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Millwall's Billy Neil wins Tokio Marine Unsung Hero

24 March 2013

Millwall Commercial Sales Representative Billy Neil has been named the Tokio Marine Unsung Hero at The Football League Awards 2013.

Neil received the award at the gala ceremony at The Brewery, London, on Sunday evening in front of over 600 guests from clubs, sponsors and the football industry. This year there were a total of 17 awards with 34 clubs shortlisted for honours.

Neil beat competition from AFC Bournemouth's John Hariss and Oxford United's Peter Rhoades-Brown to claim the overall Award.

Billy joined Millwall in the spring of 1964 as a player, and is still on the full-time staff some 49 years later. A left winger by trade, Billy scored 30 goals in 213 appearances before his career was cut short by a serious knee which eventually forced his retirement in 1971. He then moved into the commercial department where he still works now.

A source of inspiration and support to colleagues, he is as enthusiastic and passionate about his club as ever and at the age of 68, Billy is a man who has experienced every aspect of working for his football club.

On winning the award, Billy said: "This is just brilliant; I will be going home happy and can't wait to phone all my family and friends to tell them.

"The only thing I haven't done at Millwall is be the manager - I am too old for that now.

"I haven't won an awful lot during my career but this makes all the years at the club worthwhile."

When assessing the category, judges looked for someone they felt had gone above and beyond the call of duty and added that extra special bit of devotion to their club.

Greg Clarke, Chairman of The Football League, said: "The Football League Awards 2013 has given us another opportunity to celebrate success at League clubs both on and off the pitch. It gives us the chance to reward those who have achieved fantastic results throughout the year. I would like to congratulate tonight's winners and all those who were nominated."

Other notable winners on the night included Watford's Matej Vydra, who walked away with the npower Championship Player of the Year Award. The npower League 1 and npower League 2 Player of the Year Awards went to AFC Bournemouth's Matt Ritchie and Port Vale's Tom Pope respectively.

Peter Shilton OBE received the prestigious Contribution to League Football Award. Previous winners include Shrewsbury Town manager Graham Turner, Crewe Alexandra Director of Football Dario Gradi MBE and PFA Chief Executive Gordon Taylor OBE.

To find out more about The Football League Awards, and for a full list of Award categories, please visit

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