Former Sunderland star to be honoured at writers’ awards

Leeds United v Sunderland, September 13, 2006. Pictured: United's Gary Kelly reaches out for the ball against Sunderland's Robbie Elliott.

Leeds United v Sunderland, September 13, 2006. Pictured: United's Gary Kelly reaches out for the ball against Sunderland's Robbie Elliott.

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FORMER Sunderland star Robbie Elliott is to be honoured at this year’s North East Football Writers’ Association Awards.

The left back, who played a handful of games for the Black Cats, will be named Personality of the Year in recognition of his efforts in raising cash for The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and Breakthrough Breast Cancer.

Robbie Elliott and Phil Gray being greeted by Sir Bobby's widow, Lady Elsie Robson.

Robbie Elliott and Phil Gray being greeted by Sir Bobby's widow, Lady Elsie Robson.

Robbie, who also played in the region for Newcastle and Hartlepool, cycled the 3,500-mile Bike For Bobby challenge across Europe last year in honour of his old boss.

“I’m really honoured to be chosen for this award,” said Robbie, 39. “In fact, I was blown away when I was told about it.

“I’d like to thank the North East Football Writers’ Association for thinking of me. Bike for Bobby is something I’m personally very proud of, but it really was an amazing team effort.”

Robbie was joined on the ride by his friend Phil Gray – visiting every club Sir Bobby managed on the way.

He added: “Phil Gray, who cycled every mile with me, my trainer Nick Grantham and the support team on the road and back at home all volunteered their time to help make Bike For Bobby a success.

“They were amazing, so really this award is for them as much as me and I’m pleased to say thanks from all of us.”

Robbie will collect the award at a special dinner at the Ramside Hall Hotel, Durham, on Sunday, February 24.

Colin Young, secretary of the NEFWA, said: “We’re football journalists so we all have strong opinions, but there were no disagreements about selecting Robbie.”

He added: “His efforts raising money to fight cancer were absolutely remarkable. He deserves this recognition and more.”

Among those who will be picking up awards on the night will be Black Cats’ goalkeeper Simon Mignolet.

The Belgian, who has become a crowd favourite at the Stadium of light, will be named Player of the Year for 2012.

The Young Player award will be handed to Middlesbrough stopper Jason Steele.

Twitter: @SunEchoSteven