Editor’s column: We’re always proud to honour football’s best

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Last night we held the Star Football Awards, our annual celebration of all things professional football in this area.

It is one of our favourite nights of the year as we bring together the great and the good, both past and present, to reflect on a season of success for our six local clubs.

We are very proud of all our super six and continue to fly the flag for them every day, both in print and online.

But it is always enjoyable to bring the big names from the clubs together and show exactly how proud of them we are.

Success has come in varying degrees for those six but few could diminish the achievements of Chesterfield who cleaned up in the big categories after barging their way uninvited into the League One play-offs.

The Spireites were our team of the year while boss Paul Cook was deservedly named top boss for the second year running.

From a personal point of view, it was perhaps most enjoyable to honour one of our own with the Special Award.

And there are few men more deserving of that than Les Payne, our long-serving Rotherham United reporter who retired last year.

Les was and continues to be Mr Rotherham United.

And it would not be too much of an exaggeration to call him Mr South Yorkshire Football as well.

Les would hold court to whoever would listen – and plenty did – on his latest observation or theory about one of our local clubs.

And there was his quizzes where he eagerness to stump his sport desk colleagues was clear to see.

Passion in abundance and an infectious enthusiasm for all things sport built over five decades of travelling the length and breadth of the country.

Les left a big hole when he called it a day a year ago. A true one of a kind, the likes of which we probably will not replicate again in our industry.

And it also gave us great pleasure to welcome back to Sheffield another one of a kind in his field.

Legendary commentator John Motson was the recipient of our Lifetime Achievement prize.

And I bet many of you didn’t know he covered his first league football for the Sheffield Morning Telegraph. All the best things are forged in the Steel City.

In tomorrow’s Star we bring you a special eight-page supplement delivering all the highlights from the night so make sure to pick up a copy.