League honour its stars both on and off the field
MIDDLESBROUGH’S recent Under 23 signing Lewis Wing and some of the biggest clubs and best known faces in Teesside’s nonleague football scene were among the winners at the annual Northern League awards.
Wing won the Bob Moreland Young Player of the Year award for his impressive displays for Shildon, which included 27 top flight goals and earned him a move to Championship club Boro.
Outgoing Billingham Town chairman Peter Martin was named the league’s Unsung Hero for his “unstinting work at the club”.
Town’s Craig Hutchinson - who had a trial at Hartlepool United this season - received the Golden Boot as the league’s top scorer in the second division after scoring 51 goals for the improving Bedford Terrace-based side who finished fifth. Stockton Town are £2,000 better off after winning Northern League Division Two in their first season since coming up from the Wearside League.
They picked up £1,200 for winning the title and another £800 at the presentation night as Division Two Fair Play Award winners.
Billingham Town and Billingham Synthonia both received £300 as joint winners of the Division Two Respect Award.
And promoted Synners picked up another £300 as one of 10 clubs who won a Division Two Administration Award for “completing the season without incurring an administrative penalty”.
Former Boro midfielder Julio Arca’s club South Shields were among the main award winners following an all-conquering campaign which took them to Wembley.
The Mariners’ joint managers Lee Picton and Graham Fenton were awarded the League Manager of the Year prize for leading the club to an historic quadruple win of the Ebac Northern League title, FA Vase, Brooks Mileson League Cup and Durham Challenge Cup.
The annual awards ceremony took place at Ramside Hall Hotel in Durham and saw more than £20,000 in prize money handed out to clubs and individuals.
“It has been a momentous year for the Ebac Northern League, with some great football along with tremendous achievements by clubs and individual players,” said Northern League chairman Glenn Youngman.
“Congratulations to South Shields on their remarkable suc- cess and to all of the winners. We’re proud that Northern League clubs are such an important part of communities in the region.
“I’d also like to thank John Elliott at Ebac for his wonderful support of our league.”
Now-former Billingham Town chairman Peter Martin is staying on at the club as secretary but said it is “time to let someone younger have a go” as chairman after being flattered to win the Unsung Hero award.
Martin, who has had a 30-year association with the club, has handed on part of his duties to boss Barry Oliver who has taken on a manager-chairman’s role at Town for the time being.
“It was a nice surprise to receive the award because I don’t do the job because I want to be recognised, I do it because I enjoy it and love football,” he said.
“But the time has come for me to step down as chairman.
“We beat Willington 6-1 this season and I only saw one goal because I was that busy doing other things.
“I just want to watch some football now.
“We’ve got our 50th anniversary season coming up and it would be nice to end it with promotion.”