Emotional night at EFL awards

I was at the EFL awards on Sunday as part of the Sky Sports team and it was a really good night, a wonderful evening with laughter and tears aplenty.

Anthony Knockaert was the winner of Championship Player of the Year and a clear one at that for me.

100% he was the right winner, he has had a great year and he sort of united the whole Brighton squad. The whole team flew out for his father’s funeral which came as a shock to the player as it was sudden, but what they did for him just unified the whole squad and showed just how together they are, and I think that will help inspire them to go up as Champions.

The occasion was so emotional, Knockhaert had tears in his eyes when he was on stage talking about it, talking about his father and it was a very moving thing but he was talking from the heart and meant every word.

Knockhaert, like a number of the Brighton players, will do well in the Premier League for me, he is improving all the team, Brighton are a progressive club.

Tony Bloom the chairman has done, and is doing, things in the right way, they have built a great stadium down there and last season despite the disappointment  of missing out on promotion they did not panic and they have done it the right way, kept calm and kept Chris Hughton and I think they will invest again.

One thing is for sure is that you won’t be able to get a seat a the AMEX next season and it is such a great atmosphere and a difficult place for teams to go to, it is one of my favourite places to go in the Championship and I look forward to going there in the Premier League – it is what can happen at a well run football club.

On the night we had a number of special moments – there was Billy Sharp talking about Sheffield United and he got emotional and then we had Darren Ferguson talking about Doncaster.

But the real stand-out moment for the night, who got a standing ovation, was Barry Fry’s speech after he was awarded the outstanding achievement in football award for his life services to football.

Barry gave the most fantastic, hilarious and funny speech which was all off the cuff, and a few expletives we can’t mention here – but he was brilliant, he is what football is all about and I love him, he is a sensation and deserves every bit of adulation he gets – it was great to hear from him and talk about his life in football.

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