New Zealand Football celebrated its 125th birthday on Wednesday night in the grand tearoom at Auckland’s Heritage Hotel. It was a wonderful evening (apart from the US Election result which I must admit did take the gloss off it very slightly) with great food, fine wine and exceptional company. The current All Whites squad and coaching staff were there as well as men’s and women’s internationals past and present including a good smattering of 1982 World Cup veterans.
Part of the programme for the evening was the presentation of the 2015 Football Media Association awards – for which I was extremely honoured and privileged to be amongst the finalists in three categories! They were Writer of the Year, Community-Internet Writer of the Year, and in-the-back-of-the.net was a finalist in the Website of the Year category.
In terms of the big one – Writer of the Year – it was always clear that Michael Burgess was Auckland City, his Herald colleague Steven Holloway was Team Wellington, and I was Southern United just amazed to have even made the playoffs!
For Website of the Year, I give huge congratulations to Dave Webster from The Journeyfan. Dave is a good mate – for all intents and purposes he is the Wellington version of me – and it’s great for the football blogging community to see a range of us getting recognised and encouraged for the work we are doing.
Which brings us to Community-Internet Writer of the Year. To win this award is an achievement I am very proud of. My heartfelt thanks goes to the people who make the awards possible – The NZFMA and Simon Kay in particular, Friends of Football, the sponsors Kyocera Document Solutions and Connect NZ, and New Zealand Football.
Some great friends of this blog were also recognised! First and foremost, Bruce Holloway (AKA Cordwainer Bull) won Publication of the Year for ‘The National League Debates’ – we’re claiming that as two ITBOTN award winners on the night!! Shane Wenzlick won Photographer of the Year – Shane and I have spent a lot of time on sidelines together and he is one of the nicest guys around. Jason Pine picked up both the Audio and Television Broadcaster of the Year awards and Mark Reid from Waitemata AFC won Programme of the Year for the second year running. All of those awards are richly deserved.
For my part, I have received a heap of messages of congratulations on social media since the announcement was made. I have tried to reply to them all but I apologise if I didn’t get you yours.
A common thread amongst them was “keep doing what you are doing”. I can assure you that right now I have no intention of stopping anytime soon, especially while there is still lots of room for improvement! One of the things that motivates me about these awards is the ability to get some good objective feedback on how the quality of this site rates. My next ambition is to break into the photography category! Maybe next year…
Until then, thanks for all your support! I will keep going as long as I feel like what I am doing is of value to the football community.
Or until President Trump nukes us…
A grassroots sports photography enthusiast based in Auckland, New Zealand, and a fan of the most magnificent football club on earth - A.S. Roma.