Everton Football Club has announced the winners of The Dixies – with Lucas Digne scooping a double in his first season with the Club.
Left-back Digne was named the Club’s Player of the Season. He was also awarded Players’ Player of the Season alongside midfielder Idrissa Gana Gueye, the first time the award has been shared.
This year’s Dixies take the form of a magazine-style show, which will be on the Club’s official website exclusively for Official Members from 5pm on Tuesday May 14.
It will then be available to all supporters on demand via the Club’s YouTube channel from 8pm.
Digne enjoyed a superb season after joining Everton last summer from Barcelona, starting 33 Premier League matches and scoring four goals. The 25-year-old provided four assists and was part of an Everton back four which recorded 14 clean sheets.
“It is a big pleasure that the fans chose me for this award,” Digne said. “I am so happy to win this trophy in my first season in the Premier League. We are building something and I am very happy to be part of this team.
“I have a very good feeling with the Evertonians, they welcomed me the best way I could imagine and it is amazing to play in front of them at Goodison Park.”
Joint Players’ Player of the Season winner Idrissa Gana Gueye started 32 Premier League matches this term and contested 143 tackles – a figure eclipsed only by Leicester City’s Wilfried Ndidi  – and won praise from manager Marco Silva for his string of dynamic displays as Everton embarked on a tremendous run of form in the season’s closing months.
Digne and Gana were reunited at Goodison last summer five years after Digne left Ligue 1 team Lille.
Senegal international Gana, who exited Lille in 2015 and joined Everton from Aston Villa 12 months later, said: “I am just happy to play with Lucas again, he is a nice guy and a good friend.”
One of Digne’s predecessors in the Everton left-back position was chosen by Chairman Bill Kenwright as this year’s Everton Giant.
David Unsworth led Everton Under-23s to a second Premier League 2 title in three seasons and last week masterminded more trophy success when his young Blues beat Newcastle United to claim the Premier League Cup.
Academy graduate Unsworth played 350 times for Everton after making his debut aged 18 against Tottenham Hotspur in 1992.
“It is an amazing surprise and incredible shock,” said Unsworth. “I must thank my staff for their outstanding support.
“It is an honour to manage and coach these players and an honour and a privilege to work for Everton Football Club.”
Unsworth has twice taken temporary charge of Everton and been instrumental in retaining the strong link between the Club’s renowned Academy and first team.
“I know few Evertonians more deserving of the title Everton Giant,” said Mr Kenwright. “There has been legend after legend at this club and Unsie has every right to join them, as a player and a coach.
“To win the league twice in three seasons is extraordinary, especially when so many of his players have been taken away for first-team duty.
“The Everton blueblood in your veins takes you to another place – but he has talent, too.”
Majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri added: “Everything about Everton is so special, it is a club with great history and tradition.
“And people like Unsie have that winning mentality. He is doing everything right to instil in every youngster’s blood the importance of winning.
“Understanding what this blue jersey is about is very important and that is what Unsie is giving his players. He fully deserves this award.”
Michael Keane, meanwhile, admitted it was a “huge shock” to receive the Chairman’s Blueblood Dixie, presented to an individual Mr Kenwright believes “embodies the Everton spirit”.
And after following the likes of Duncan Ferguson, Tim Cahill, David Moyes and Leon Osman in being recognised by Mr Kenwright, the centre-back said: “They are a bunch of legends at this club and hopefully I can become one of those. I’ve never had an award like this before, I’m only 26 so it’s a real surprise and I’m a bit overwhelmed.
“I didn’t expect it at all, it was a huge shock but a massive honour.”
Explaining why he was keen to pay tribute to the England international defender, Mr Kenwright added: “Michael has been a class act and what he has done this season epitomises Blueblood.
“He has taken hold of his place in the Football Club and established himself as a true Everton centre-half. Blueblood has to have heart, character, resilience and a massive amount of talent. And he has all of those.
“I think Marco [Silva] has had a lot to do with his success this year.
“But Michael is a centre-back in the Brian Labone mould – and I promise you, it doesn’t get bigger than Brian Labone for me. He has had a colossal year and I am really, really proud to present him with this Chairman’s award.”
Richarlison crowned an impressive first season with the Club by being named Everton’s Young Player of the Season.
The 21-year-old Brazilian scored twice on his debut at Wolverhampton Wanderers and netted in his first Goodison Park fixture against Southampton the following week. He finished the season with 13 goals in 32 Premier League starts.
Director of Football Marcel Brands presented Richarlison with his prize and said: “He was amazing, scoring great goals and was very important for Everton this season.”
Everton’s Goal of the Season prize boiled down to a three-way battle between Digne, Andre Gomes and Gylfi Sigurdsson.
It was Sigurdsson, though, who claimed the honours for his glorious effort to win Everton’s Premier League game at Leicester City in October.
“It means a lot to receive this award and it was a special strike for me,” said Sigurdsson. “Thank you to the fans for their votes.”
The Howard Kendall Award, which acknowledges an area of outstanding achievement at the Football Club, went to Unsworth’s double-winning Everton Under-23s.
“Winning the double is an amazing achievement,” said Mr Kenwright.
“The Under-23s received this award two years ago for winning the league – but this is winning the league and cup. And they are a great bunch of lads. They never give up and fight like dervishes.
“We had to acknowledge them. To celebrate the name of Howard Kendall by giving the award to those Under-23 lads was absolutely the right thing to do.”
Mr Moshiri added: “Winning twice is the hardest thing in football and they achieved it by regaining the title. And the double is so important.”
Everton Giant Unsworth confessed he was confronted with a “hard decision” before selecting forward Nathan Broadhead as Under-23s’ Player of the Season.
Northern Ireland international striker Simone Magill claimed the Dixie for Everton Ladies’ Player of the Season.
The 24-year-old was on target in both Everton’s Merseyside derby victories in December and struck decisively again in a 3-2 success against Reading last month.
Everton’s Fan of the Year is Alfie, the inspirational 10-year-old who has launched his Alfie’s Squad initiative; a fundraising campaign to develop a children’s-focussed area in the Club’s proposed People’s Place mental health facility.
Alfie, whose father died in 2017 after suffering with mental health issues, was invited to USM Finch Farm to receive his Dixie from Marco Silva.
The People’s Club award went to the formidable Henry Mooney, who retires next month following more than 12 years as Everton’s community engagement officer.
Everton Chief Executive Denise Barrett-Baxendale, who presented Mooney with his richly-deserved Dixie, said: “Henry is a true community champion and an amazing ambassador for Everton in the Community. He has enthusiasm, commitment, dedication and a true love for our Club. He is a fantastic Evertonian and a worthy recipient of this award.”
To watch The Dixies awards show in full, head to evertonfc.com
Full list of winners
Player of the Season: Lucas Digne
Players’ Player of the Season: Lucas Digne and Idrissa Gana Gueye
Everton Giant: David Unsworth
Chairman’s Blueblood Award: Michael Keane
Young Player of the Season: Richarlison
Goal of the Season: Gylfi Sigurdsson (Leicester City vs Everton, October 6, 2018)
Howard Kendall Award: Everton Under-23s
Under-23s Player of the Season: Nathan Broadhead
Everton Ladies’ Player of the Season: Simone Magill
Fan of the Year: Alfie (Alfie’s Squad initiative – a fundraising campaign to develop a children’s-focussed area in the Club’s proposed People’s Place mental health facility).
The People’s Club Award: Henry Mooney, who retires next month following more than 12 years as Everton’s community engagement officer.
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