Iliman Ndiaye & Chris Kamara amongst big winners as Sheffield United cap promotion at awards ceremony

Iliman Ndiaye and Paul Heckingbottom were amongst the big winners as Sheffield United capped promotion with a silverware-studded night at The Star football awards last night.
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United capped a magnificent season with victory in their final Championship game on Monday and can now focus completely on returning to the Premier League next season. After guiding the Blades to promotion, and also the semi-finals of the FA Cup at Wembley, Heckingbottom picked up the manager of the year award while Ndiaye did the double of young player and Blades player of a stunning campaign which saw him score 15 goals and add 11 assists, as well as represent Senegal at the winter World Cup.

Ndiaye beat off competition from Wes Foderingham and Oliver Norwood to win the Blades’ award, with his citation reading: “Some players can have a good season and then turn out to be something of a flash in the pan. Others get even better the following year. This man did just that.

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"With skill, flair, goals and assists, he lit up Bramall Lane and became the darling of the Kop as he helped United to promotion back to the Premier League with consistent performances that simply had those in red and white on their feet every time he stepped onto the pitch.”

Sheffield United were the big winners at The Star Sports Awards last night after promotion to the Premier League: Darren Staples / SportimageSheffield United were the big winners at The Star Sports Awards last night after promotion to the Premier League: Darren Staples / Sportimage
Sheffield United were the big winners at The Star Sports Awards last night after promotion to the Premier League: Darren Staples / Sportimage

Ndiaye was also presented with the region’s young player of the year award by United legend Brian Deane, who also received the special award to mark the 30th anniversary of his first Premier League goal last August.

The final award of the night was the lifetime achievement gong, named after former Blades chairman Derek Dooley. This year’s recipient was former Blade Chris Kamara, who played for the Blades at the back end of his career before moving into management and punditry and recently revealed that he had developed a speech apraxia disorder alongside an existing thyroid issue.

Kamara was described in his citation as “one of the most popular men in football” and “a man who gave everything to

each club he played for.”

"Sometimes he may have got things a little mixed up,” it added, “but that infectious laughter was the antidote to a game that at times takes itself far too seriously.”