Tag Archives: Willow

Aubameyang Up For Best Player at London Football Awards 2019

London’s footballing finest will be out in force on 28 February, as the annual London Football Awards take place on 28 February.

 

Battersea Evolution is the destination for this year’s LFA’s, and some of the biggest names in the sport will be vying for the awards, Tottenham’s Harry Kane, Chelsea winger Eden Hazard and Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are all nominated, with nine awards up for grabs during the prestigious event.

 

The cream of the capital’s football crop will be in attendance for this fifth London Football Awards. Among the honours being contested are Manager, Player and Young Player of the Year, as well as Women’s Player of the Year and Community Project of the Year also being in the spotlight.

 

Jordan Knobbs LFA18 winner & Kelly Smith MBE CREDIT Action Images.jpg

 

Nominees are selected by an independent panel of judges, hailing from respected media professionals belonging to the BBC, The Telegraph and Sky Sports, as well as distinguished current and ex-professional players.

 

The nominees were announced by Bob Wilson OBE on 28 January. Wilson and his wife Megs run the charity Willow, the only national charity dedicated to working with seriously ill young adults aged between 16-40, aimed at making wishes come true with Special Days designed to give those suffering a time to forget about their illness and make some memories.

 

The London Football Awards will raise some much-needed funds for Willow, and the competition for the awards will be keenly contested, the city’s biggest clubs and players will be duking it out among some shining lights from the Championship, League One and Two for honours. It will be a celebration of London’s footballing achievements, and a chance for some to achieve recognition for their brilliance during the season.

 

Ian Wright accepts Outstanding Contribution to London Football at LFA18 CREDIT Action Images.jpg

 

 

Over the five years of the LFA’s, the likes of Arsene Wenger, Ian Wright, John Terry and Frank Lampard have attended and picked up Outstanding Contribution to London Football awards, and this year will be no different. Tottenham and England legend Glenn Hoddle will be the next icon picking up this illustrious accolade.

 

The night will be filled with stars and those in attendance will be hoping that this year will be their time to pick up one of the gongs. Other past winners such as N’Golo Kante, Hugo Lloris, Dele Alli, Jordan Nobbs and Aaron Ramsey have all enjoyed the spectacle and been given the honour of winning their respective category, and Bob Wilson feels this year will be even bigger;

 

“The London Football Awards is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the skills of our nominees, as well as the outstanding community work achieved by the clubs and County FA’s. It’s been a dramatic and exciting season for all the capital’s clubs and it’s refreshing to see names from some second and third tier league teams, vying for awards against the usual Premiership heavyweights. I’m looking forward to celebrating the best of London’s football with friends and colleagues on February 28th.”

 

Standard tickets to the London Football Awards, including pre-dinner drinks and a three course meal, cost 225 pounds per person Tables of ten are available at 2,250 pounds, with Premium tables costing 3,500 and Legend tables (for nine guests plus a bona fide footballing legend) going for 6,000.

 

For more information and booking, visit www.londonfootballawards.org or call Willow on 01707 259777.

 

Stars on Canvas – Gunners Paint For Charity

Some say football is an art form, but some Arsenal legends have taken it further – by producing art themselves – and you can win their work!

One-off artwork by Arsenal players and legends, Paul Merson, Ian Wright, David Seaman, Bob Wilson, Sol Campbell and Jordan Nobbs is up for grabs in online charity auction, Stars on Canvas, from November 15 with bids starting at just 99p.

image004

Stars on Canvas is a collection of unique artwork created by more than 250 stars of TV and film, sports personalities and musicians, as well as respected artists, illustrators and cartoonists.

View the Stars on Canvas collection and find out how to bid atwww.starsoncanvas.org.uk

Each and every canvas will be sold in aid of Willow, the only national charity working with seriously ill young adults aged 16 to 40 to fulfil uplifting and unforgettable Special Days –www.willowfoundation.org.uk

An Incredible Challenge, An Inspiring Story, An Amazing Charity

Charity events need to push the boundaries further each time in order to gain the deserved level of publicity.

This unfortunately means the person performing the boundary pushing needs to go through some sort of ordeal. One that has most onlookers donating through sheer pity for the poor guy or girl suffering.

Suffering for a worthy cause though. One of those causes is particularly close to Gooners hearts.

The Willow Foundation was created by Arsenal legend Sir Bob Wilson and his wife Megs. They started Willow to help people aged between 16-40 going through horrendous illness and punishing treatments.

Willow gives people a perfect day just when they need it most. A VIP day at their beloved club. A holiday to forget about the debilitating and sapping disease and remember who they are, even for a short time.

Or, the perfect moment could be renewing their wedding vows, just like Luke James.

Luke was diagnosed with Non Hodgkins Lymphoma on the 3rd December, 2006. It was his one year wedding anniversary. This particular strain affects the immune system, and Luke soon began to struggle. This meant his family struggled too.

