Football: Ferdinand earns players' vote

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Les Ferdinand was last night voted Player of the Year by his fellow professionals despite his team's strained fortunes in the run-in to the Premiership title.

The Newcastle United striker was presented with his Professional Footballers' Association award at a special gala dinner in London after scoring 26 goals in 36 games for the Magpies this season. He topped the poll ahead of last year's winner, Alan Shearer, of Blackburn Rovers, who has netted 34 in 44 games, including five hat-tricks. Third place went to another Newcastle player, the French winger David Ginola, the only overseas player to appear in the nominated top six. His compatriot, Eric Cantona, is still the only foreigner to win the title.

Liverpool's 31-goal Robbie Fowler failed to repeat Andy Gray's 1977 feat of winning the junior and senior awards, but he was voted Young Player of the Year for the second successive occasion, matching Ryan Giggs, the Manchester United winger.


CARLING PREMIERSHIP: James (Liverpool); G Neville (Manchester Utd), Adams (Arsenal), Ehiogu (Aston Villa), Wright (Aston Villa), Ginola (Newcastle), Lee (Newcastle), Stone (Nottingham Forest), Gullit (Chelsea), Ferdinand (Newcastle Utd), Shearer (Blackburn Rovers).

ENDSLEIGH LEAGUE FIRST DIVISION: Kelly (Sheff Utd), Kubicki (Sunderland), Richards (Wolves), Rufus (Charlton), Gordon (Crystal Palace), Bowyer (Charlton), Rae (Millwall), Gray (Sunderland), Parker (Leicester), Sturridge (Derby), Claridge (Leicester).

SECOND DIVISION: Ward (Notts Co), Wilder (Notts Co), Taylor (Swindon), Culverhouse (Swindon), Bodin (Swindon), Lennon (Crewe/Leicester), Mellon (Blackpool), O'Connor (Walsall), Connolly (Wrexham), Stewart (Bristol Rovers), Nogan (Burnley).

THIRD DIVISION: Stannard (Gillingham), Jupp (Fulham), Heathcote (Plymouth), Wilcox (Preston), Williams (Plymouth), Davey (Preston), Bryson (Preston), Martinez (Wigan), Kinsella (Colchester), Saville (Preston), Dale (Cardiff).