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Black List Celebration goes to another level

THE WRITE STUFF: The media award recipients with MPs Dawn Butler (left) and Damian Collins (second from left) All photo credit: Sylvester George

GUESTS GATHERED in their numbers for the second Football Black List Celebration last week.

The sparkling event honoured people achieving great strides in the game within the black community. Co-founded by Leon Mann and Rodney Hinds, the Football Black List shines a light on African and Caribbean individuals working to make a difference on and off the field.

The glittering ceremony was hosted by DJ Spoony, host for Premier League TV’s ‘Fanzone’. Supported by the Premier League, the ceremony also raised awareness of the under representation of people of colour from board level to grassroots. Special guests included Lord Herman Ouseley, Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore, Dawn Butler MP and Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee chair Damian Collins MP.

HAPPY: (from left) Guardian football writer David Hytner with the BBC’s head of TV sport, Philip Bernie, and beIN TV’s Carrie Brown

Brighton and Hove Albion manager Chris Hughton won in the coaching and management category, while Rochdale’s Joe Thompson - who has beat cancer twice - triumphed in the Players – off the pitch category. Former West Bromwich Albion player Cyrille Regis and Arsenal Ladies legend Rachael Yankey took the Keith Alexander award, recognising their outstanding contribution to football. Also honoured was Paul Canoville, Chelsea's first black player.

Regis played with Laurie Cunningham and Brendon Batson at West Bromwich Albion in the late seventies. Known as ‘The Three Degrees’, the trio played an integral role in ensuring that black players were accepted in the English game. Yankey is an Arsenal Ladies legend and England’s most capped player.

Other winners included Daily Mirror football journalist Darren Lewis, sports journalist Mimi Fawaz and BBC Final Score Editor Louise Sutton in the media category. Leading figures in the game Sir Les Ferdinand, Paul Elliot and Chris Ramsey, won administration awards. Other awards categories included commercial, practitioners, community and grassroots.

As a tribute to the late Ugo Ehiogu, the ‘Ones to Watch’ category was renamed in his honour. The late Ehiogu collected the same award last year. The former England, Aston Villa and Middlesbrough defender made his last public appearance at an earlier Football Black List Celebration before his tragic passing in April. His family presented trophies to the 11 winners on the night. Among those recognised were Arsenal striker Danielle Carter, Best of Africa awards organiser, Aisha Hughton and London 2012 Paralympian and Saints Foundation Ambassador Martin Sinclair.

GOOD TIMES: Football Black List co-founder Leon Mann with award winner, Anthony Ferguson, FA County coach developer (left)

Co-founder Mann said: “It was tremendous to see so many people from the community and football family coming down to support the event.

“The support from the Premier League has taken the celebration to another level. To have Ugo Ehigou’s wife Gemma, his brothers and sister attend was particularly special.

“We are so pleased the Ones to Watch awards are named after the great man and look forward to celebrating and remembering him with everyone at the next event.”

WINNER: Kick It Out’s Troy Townsend (left) was recognised on the night

Voice sports editor, Hinds added: “An event such as the Football Black List Celebration rewards nominees for their efforts and everyone deserves a round of applause for what they have achieved.

“Our celebration is important as the awards recognises the huge contribution our community gives to the game. We have a very talented group from diverse backgrounds. We want to encourage people of colour to get involved in the game as well as create more opportunities for the next generation.”

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