IAN Evatt had exalted company in the running for last night’s manager of the year prize at the North West Football Awards.

Blackpool boss Neil Critchley took the honours in a category that also included Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola, Wigan’s Leam Richardson and ex-Morecambe boss Derek Adams, now with Bradford City.

Evatt secured promotion in his first full season with Bolton after an incredible dash to the line post-February.

And speaking on the night he said the nomination was a pleasant reminder of a memorable campaign.

“It was very special, very emotional,” he said. “Obviously (it was) an awful start and then we kind of took off after January.

"I’m delighted to be nominated for an award but as I said it’s not about me, it’s about the whole team behind me really – Peter (Atherton), Matt Gilks, our analyst Lewis (Duckmanton).

"It's a really close-knit group that work tirelessly hard to make us successful. I’m just fortunate enough to be at the forefront of it all.”

Wanderers were well-represented at the awards, with George Thomason also nominated for The Athletic Rising Star prize and physio Matt Barrass winning the Fabrice Muamba Award for services to football medicine and performance.

Evatt says he has enjoyed cutting his managerial teeth in the North West, starting with Barrow and moving on to the UniBol last summer.

“I’ve had good times here, it’s a huge hub of football – a fantastic place,” he said. “The football clubs around here are the heartbeat of every community and it’s a pleasure to be involved in it.”

Asked about Wanderers’ fanbase and the levels of expectation they carry, Evatt said the numbers continued to impress him.

“It’s huge, massive. It surprised me every day,” he said. “Last season I went home one day and my next-door neighbour knocks and her son is a huge Bolton fan who lives in London. Bolton fans are everywhere, we’ve got a great fanbase, huge fanbase, and hopefully we’ll bring some exciting times back for them.”

Wanderers take on Doncaster Rovers tonight looking to bounce back from a weekend defeat to Wycombe, and bring some positive vibes back into the camp.

“Especially with the injury crisis we’ve got at the moment,” Evatt added. “There are big decisions to be made. We’ve got to find a way to win games without the players that are injured, and we’re working hard to do that.”




FULL LIST OF WINNERS - Ladbrokes NWFA Winners 2021

Community Initiative of the Season (in association with the PFA)

City in the Community, City Thrive

Community Club of the Season - All other Leagues (in association with the PFA)

Blackpool FC Community Trust

Community Club of the Season – Premier League (in association with the PFA)

Manchester United Foundation

Highly Commended – LFC Foundation

Kick It Out Promoting Inclusion Award - League

Everton Football Club

Highly Commended – Foundation 92

Kick It Out Promoting Inclusion Award – Non-League

Creative Football

Business and Professional Services to Football


Highly Commended – UZ Gamechanger

Best Club Marketing, Sponsorship or Engagement Campaign

Tranmere Rovers Football Club

Fan Media, Channel or Podcast of the Season

The RochdaleAFC.com Podcast

Northwest Football Broadcaster of the Season

Sam Matterface – talkSPORT

Northwest Football Journalist of the Season

Daniel Taylor – The Athletic UK

Unsung Hero

James Tagg

Manager of the Season

Neil Critchley – Blackpool FC

Premier League Player of the Season

Mo Salah - Liverpool Football Club

Championship Player of the Season

Adam Armstrong – Blackburn Rovers Football Club

League One Player of the Season

Will Keane – Wigan Athletic Football Club

League Two Player of the Season

Peter Clarke – Tranmere Rovers Football Club

National League Player of the Season

John Rooney – Stockport County

Women’s Player of the Season

Chloe Kelly – Manchester City

The Athletic Rising Star

Harvey Elliott – Blackburn Rovers Football Club

The Athletic Women’s Rising Star

Lauren Hemp – Manchester City

Fabrice Muamba Award for Outstanding Service to Football Medicine & Performance

Matt Barrass

Billy Seymour Impact Award, in association with The Offside Trust

Jordan Henderson

The Maurice Watkins, CBE Lifetime Contribution Award

Denis Law

Moment of the Season

TYRHYS DOLAN, Preston North End v BLACKBURN ROVERS, 24.11.20 - Dolan dedicating his goal to his late friend, Jeremy Wisten