MORECAMBE ace Carl Baker has been named as the Conference player of the year at a glittering ceremony in Manchester.

The former Southport star claimed the honour at the inaugural North West Football Awards in a star-studded ceremony at the Midland Hotel.

Baker, who has attracted plenty of attention this season after his displays for the Shrimps, was in good company.

Football heroes from across the country attended the exclusive event, including Manchester United legend Sir Bobby Charlton who was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award and Sir Alex Ferguson, who picked up Manager of the Year.

Stockport County skipper and League Two Player of the Year, Ashley Williams, walked away with the North West Player of the Year title for his contribution to football on and off the pitch.

Other winners included Mikel Arteta, the Barclays Premiership Player of the Year, Burnley defender Michael Duff, who was named Championship player of the year and Tranmere Rovers' Ian Goodison for League One player of the year.

The awards also recognised the people behind the scenes and the clubs' commitment to their local areas, with Manchester United awarded Overall Club of the Year.

Bolton Wanderers and Manchester City shared the honours for Community Club of the Year, while Blackburn Rovers took the crown for Best Club Marketing Campaign.

The North West office of business advisory firm, Deloitte, was presented with the coveted North West Business Award in recognition of its dedication to the region's clubs.

Everton and ex-Manchester United star, Phil Neville, also attended in his capacity as patron of the New Children's Hospital Appeal, which received all proceeds from the event.

Judge, Gordon Taylor said: "This was a truly memorable night.

"It was great to see the North West's footballing community come out in force to celebrate the region's success both on the pitch and behind the scenes, as well as raising a huge amount of money for a fantastic local charity.

"The North West is at the beating heart of football and the fans have really got behind their teams - more than 20,000 voted for our top players and managers.

"We're already planning next year's awards in anticipation of another triumphant season for the region's teams."