In a year when clubs from the north west have dominated the headlines, with both Manchester giants battling it out for the 2011/12 Premier League title in one of the most dramatic seasons in living memory, Liverpool winning the League Cup and Everton continuing to impress under the shrewd management of David Moyes, the judges on the panel for the 2012 Northwest Football Awards have completed the difficult task of shortlisting the region’s Player of the Year nominations for the top five divisions.
Supporters can now cast their vote to back their heroes and help decide which players will receive the various accolades. The current Premier League players nominated are Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany, Manchester United winger Antonio Valencia, international defenders; John Heitinga of Everton and Martin Skrtel of Liverpool and Wigan Athletic skipper Gary Caldwell.
Other standout nominees include Bolton Wanderers goalkeeper Adam Bogdan, Blackpool defender Alex Baptise and former Crewe Alexandra and current Manchester United midfielder Nick Powell.
Those submitting their vote also have the opportunity to enter a competition for the chance to win a pair of tickets to the Northwest Football Awards.
Consisting of professionals across all aspects of the game, including PFA Chairman Gordon Taylor OBE and former FA Chief Executive Mark Palios, the panel have announced the finalists that will be competing for various honours at the awards ceremony, which takes place on Monday 12 November at Lancashire County Cricket Club’s ‘The Point’ and will be presented by BBC Sport’s Dan Walker.
The awards also celebrate achievements across all areas of professional clubs – from the Premier League to the Blue Square Premier Division, including the best community initiatives, marketing campaigns and sponsorship engagement.
Special categories on the night will also recognise the Northwest Football Journalist of the Year, Manager of the Year, Goal of the Year, as well as a Lifetime Contribution to Northwest Football and an Unsung Hero Award.
The full shortlists for the divisional Player of the Year awards are as follows:
Barclays Premier League Player of the Year Yakubu Aiyegbeni – Blackburn Rovers (now at Guangzhou R&F FC) Adam Bogdan – Bolton Wanderers John Heitinga – Everton Martin Skrtel – Liverpool Vincent Kompany – Manchester City Antonio Valencia – Manchester United Gary Caldwell – Wigan Athletic
npower Championship Player of the Year Alex Baptise – Blackpool Jay Rodriguez – Burnley (now at Southampton)
npower League One Player of the Year David Worrall - Bury Lee Miller – Carlisle United Kieren Lee – Oldham Athletic (now at Sheffield Wednesday) Thorsten Stuckmann – Preston North End Jason Kennedy – Rochdale David Buchanan – Tranmere Rovers (now at Preston North End)
npower League Two Player of the Year Padraig Amond – Accrington Stanley Nick Powell – Crewe Alexandra (now Manchester United) Jose Veiga – Macclesfield Town (now with Harrogate Town) Chris McCready – Morecambe
Blue Square Conference Player of the Year Damian Reeves - Altrincham Joe Connor – Stockport County Tom Hannigan – Vauxhall Motors FC