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League to present Sir Tom Finney Award at Football League Awards 2014

14 March 2014

The Football League is to permanently re-name the annual award it presents to a player that has had an outstanding career in its competitions in honour of Preston North End and England legend Sir Tom Finney, who died last month.

The first recipient of the Sir Tom Finney Award will be AFC Bournemouth centre forward Steve Fletcher, who retired at the end of last season aged 40 after a professional career spanning 24 years and more than 800 senior appearances.

Fletcher will receive the Sir Tom Finney Award at Sunday evening's Football League Awards 2014 in Central London.

Football League Chief Executive Shaun Harvey said: "Sir Tom Finney's talent, loyalty and commitment marked him out as a truly exceptional player and a model professional.

"We are delighted to name this award in his honour and present it to those players that, like Sir Tom, set standards that others aspire to."

The award will be presented to Fletcher by Preston North End Manager, Simon Grayson, and the Club's General Manager Ben Rhodes said: "Sir Tom is an iconic figure to our football club, our city and for English football and he was the epitome of fair play and loyalty.

"Whoever wins this award, this year, and beyond, will do so in honour of his great service to the game and his professionalism. It is wonderful that his name can live on in this way."

After joining the Cherries as a teenager from Hartlepool United in 1992, Steve Fletcher went on to play 728 times for the South Coast club in a career that included 121 goals and three promotions.

He finished his playing days on a high, winning promotion to the Sky Bet Championship in 2013 and continues to serve the club as Head of Recruitment and an ambassador.

Harvey continued: "Steve Fletcher has been an outstanding ambassador for AFC Bournemouth and football in The Football League. For more than 20 years he's been adored by Bournemouth fans and feared by opposition defences in equal measure. He is a very worthy first recipient of the Sir Tom Finney Award."

After being told he was to be presented with the award, Steve Fletcher said: "I'm very honoured and proud to receive the Sir Tom Finney Award. Never in my wildest dreams, as a young lad kicking a ball around the streets of Hartlepool, could I ever have imagined this would happen to me. I am truly humbled."

 

The Football League Awards honour achievements, both on and off the pitch, across The League's 72 clubs, rewarding players, clubs and fans in 13 categories, which include the Family Club of the Year, Johnstone's Paint Community Club of the Year, Capital One Supporter of the Year and the Tokio Marine Unsung Hero award.

On the pitch, the League Football Education Apprentice of the Year will be chosen for each division, as will the Sky Bet Player of the Year, while the Young Player of the Year and the Mitre Goal of the Year will also be announced.

Supporters will get a front row seat for Sunday's Awards with live coverage of the ceremony being broadcast to a global online audience on multiple channels. Fans can watch all the action unfold by heading to www.FLAwards.com, The Football League's official YouTube and Facebook pages, as well as official club websites and YouTube channels. There will also be a variety of live online partners taking the event to fans around the world.

LIVE: The Football League Awards 2014 - Please click here for live blog and video

More info:
BBC: Steve Fletcher wins Football League's Sir Tom Finney award


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