'Unsung hero' Sunderland AFC press officer honoured at North East Football Writers' Awards

Louise Wanless is handed the John Fotheringham Award by former SAFC captain Kevin Ball.
Louise Wanless is handed the John Fotheringham Award by former SAFC captain Kevin Ball.

Sunderland AFC press chief Louise Wanless has been recognised for her significant contribution to football at the North East Football Writers’ Association Annual Awards.

She was awarded the John Fotheringham Award at a star-studded ceremony at the Ramside Hall Hotel in Durham.

Named after one of the most popular and respected football writers in the region, the John Fotheringham Award is presented by the committee to someone who has made a substantial impact on football in the region, either at a high-profile level or in a grassroots role.

Former winners include ex-Sunderland player, manager and chairman Niall Quinn, George Baker, former Newcastle United and England manager Sir Bobby Robson, John Pickering and World Cup winner Jack Charlton.

Louise has worked in football for over 20 years, starting her career at Middlesbrough Football Club before joining Sunderland AFC in 2003, where she has been the Black Cats’ press chief for over 16 years.

Louise was presented the award by former SAFC captain Kevin Ball.

Sunderland AFC managing director, Tony Davison said: “Louise has dedicated her career to football and Sunderland AFC in particular.

"It is fantastic to see one of the unsung heroes of football in the North East receiving this recognition.

"The whole club is proud of her and what she has achieved – this award is thoroughly deserved.”

Former Sunderland forward Josh Maja won the young player of the year prize and Black Cats manager Jack Ross picked it up on his behalf following Maja's move to Bordeaux.