Middlesbrough duo Jonny Howson and Marcus Tavernier beat Newcastle and Sunderland competition to win North East Football Writers’ awards

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Middlesbrough’s Jonny Howson has been crowned the North East Footballer of the Year for 2020 in the North East Football Writers’ Association annual awards.

Boro completed a double swoop after Marcus Tavernier was named the North East Young Player of the Year award, while Durham Women forward Beth Hepple won the Women’s Player of the Year trophy.

The NEFWA’s annual awards ceremony are staged at Durham’s Ramside Hall, but the coronavirus pandemic means this year’s event has been postponed.

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Last year Newcastle duo Fabian Schar and Sean Longstaff were named the NEFWA’s player and young player of the year respectively.

Middlesbrough midfielder Jonny Howson.Middlesbrough midfielder Jonny Howson.
Middlesbrough midfielder Jonny Howson.

Rather than staging a virtual ceremony, the NEFWA hope they’ll be able to stage a live event later in the year if coronavirus restrictions are eased.

Howson started the year playing in defence but returned to his natural midfield role following the appointment of Neil Warnock in June.

The 32-year-old midfielder helped Boro avoid relegation from the Championship and was rewarded with a new deal after an impressive start to the 2020/21 campaign.

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Tavernier, 21, is also enjoying his best season to date after starting 22 of the Boro’s 28 league games this term.

“It has been a challenging year for everybody,” said Colin Young, chairman of the North-East Football Writers’ Association. “But football has continued, and we felt it was important that after more than 40 years of awarding our Player of the Year awards, we didn’t allow the coronavirus pandemic to stop us in our tracks.

“We aren’t able to stage our annual awards ceremony in its usual slot, but we’re hoping that with the support of Ramside Hall, we might be able to arrange something if conditions are different later in the year.

“For now, Jonny Howson is a fitting winner of the Player of the Year award, and with Marcus Tavernier winning the Young Player of the Year honour, it’s a double celebration for Middlesbrough, who have had a new lease of life under Neil Warnock.

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“Beth Hepple is the winner of the Women’s Player of the Year award, which is further proof of the giant strides made by Durham Women in the last few years.”

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