Daryl Janmaat's hopeful of a better 12 months after being named the North East's player of a troubled year in the region.
The Newcastle United defender, in the side beaten 5-1 by Crystal Palace today, will tomorrow night collect the North East Football Writers' player of the year trophy in Durham.
Previous winners include Peter Beardsley, Chris Waddle, Les Ferdinand, Alan Shearer and Shay Given.
Janmaat's United colleague Ayoze Perez has been named the young player of the year.
Newcastle and Sunderland have been at the wrong end of the season all year, and Janmaat, signed from Feyenoord last year, admits it was "strange" to be honoured for what has been a difficult 12 months.
"I was a little bit surprised to win it," said the Holland international.
"I have seen the names of past winners, and it is a big thing and a huge honour for me.
"It has been a funny year. We haven't played the best as a team in 2015, and we have not won many matches, so it feels a bit strange to win the North East player of the year.
"And it has been a difficult time with the national team too because we didn't qualify for Euro 2016 finals, which is very disappointing, and the whole country and we will miss out on the finals this time which is not normal and not good for us.
"We have to look forward to qualifying for the World Cup Finals in Russia now."
Janmaat spoke to Dutch countryman Tim Krul before signing for Newcastle.
"I talked to Tim after asking him about Newcastle directly, and it is what I expected and how he told me it would be," he said.
"And you can see it every week in the supporters at every home game, and with the number of fans who travel to the away games, which is incredible.
"Newcastle is a really big club and our results have not been good.
"We have to improve. Newcastle can be much higher up the Premier League table, and I think we should be challenging for the top eight in the country.
"Everything is there, the stadium, the supporters, and I believe Newcastle can do much better."
Middlesbrough pair George Friend and Grant Leadbitter were second and third respectively in the polling for the 2015 award.
* Tickets for tomorrow night's FWA awards dinner at Ramside Hall are still available. Call 0191 375 3080.