JAMES FORD has expressed his delight at being named as Betfred Championship Coach of the Year, though said that he would swap the title for a York City Knights win over Featherstone at the weekend.

The Knights boss took home the award after leading the club to a third-placed finish in the Champion-ship table in their first season back after winning the League 1 title last year.

Ford’s accolade was one of two claimed by York on the night, as York won the Championship Club of the Year while the club’s foundation was nominated for Foundation of the Year.

“Obviously, we’ve had a good season and I feel like the boys have really improved as a team and the club has developed too,” said Ford.

“It’s great to win a personal award but would I have swapped this award from a win over Featherstone at the weekend? Of course I would.

“But, I don’t want to seem ungrateful because I’m absolutely delighted that my peers have voted for me as Coach of the Year.

Elsewhere, the Rugby Football League have hailed the increase in both attendances and viewing figures in the Championship.

The average match attendance was up by 31% from last season, with the 2019 average being 2,489 compared to 1,899 last year.

Twelve of the 14 clubs recorded increases in their average home attendance.

RFL Chief Executive Ralph Rimmer said: “The significant increases in attendances, especially in the Betfred Championship, underline the loyal support our clubs continue to receive from the communities in which they are so important, and the growing appeal of the competition.

“It’s been especially pleasing this season to have so many more matches at this level televised by Sky Sports, and the viewing figures have been encouraging, especially for Sunday night fixtures.