Pools ace Antony Sweeney scoops Hartlepool Mail award

Antony Sweeney with his Player of The Year Trophy. Picture by FRANK REID
Antony Sweeney with his Player of The Year Trophy. Picture by FRANK REID

ANTONY Sweeney has made it a clean sweep of Player of the Season prizes after landing our very own SportMail award.

The 27-year-old has already taken the supporters’ and players’ gongs following an outstanding campaign which yielded a career-equalling-best goals return of 14.

And now Sweeney has pipped Peter Hartley to our prize after coming out on top in the average-ratings table.

We award a mark out of 10 following each game and those scores are totalled at the end of the season and then divided to determine a winner.

And it was no surprise when Sweeney, with an average of 6.87, emerged with his third personal accolade in less than a fortnight.

The Stockton-born ace has been the first name on Mick Wadsworth’s team-sheet this year, and the Pools boss readily admits his selections and formations were designed to get the best out of his master marksman.

And that certainly proved to be the case as Wadsworth began to stamp his mark on the team towards the end of 2010, Sweeney netting seven times from 12 matches entering the New Year.

Hartley was hot on his heels with a score of 6.83, while veteran midfielder Paul Murray completed the podium with 6.81.

Last year’s treble-awards winner Neil Austin had been in the running to retain his titles under injury struck in early February.

The defender only returned to action for the penultimate game of the season against Bournemouth, just in time to hand over his trophies to Sweeney.

And, while Austin admits their new owner is a worthy recipient, he says possession of the silverware is merely on a loan agreement.

“I’ve had to give three trophies to Sweens now but I’ve told him they’re just on loan for the year,” he laughed.

“That’s why I cleaned them so well because I’ll be getting them back next year - I went to Tesco for the stuff and everything.

“But on a serious note he’s a worthy winner of them all.

“He’s been terrific this season and his goals are one of the main reasons why we were safe so soon.

“To get the award off your team-mates is always special because they’re the ones you train with every day.

“But no matter what the award the recognition is always appreciated and I’m sure he’ll be delighted like I was 12 months ago.”

Also in the running for SportMail’s award were first-team regulars Evan Horwood, Sam Collins and Gary Liddle.