award, especially to receive it when Bob (Wilson) is involved, because I’ve been in football a long time and I’ve met many fantastic people in football, lots of lovely people, but I’ve never met a lovelier man than him – he is special.

“And we have to keep supporting Willow because it’s an amazing charity that does so much and gives such fantastic things to people who need it.”

After being shown testimonies from a host of players and managers who had worked alongside him during his football career, Redknapp added: “They’re all great players, the lads that were there talking, and what I love to see is young players come through the system.

“When you’re a manager there’s nothing better than having kids come through the youth team into the first team and become players at your football club.”

The tenth London Football Awards were hosted by former UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 winner Jill Scott and comedian and writer Iain Stirling at Camden Roundhouse on the evening of Thursday, 29 February.

All proceeds from the awards go to Willow, the UK’s only national charity providing Special Days and Specials Treats for seriously ill young adults aged 16 to 40 years old when they are needed the most.

The charity was founded by former Arsenal goalkeeper and sports broadcaster Bob Wilson OBE and his late-wife Megs, following the death of their daughter Anna from cancer, aged 31. The 2024 London Football Awards were sponsored by Toscafund, Frogmore and Weston Homes.

Individual award sponsors were Toscafund (Premier League Player of The Year award), Jump Design and Direction (EFL Player of the Year), Frogmore (Goal of the Season), Weston Homes (Outstanding Contribution to London Football), Versus (WSL Player of the Year), Gung Ho (Men’s Young Player of the Year) and Prime Time (drinks sponsor).

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