BY YANN TEAR
QPR Director of Football Les Ferdinand – a man who enjoys legendary status at the club – is to be the latest west London footballer to be honoured for services to the game.
Now in its sixth year, the annual London Football Awards, one of the top charity events in the footballing calendar, will bestow the Outstanding Contribution accolade on Mr Ferdinand.
The awards ceremony takes place on March 5 next year at Camden’s Roundhouse, and will raise crucial funds for Willow – a national charity helping seriously ill young adults.
He joins some great names with west London football connections who have previously won a London Football Award.
These include Ryan Sessegnon at Fulham (EFL and Young Player of the Year 2018); Ex-Fulham team-mate Tom Cairney (EFL Player of the Year 2017); Frank Lampard (Outstanding Contribution to London Football 2017); current QPR boss Mark Warburton (London Manager of the Year 2015); Ex-Chelsea stars Eden Hazard (London Player of the Year 2015 and Player of the Year 2014); Petr Cech (Goalkeeper of the Year 2016); John Terry (Outstanding Contribution to London Football 2016) and Thibaut Courtois (Goalkeeper of the Year 2015).
A prolific striker at every club he played for, Ferdinand is one of the highest goal scorers in the Premier League’s history with 149.
He has been one of the finest Londoners to play the game in the Premier League era, representing not only some of the biggest football clubs around but also England at national level.
He led a magnificent career, also playing with distinction for Tottenham and Newcastle United, as well as QPR.
Mr Ferdinand said: “Being a Londoner and having played for some of the best clubs in the capital, it is a great honour to receive this award.
“I look forward to supporting the London Football Awards 2020 and helping to raise much-needed funds for Willow – providing even more Special Days for seriously ill young adults.”
Set up by Arsenal goalkeeping legend Bob Wilson, the event honours all aspects of the game, from Manager of the Year and Young Player of the Year, through to Women’s Player of the Year.
Past winners have also included Andros Townsend, Arsene Wenger, Frank Lampard, Harry Kane and Ian Wright.
Groups promoting the good of the game are also recognised, with past winners including Chelsea Foundation’s Say No To Antisemitism (Community Project of the Year 2019); Fulham’s Feltham Young Offender Institute (Community Project of the Year 2017); and QPR in the Community Trust’s #Game4Grenfell (Community Project of the Year 2018).
The awards are independently judged by an expert panel from the world of football. This includes former Fulham and QPR star Bobby Zamora.
Mr Wilson, Willow co-founder and Life President, said: “Outstanding contribution to London Football is one the biggest awards on the night and we’re absolutely thrilled to be honouring Les, who has contributed so much in the capital’s game throughout what can only be described as a phenomenal career.
“He is one of the Premier League’s all-time top goal scorers, having represented some of London’s leading clubs, but also England at the highest level, and continues to enhance the game within his role as Director of Football at QPR.”
The London Football Awards was set up to support Willow, the national charity set up by Bob Wilson and his wife Megs, to support seriously ill 16-40-year-olds to fulfil uplifting and unforgettable Special Days.
This year Willow marks its 20th anniversary and, to date, has provided more than 16,500 Special Days to young adults living with a range of life-threatening conditions, including cancer, motor neurone disease, cystic fibrosis and Huntington’s disease.
Nominees for next year’s event will be announced in early 2020.
Tickets and packages are available, with prices starting from £250. For more information, visit: https://londonfootballawards.org.