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F.A. WOMEN'S FOOTBALL AWARDS SPONSORED BY AXA 1998/1999

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Below are the results of the first ever F.A. national awards for women's football.

The awards ceremony which took place today at the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park Hotel, London celebrated the 1998/99 women's football season and recognised those who have played an important part in its success.

Winners were chosen by a number of methods including player votes and an expert panel.

WINNERS

AXA F.A. WOMEN'S PREMIER LEAGUE TOP SCORER, NATIONAL DIVISION

Marianne Spacey, Arsenal

THE TIMES/ON THE BALL SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

Sylvia Gore, Liverpool County Coaching Representative

WALKERS YOUNG PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Kate Chapman, Millwall Lionesses

NATIONWIDE INTERNATIONAL PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Sue Smith, Tranmere Rovers

UMBRO MOST IMPROVED TEAM

Southampton Saints

AXA PLAYERS' PLAYER OF THE YEAR

NATIONAL DIVISION - Sue Smith, Tranmere Rovers

NORTHERN DIVISION - Kelly Biney, Sheffield Wednesday

SOUTHERN DIVISION - Angela Banks, Whitehawk

AXA F.A. WOMEN'S PREMIER LEAGUE TOP SCORER

NATIONAL DIVISION

Marianne Spacey, Arsenal

A seasoned professional Spacey is one of the most famous female players this country has produced. Her fame arises from some great goals she has scored throughout the seasons and it is fitting that the first national award goes to her. Spacey is an Assistant Manager at a Leisure Centre, a mother of a 2-year-old and holder of 78 England international caps.

THE TIMES/ON THE BALL SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

Sylvia Gore, Liverpool County Coaching Representative

On the Ball was flooded with nominations for this award but it was clear from early on that there was one name that stood out head and shoulders above everyone else's, that of Gore. For 46 years Sylvia has been involved in women's football. She started her involvement as a player where she made history by scoring the first ever women's England international goal against Scotland in 1972, continued by managing Wales and now tirelessly devotes herself to a number of projects developing girls and women's football on a regional and national level. Her work in Merseyside recently drew this comment from Knowsley Councillor Keight MBE: "Her enthusiasm and commitment to football is on a par with the great Bill Shankley."

WALKER'S YOUNG PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Kate Chapman, Millwall Lionesses

Sixteen-year-old Chapman has made a great impact on the international scene following mature performances in the Under-18 team - as both a defender and goalscorer! Chapman is studying for her Sports Science B-Tech and has been with Millwall Lionesses since the age of 10.

NATIONWIDE INTERNATIONAL PLAYER OF THE YEAR AWARD

Sue Smith, Tranmere Rovers

The expert panelists selected Smith for this award as recognition for her great ability, passion and love for the game. Ever present in the England team Smith is guaranteed to give her all for her country and is an exciting player to watch. The only player to win two national awards (also won the AXA Players' Player of the Year Award).

In February Sue featured in an all star women's game against the USA in San Jose before the draw for the 1999 Women's World Cup. Smith has 17 caps for England and 3 goals.

UMBRO MOST IMPROVED TEAM AWARD

Southampton Saints

Southampton Saints were promoted to the AXA F.A. Women's Premier League National Division at the end of the 1997/98 season and have relished their new position. Safe from relegation fears Southampton Saints have secured a trip to the AXA F.A. Women's Cup Final on Monday, May 3 at Charlton to top off their season.

AXA PLAYER'S PLAYER OF THE YEAR

NATIONAL DIVISION

Sue Smith, Tranmere Rovers

Like the male winner of this award, David Ginola, Smith is a pacy and skillful winger. Although only 19 she is ever-present for her club and country and featured in an all star game against the USA in San Jose before the draw for the 1999 Women's World Cup. Smith has 17 caps for England and 3 goals. Smith said of the award "I can't believe it, for your fellow players to select you, it's such an honour. I am absolutely thrilled." Smith also received the Nationwide International Player of the Year Award.

NORTHERN DIVISION

Kelly Biney, Sheffield Wednesday

Biney's whole footballing career from the tender age of 12 to 21 has been at Wednesday where she also works in the accounts department. Described by her club as a tigerish rightback Biney has received numerous player's awards from her club and has a blossoming career.

SOUTHERN DIVISION

Angela Banks, Whitehawk

Banks has had her best ever season with Whitehawk, scoring goals for fun (currently top scorer) and earning a call up to the England squad. Banks played in Sweden for four years and is 23.

SOURCE Football Association



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