Sunderland legend Gary Bennett MBE scoops North East Personality of the Year award

Gary Bennett has once again been honoured.
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Former Sunderland hero and current BBC Radio Newcastle co-commentator Gary Bennett MBE has been named North East Personality of the Year.

Bennett’s playing career saw him spend 11 seasons with Sunderland after joining the club from Cardiff City in 1984. Since retirement, the former defender has campaigned against racism in football and was recently awarded an MBE

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“I got involved because I believe in what we are doing," Bennett said after winning the award, voted for by the North East Football Writers' Association. "I’ve suffered, and I want to raise awareness, not only in sport but in society. Racism can happen to anyone of any skin colour, religion, culture, if you are a minority, it is likely you will suffer from some form of racism.”

Gary will receive his award this Sunday at the North East Football Writers' Association Awards night, sponsored by William Hill, which celebrates the best of North East football and is held annually at the Ramside Hall Hotel in Durham. The event will, once again, raise funds for The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, which is part of Newcastle Hospitals Charity and helps find more effective ways to detect and treat cancer.

Colin Young, Secretary of the North East Football Writers’ Association, added: “This is a very important award for our Association and the choice of recipient is always given a lot of consideration.

“Gary is someone we all like as a person and a pundit but he’s also someone who suffered racist abuse as a player. His determination to stop the racism directed from some so-called supporters became part of a much wider picture and he’s made a positive impact across society as a whole.

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“We’re hugely proud that he’ll be receiving this year’s North East Football Writers’ Association Personality of the Year with the full backing of The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.”

The North East Football Writers’ Association Awards are voted for by football writers across the region and reflect achievements in the 2022/2023 season.

Other recipients this year include Kieran Trippier (Newcastle United), Men’s Player of the Year, Sarah Robson (Durham Women FC), Women’s Player of the Year, Hayden Hackney (Middlesbrough FC) Young Men’s Player of the Year and Katy Watson (Sunderland AFC), Young Women’s Player of the Year.


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