Departing Arsenal Ladies manager Vic Akers was today honoured for his dedication and contribution to the women’s game at The FA Women’s Football Awards in London.
Akers, who was instrumental in the formation of Arsenal Ladies more than two decades ago, was presented with The FA Special Achievement Award by FA Vice-President, Ray Kiddell OBE at the prestigious ceremony.
Akers has led the Ladies team to 32 trophies including eleven FA Women’s Premier League Titles, ten FA Women’s Cups and the UEFA Women’s Cup, becoming the first English team to do so in 2007.
Reflecting the close finish in this season’s FA Tesco Women’s Premier League, the main honours of the day were shared between Arsenal and Everton Ladies.
Everton dominated the individual awards with Fara Williams winning both Nationwide International Player of the Year, and Tesco Players’ Player of the Year, while her team-mate Toni Duggan was presented with The FA Young Player of the Year.
After another successful season in which they won a further domestic treble, including the FA Tesco Women’s Premier League and the FA Women’s Cup, Arsenal were crowned Tesco Club of the Year.
The 11th annual ceremony, staged at the Park Plaza Hotel in London, featured awards in 16 different categories, including Tesco Manager of the Year awarded to Sunderland’s Mick Mulhern who lead his team to their first ever FA Women’s Cup Final, and new for 2009, The FA Tesco Community Award, which was won by Sport England National Sports Foundation.
The full list of all 16 award winners is as follows:
The awards were hosted by ITV football pundit Robbie Earle, and were attended by 300 of the biggest names in Women's football, including representatives from the England Women’s senior squad ahead of their busy summer of International Football. Also present was FA Chairman Lord Triesman and Director of Football Development Sir Trevor Brooking.
Morag Taylor, Marketing Manager for Women’s Football at The Football Association, commented: “This year has been full of good performances and amazing achievements across the women’s game and it’s once again a great pleasure to be able to bring everyone together to celebrate.
“We’ve been thrilled to see the growing numbers of young girls and women across the country who have been getting involved in all levels of the game this season, and with Hope Powell’s team qualifying for the European Championships in Finland later this summer, we’re hopeful that we’ll have much more to celebrate this year.”
Women's Football is the biggest female team sport in the country, with over 1.35 million females playing recreational football, of which more than 150,000 are playing in affiliated school and club teams.
To ensure the game continues to grow, The FA and Tesco, the official women’s and girls’ football partner, are embarking on a joint drive to encourage girls to take up football this summer.
Girls’ Football Week will be held between Monday 22 to Sunday 28 June, encouraging girls to attend regional taster sessions and join their local clubs. For more information please click here.
photos Janos Schmidt