Brighton & Hove Albion midfielder Anthony Knockaert dedicated his Goal of the Season award at last night’s Players' Awards to Fan of the Season, Sam Harwood.
Sam overcame cancer and now volunteers for a children’s cancer charity – and after picking up the Goal of the Season accolade for his match-winning strike against Crystal Palace, the Frenchman gave his award to the youngster.
He said, “To score the goal at Selhurst Park was special, it’s nice to win and get the trophy – but more importantly, Sam’s story from tonight affected me a lot.
“When you see a young boy like that survive and battle so hard to stay alive, it’s just amazing to see – especially when my Dad passed away from cancer.
“It was tough tonight and I felt like I had to give him the trophy – the first time I knew the story was this evening when I watched the video and I decided straight away that if I won it I would give it to him.”
Knockaert revealed that the first time he had heard of Sam’s inspirational story was on the evening at the Amex Stadium, and he spoke honestly and openly about the effect the video had on him.
“I was crying inside, it’s incredible to see – you never know what will happen in life and people pass away from this illness a lot - as a young child he had to be so brave,” he continued.
“It makes you realise life is short and you have to enjoy it as much as you can – he’ll remember tonight forever, and it was nice for me and his family to give him the award.
“I had a quick picture with them at the end – his Dad was so proud, you could see in his eyes it was something special.
“For me it’s nothing, it just makes me happy to see him and I’m over the moon for him, he deserves it more than me - even if it was Premier League Player of the Season I would have given it to Sam because it touched me so much because of the situation with my Dad.
“I’ve had an award like this before with Leicester City for the goal against Huddersfield Town that was a scorpion kick, that’s probably still my favourite but this one for Brighton was special in the derby because it was a big result for us in the context of the season as well.”