Worse was yet to come,if that was possible. Luke was given just 40% chance to live. His new wife and their two young children were looking at a future without him.

It’s obvious that Luke survived these insurmountable odds, as he is the subject of this story. He survived thanks to more than six months of chemotherapy that left him unable to stand on his own at times. His family were on their proverbial knees, Luke was literally on his.

During his treatment, Luke was introduced to The Willow Foundation, and he used their inspirational stories to get off the ropes. They gave him the hope he needed, when all seemed to be slipping away.

Willow vowed to do something special for him in order to help him fight through. Luke and his wife Kathryn didn’t want their wedding date to be forever paired with the misery that has followed them around. So Willow offered to help them renew their wedding vows, give them the day they deserve.

Now, Luke wants to pay them back for helping him get his life back – and countless others.

Last year, Luke ran two marathons within a week. This would be gruelling for a pro, but Luke is as regular a fellow as you’re likely to meet. Yet, he pushed himself to do it for the charity that gave him so much.

Now, for some crazy reason, Luke is doing it again – but doubling his efforts.

Luke is planning to run 4 marathons in a month. Manchester, Brighton, Milton Keynes and London are the roads his poor limbs will be running on.

He needs your help. Not to run all those miles – he is firmly on his own there – but he needs your donations.

If his story has struck a chord, then just click here. It is Luke’s Just Giving page. Whatever you can spare is gratefully received.

We all want to donate more, but money and so many choices of charity leave us either confused or just broke. We all want to do more, and this is the perfect situation.

Let Luke run the miles, tear his feet to shreds and suffer ice baths and aching limbs. All we have to do is give a little bit of cash – and we can get the warm glow knowing we’ve made a difference to someone’s life.

Luke is doing something incredible, both physically and selflessly. Let us give him the support he will need when he is on his own running on empty. 

At The London Football Awards 

On television, an awards ceremony is glossy. It is a conveyor belt of celebrity and headlines. The awards themselves are designed to highlight some exceptional work by a chosen professional in their field., and when the trophies are presented, we get to hear a snippet about the winner’s story on how they got to sit at the summit.

Football awards are no different, especially now the professionals are as close to megastars as the thespians who walked the red carpet at the Oscars recently. The big names need no introduction, but the awards ceremonies are there to do exactly that. They are the glitzy fanfare for deserving individuals that have excelled in their chosen sectors. 

And for the biggest awards, we can hear that fanfare from any given place in the world.

I was kindly offered to attend the London Football Awards on the 2nd of March, at Battersea Evolution. I was to be an official member of the press and gain some soundbites from the attending football glitterati so the charity at the root of the LFA’s – the Willow Foundation – could gain some valuable testimony on the wonderful work they do.

It meant that I was to be given license to speak to some of my heroes. It was an offer I could not refuse.

As I entered the arena, there were a huge number of dedicated Willow volunteers working their magic in the final preparations for the event. I was given my press pass – I was unashamedly proud when I saw my name on it – and I was directed to the press enclosure where the pro’s would walk past on their way to their tables for the night.

I spoke first to Bob Wilson – Arsenal’s Double-winning keeper and all-round gentleman – and the man who started the Willow Foundation spoke warmly about the growing stature of the awards and how their prominence is on the rise. 

Footballers past and present were coming and going and it was a lot to take in. The majority of the players time was spent ahead of us in front of the plethora of camera’s lying in their path, but I was quite content to bask in the light of these stars. I’ve always wanted to be a member of the press and this was the legitimate experience.

A man who I have spoken to on a number of occasions stopped to talk about the LFA’s, and Alan Smith was as warm and forthcoming as ever. He praised the idea of celebrating the clubs and players from the capital and the often unheralded work Willow do for those who need the aid most.

Perry Groves, Lee Dixon, David Seaman and Ian Wright. These were just a few ex-Gunners who attended the event, and David Seaman was quite gracious indeed with his time. His wife and Willow Ambassador Frankie Seaman stopped to talk and she told me that he always has time to give answers to the press, or anyone who asks him, such is his kind nature. Our former goalkeeper was with us for quite some time, and commented on everything from Arsene Wenger’s future to the rotation of Petr Cech and David Ospina. 

For the record, Safe Hands will not speak out against Wenger as he declared the Frenchman the ‘best coach I’ve ever had.’ Also, he thinks the rotation of our goalkeepers is needless. To hear this straight from the source, undiluted, was a real treat.

Gary Mabbutt, Tony Cottee, Gary Lineker, John Motson, Tom Cairney, Eni Aluko, N’Golo Kante and Antonio Conte were just a taste of the names who were at the night. There were far more, but with only an hour to grab as many comments as possible, it is inevitable that some get through the net.

