Bale claims Football Writers’ award
Press Association Tottenham forward Gareth Bale has been voted the 2013 Footballer of the Year by the Football Writers’ Association. The Spurs talisman will receive the prestigious FWA accolade, which has been running since 1948, at a gala dinner at the Lancaster London Hotel on May 9. Bale was last week also named Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year by the Professional Footballers’ Association. Chelsea’s Juan Mata was third in the journalists’ poll, with Bale taking first place with 53 per cent of the votes ahead of Van Persie. There were also a wide range of votes for the likes of Everton defender Leighton Baines, Pablo Zabaleta of Manchester City, Swansea forward Michu, Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick and Southampton frontman Rickie Lambert. Bale becomes Spurs’ first winner of the FWA award since David Ginola in 1999, and the first Wales international to be selected for English football’s oldest individual trophy since Everton’s Neville Southall in 1985. The former Southampton man said: “It is a huge honour to receive the Footballer of the Year award from the Football Writers’ Association. “It means a lot to win this award when you consider the number of players that have been outstanding for their clubs in the Barclays Premier League this season.” The Wales international, 23, topped the poll of journalists ahead of Manchester United forward Robin van Persie, who was last year’s recipient when at Arsenal. Bale’s 24 goals in all competitions helped take Andre Villas-Boas’ men into the quarter-finals of the Europa League and kept them in the race to secure a return to the Champions League via a top-four finish in the Barclays Premier League.