The final weeks of the football season means it’s awards season, and winners of the player of the year awards have been announced by the Professional Footballers Association and the Football Writers’ Association.
Snack Media have been proud to work with both the FWA and the PFA in the past year as both organisations have made great steps towards promoting the women’s game and made commitments to equality and diversity in football, and the winners of this year’s big prizes are quite apt in such a year. The FWA have been active in increasing membership among a diverse range of football journalists and electing Carrie Brown as the first female chair of the association, while the PFA launched the first women’s player of the month campaign this season.
Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling and Nikita Parris won the top awards in both the men’s and women’s FWA Footballer of the Year categories as the club sits top of the men’s Premier League and second in the Women’s Super League.
— The FWA (@theofficialfwa) April 29, 2019
— Manchester City (@ManCity) April 29, 2019
The FWA end of season awards have always been about that little bit more than just footballing skill over the course of a year. Journalists have a duty to place sporting prowess in its context, and so it’s fitting that Sterling is rewarded after the amount of good that he has done this year in the face of some nasty criticism.
The PFA awards, meanwhile, saw Vivianne Miedema and Virgil Van Dijk win the Player of the Year awards, but the Young Player of the Year awards were both won by Manchester City players, too – Sterling again for the men’s prize, and Georgia Stanway for the women’s.
As great as an achievement as it is for some of the club’s – and England’s – most exciting talents to be recognised at the same time, it also gives City the chance to celebrate both players in the same way as they’ve been doing with both of their men’s and women’s teams all season, and indeed for the last number of years.
Like everyone else the club has social media channels for both of their teams, male and female, but City have made a point of merging the two at times – promoting the women’s team from the men’s account, for example. A different approach to WSL champions Arsenal, for example, whose men’s account congratulates the women’s team as a separate entity.
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) April 28, 2019
It’s certainly not the first time City have treated in their men’s and women’s teams jointly and it’s a concerted strategy to put the men’s and women’s teams on the same footing. And while it’s true that both teams will be in different positions, with different sponsors and different requirements from social media, ensuring that both teams benefit from the reach and scale of City’s main account is a strategy that’s paying off.
When it all comes down to one kick…
— Manchester City (@ManCity) February 25, 2019
It’s apt that City players, male and female, are rewarded in a year where the club has made such a big effort to promote both their teams. Similarly, it’s also fitting that the awards for these two institutions – voted for by members – span such a diverse range of players and backgrounds in a year when both the PFA and the FWA have made steps to modernise in a game that’s as inclusive as it’s ever been.
If you want to learn more about Snack Media’s work with the PFA and FWA and our commitment to promoting diversity and equality in football contact Adam@Snack-Media.com.