Brighton & Hove Albion fan Sarah Watts has been named the Capital One Supporter of the Year at The Football League Awards 2015.Sarah, who passed away in January 2015, was honoured with 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.
The Football League Awards 2015 mark the 10th year of the awards, which celebrate on and off pitch excellence across The League’s 72 clubs. This year all 72 clubs were nominated for at least one award
Sarah had already been named the Capital One Supporter of the Year for the Championship, but beat competition for the overall award from two other divisional winners – Crawley Town’s Tracey Cole (League 1) and Exeter City’s Greg Hill (League 2).
When Sarah sadly passed away earlier this year tributes poured in from fellow fans, former Seagulls players and leading figures across the game. She was well known for her relentless campaigning against homophobia with the Brighton & Hove Supporters’ Club and the Gay Football Supporters’ Network. She also played a vital role in ensuring the Club’s new stadium was built due to her work on the ‘Falmer For All’ campaign.
Liz Costa, who collected the award on behalf of Sarah Watts, said: "She would find this quite extraordinary that people thought enough of her to vote for her. She didn't believe anybody cared about her, she thought people were laughing at her because she was a big lass, but she was at the forefront of a lot of the campaigns we ran. She would have been astonished. Thanks to all the fans on social media who went on and said 'let's make sure Sarah wins this' - thanks to them. They will be quite glad they have achieved it for her. People realised she did a great job after all."
The Football League is all about fans supporting their team, and this award recognises someone who has gone above and beyond the call of duty and added that extra special bit of devotion to their club and the game of football.
Shaun Harvey, Chief Executive of The Football League, said: "The 10th Football League Awards has given us the opportunity to reward outstanding performance, both on and off the pitch, during what has been a memorable Football League season.
"Each of our winners thoroughly deserves this recognition and, once again, we've seen exceptional levels of talent, dedication and achievement across all our nominees."
The Football League Awards 2015 were streamed live on The Football League's official YouTube channel and website, while highlights will be shown on Sky Sports 1 on Monday evening at 6:15pm and 9:15pm.
To find out more about The Football League Awards, and for a full list of Award categories, please visit www.FLAwards.com or search for #FLAwards on Twitter, and other social media.