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Fabian Schär named North East Football Writers' Player of the Year for 2019

Written by Dan King

Newcastle United defender Fabian Schär has been chosen as the 2019 North East Football Writers' Association's player of the year.

The Switzerland international - who scored four goals last season, including the 30-yard screamer against Burnley which won the Premier League and Match of the Day goal of the month in February, and was a classy performer at the heart of the Magpies' defence throughout 2019 - becomes the fourth Newcastle player in a row to win the annual award.

Goalkeeper Martin Dúbravka was last season's recipient while Jamaal Lascelles and Matt Ritchie were joint-winners in 2017. In total Newcastle players have won the award 19 times, with Sunderland on 11, Middlesbrough on nine and Hartlepool United's former Magpies forward Joe Allon taking the prestigious trophy home in 1991.

Schär narrowly beat team-mate Isaac Hayden in the vote, which is held among the North East's football writers, with Middlesbrough and Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Darren Randolph in third place.

Speaking to nufc.co.uk, Schär said: "I'm very honoured to win this award in my first full year at Newcastle United. I know that some great players, like Kevin Keegan, Alan Shearer, Juninho and Fabricio Coloccini have won it before and I am proud to follow in the footsteps of those players.

"I'd like to thank all of the writers and journalists who voted for me, and of course my team-mates, because without them awards like this would not be possible."

Meanwhile, Sean Longstaff has won the the young player of the year award. The 22-year-old was the unanimous choice for the award, which has previously been won by the likes of England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, Ayoze Pérez and Steven Taylor.

"Obviously 2019 was a good year for me - I got the chance to play for my boyhood club and to score my first goals which I will never forget," he told nufc.co.uk. "It was disrupted a little bit with the injury I got in March but hopefully there's a lot to build on and it's always nice to receive awards, so I'm grateful to everyone who voted for me.

"I'm not really one to look back - I prefer to look forward and the aim is to push on in 2020 - but I'm proud to have won the award and hopefully I can do even better over the next 12 months."

Durham Women FC defender Kathryn Hill has been named women's player of the year and all three are set to be presented with their awards at the 40th North East Football Writers' Association annual dinner at the Ramside Hall Hotel, Golf and Spa, Durham, on Sunday, February 2nd.

The awards night will also feature the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation personality of the year award, which has previously been awarded to Alan Shearer, Jermaine Defoe, Niall Quinn and Robbie Elliott. This year's recipient will be announced later this week.

As well as recognising success in non-league football, the North East Football Writers' Association also present the Bob Cass Award and the John Fotheringham Awards, named after two renowned North East football writers, and recognising outstanding services to football in the region.

Tickets for the awards night are £56 and available from Claire Stephen on 0191 375 3080.

"I'd like to thank all of the writers and journalists who voted for me, and of course my team-mates, because without them awards like this would not be possible."

Fabian Schär

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