These awards are a real fillip for London’s teams, especially as all aspects of the game are considered in the awards categories. 

Here are the Awards and the Winners from this special night:


Premier League Player of the Year:

N’Golo Kante


London Manager of the Year:

Antonio Conte



London Young Player of the Year;

Dele Alli



London Goalkeeper of the Year;

Hugo Lloris


EFL Player of the Year;

Tom Cairney



London Women’s Player of the Year:

Jordan Nobbs


London Community Project of the Year:

Fulham’s Feltham Young Offenders Institute Scheme.
The London Football Awards were a real success and next year will be even bigger. Let’s hope that Arsenal manage to bag a few next year! 

London Football Awards 2017

Football in its modern incarnation goes hand in hand with glitz and glamour.

Whether we enjoy the sparkle and popping champagne bottles that are intertwined with our game or not – it certainly doesn’t hamper the numbers which enjoy the game – compared to days gone by.

Playing in the capital of England certainly helps brighten the bulb that illuminates the players every move. London is synonymous with the cutting edge. Forward-thinking, hip, and most definitely where style resides.

Football is no different, and the annual London Football Awards this year have gathered the finest that the capital has to offer  – and all for a worthwhile cause.

The roots of the London Football Awards (the LFA’s) lie with Bob Wilson and the charity he and his wife Megs started from the ground up – Willow

It is all for a great cause. Willow is the only charity which grant Special Days to seriously ill 16-40 young adults aged between 16-40. It means they can reconnect with their family and forget the all-consuming battle they face every day. Over £200,000 was raised last year, and with a good push from all present at the event, a better figure could well be raised. 

With Gentleman Bob being not only generous but an Arsenal Football Club legend – it sees the LFA’s come full circle

This special night celebrates the very best that the capital has dished up on the pitch in 2017 – and all clubs within London are recognised. 

Arsenal, Chelsea, West Ham, Tottenham, QPR, Crystal Palace, Watford, AFC Wimbledon, Charlton, Brentford, Barnet, Fulham, Leyton Orient and Millwall are all nominated for an award, and players and managers old and new will be present to add the delicious element of celebrity to the event.

Previous winners and attendees have been Arsene Wenger, Aaron Ramsey, Harry Kane and Dmitri Payet – and this years incarnation will be sure to have the photographers flashbulb white-hot.

These accolades for the best that London has to offer will be held at Battersea on the 2nd of March, and the awards themselves cover the whole genre that is football. 

The Categories and Nominees are as follows:
Outstanding Contribution to London Football: Decided by panel of judges.
Premier League Player of the Year: N’Golo Kante, Diego Costa of Chelsea. Dele Alli and Danny Rose of Tottenham. Alexis Sanchez of Arsenal
EFL Player of the Year: Scott Hogan (formerly of Brentford). Tom Cairney and Sone Aluko of Fulham. John Akinde of Barnet. Alex Smithies of QPR.
Young Player of the Year: Dele Alli of Tottenham. Hector Bellerin and Alex Iwobi of Arsenal. Ryan Sessegnon of Fulham and Ademola Lookman formerly of Charlton.
Women’s Player of the Year: Eni Aluko, Karen Carney and Katie Chapman of Chelsea Ladies. Jordan Nobbs and Danielle Carter of Arsenal Ladies.
Goalkeeper of the Year: Hugo Lloris of Tottenham. Thibaut Courtois of Chelsea. Alex Smithies of QPR. Darren Randolph of West Ham and Jordan Archer of Millwall.
Manager of the Year: Antonio Conte of Chelsea. Mauricio Pochettino of Tottenham. Neil Harris of Millwall. Neal Ardley of AFC Wimbledon and Slavisa Jokanovic of Fulham.
Community Project of the Year: Fulham – Feltham Young Offenders Institute. Crystal Palace – Powerchair Football.  Leyton Orient – DCD Football

I will be attending in an official capacity for Willow, quizzing the players and people connected to the clubs, and I’ll be penning an article which will give you all the scoop from the Awards night. 

London deserves its own night to honour the best exponents of the footballing industry – and the LFA’s are the ideal platform.

Keep them peeled right here on The Hot Stepanovs for all the news! 

A Mammoth Task – A Worthy Cause. The Willow Foundation.

There always seems to be a charity that are vying for your hard earned readies. Whether it is the latest natural disaster to strike our planet, or a televised night in which celebrities gamely fool around in order to drum up funds from the gracious viewers.

This raft of organisations donating time and money to various causes all have the same thing in common – They all deserve the aid.

Being a football supporter these days means that you see your club involved with some fantastic fundraising schemes. Only recently, Arsenal donated a days wages to the Arsenal Foundation.  This Foundation in turn does work and donates funds to their charity partners, which are Save The Children, and the Willow Foundation.

image

Continue reading A Mammoth Task – A Worthy Cause. The Willow Foundation.