Romelu Lukaku and Tom Davies were the biggest winners at Everton’s end of season awards ceremony - ‘The Dixies’.
Top-scorer Lukaku took home the Players’ Player and Player of the Season awards, perhaps unsurprisingly. But it was academy graduate Davies who stole the show by claiming three awards - Young Player of the Season, Individual Performance of the Season and Goal of the Season; the latter two awards both for his display in the 4-0 win against Man City in February.
There was some surprise contract news late in the evening, with chairman Bill Kenwright announcing that Kevin Mirallas will sign a new long-term deal.
It was also announced that Chang would no longer be the club’s shirt sponsor from next season, the beverage company instead signing a new three-year community partnership.
Everton’s new short sponsor from next season is expected to be Kenyan betting company Sportpesa.
The first award of the evening was Fan of the Year and went to Lily Blackhurst.
Lily is a season-ticket holder and used to follow Everton all over the country before she dedicated her spare time to looking after her husband who has dementia.
Lily is actively involved with Everton in the Community, particularly its “Pass on your Memories” initiative which helps those suffering from dementia and their carers.
I’m sure you will agree it is a richly deserved award - congratulations Lily!
The next award of the night was the Howard Kendall Award which went to Everton’s victorious U23 side, who just 24 hours earlier had lifted the Premier League 2 Division 1 trophy at Goodison Park.
.@KeppieMassie | #EFCU23 follow up their #PL2 triumph by being worthy winners of the Howard Kendall Award. The great man would be proud. #EFCU23 pic.twitter.com/W3xlXwORiM— Everton (@Everton) May 9, 2017
Everton U23s captain, JonJoe Kenny, was named U23 Player of the Year. The full-back couldn’t attend the ceremony as he had been called up to the England U20 squad for the upcoming World Cup in South Korea, meaning U23 coach David Unsworth collected the prize on his behalf.
The 2017 Everton Giant was former striker Roy Vernon, who was also inducted into the Everton Hall of Fame.
Vernon was a member of the 1963 title-winning side, scoring 24 goals that season and forging a successful partnership with ‘The Golden Vision’ Alex Young.
There were two winners of the Bluebood Award; Bill Kenwright’s special award to recognise an individual or group who has made an outstanding contribution to the club.
David Unsworth was a worthy winner following his fantastic work with the U23s this season. Tony Bellew also claimed the award after a stellar year that saw him fight - and win - at Goodison Park before defeating David Haye in London in March.
Bellew was due to claim the award last year but the ceremony was postponed following Roberto Martinez’s sacking.
The ‘Bomber’ said he was shocked to receive the recognition, saying:
“I don't know what to say. I didn't see this one coming. I should be giving the Club an award for all they've done for me and my career. I love Everton and I can't describe how proud I am to receive this award.”
The rest of the night was all about Davies and Lukaku.
Davies’ three awards were all voted online by Evertonians, with the 18-year-old overwhelming winner in each category.
It has been a whirlwind 12 months for the midfielder, making his debut on the final day of last season before becoming a first-team regular by the end of the year.
⚽️ | Goal of the Season is awarded to...@1TomDavies! The midfielder picks up his third award.— Everton (@Everton) May 9, 2017
Sponsored by @DowningGroup #TheDixies pic.twitter.com/3w6uhrA3oC
Speaking about his Young Player award, Davies said:
“I’m privileged and proud to win this award. Everything has happened so quickly this season, and it’s even surreal being at the event tonight, when you who’s here and everyone who has wanted a picture with me. Walking on the blue carpet and interacting with all the fans, it’s been a great feeling.”
Lukaku meanwhile expressed his surprise at receiving his awards but remained tight-lipped about his future.
I want to thank my teammates and the staff for helping me this season! To the fans thank you for your amazing support God bless you pic.twitter.com/FV22vJoCex— R.Lukaku Bolingoli10 (@RomeluLukaku9) May 9, 2017
He was quick however to praise his teammates, particularly Idrissa Gueye who ran him close for the Player of the Year award:
“As a young guy I just try to learn every day and give my best.
“Sometimes there are ups and downs but it’s always with the best intentions. I want to help my teammates win and I have tried my best this season.
“I think everybody is playing at a high level and I look at the improvement of Ross, who inspires me day in day out.
“Gana came in from a team that got relegated and being a main man in midfield has been impressive. Also Jags, he was out the starting line-up but has led the team.
"The manager has really set the standard from day one. It’s been a good season, we've improved. For me, I think it’s probably my best yet. I’ve tried my best this season and on Friday [against Watford] we will do everything we can to end the season in front of our fans on a high."
Kenwright, as well as confirming the Mirallas contract news, also spoke briefly about the club’s ambitions for the summer and the much-anticipated new stadium to Bramley-Moore Dock.
“I spoke to Farhad and I asked him, ‘what is the message?’ Because I knew you’d want to know. The message is we are totally focused on getting this club to the dock.
“But, at the same time, that is not going to take away the focus from our commitment to the manager.
“If there is a player who wants to play for Everton Football Club who Ronald [Koeman] wants, who Steve [Walsh] wants, we will get them for you. It’s fantastic for me to be able to say that.”