STARS from across the footballing spectrum descended on Burton as the National Football Centre hosted the inaugural England Awards.
The likes of Sir Bobby Charlton mingled with current England manager Roy Hodgson at St George’s Park as the great and the good of English football celebrated the past 12 months of the nation’s favourite pastime.
Mail editor Kevin Booth attended the event with Football Association (FA) member and South Derbyshire District Council chief executive Frank McCardle, his East Staffordshire counterpart and Burton and South Derbyshire College principal Dawn Ward.
Mrs Ward said: “There was an air of excitement about the place and a warm buzz.
“It was amazing and there was a real buzz of excitement. It was a fabulous evening.”
The evening saw 11 awards handed out with Liverpool midfielder and England Captain scooping the ‘player of the year gong’.
Team of the year was awarded to the women’s national team with England and Team GB blind footballer David Clarke handed a lifetime achievement award.
FA chairman David Bernstein hailed the new football centre where England have been preparing for tomorrow’s friendly international with Brazil at Wembley.
He said: “Being here at St George’s Park, the new home of all 24 England teams, is wonderful and the coming days will show how our development sides train side by side with senior squads on perfect pitches with state-of-the-art facilities.
“For all, whatever the age, it is a great setting for the pursuit of excellence.
“That, coupled with the togetherness and team spirit fostered by a strong club mentality, will surely be beneficial to helping bring success to England teams in the future.”
The event was attended by the whole Englad senior squad as well as Stuart Pearce’s Under-21s and Noel Blake’s U19s.
Players from all of Club England’s 24 teams will be recognised for their work during 2012 at what will now be a regular event at the £105 million facility, taking place at the start of every year
The Daily Mail’s Matt Law was handed the Brian Woolnough Writers’ Award for being the most outstanding journalist covering England during the previous 12 months.
The award was created in memory of Daily Star chief sports writer Brian Woolnough, who passed away in September.