As the football season in England is coming to an end, and it is time for all the award ceremonies, I thought I would hand out some Soccer News awards to the deserving and less deserving in the English Premier League.
In the accepted tradition of award ceremonies I shall hand out first, second and third places in each category, in reverse order.
This was a tough one to decide as there are so many candidates. John Terry came close to a nomination for his complaining about every decision given to anyone other than Chelsea, as did David Bentley for his constant wining about Arsenal. In the end though, it was three managers who made it to the podium.
3rd – Rafa Benitez (Liverpool). Rafa has had a tough season, working in the impossible conditions imposed by the warring factions above him. He had handled himself well and was not in the running for this award until he complained that the referee had added on four minutes at the end of the Champions League semi-final first leg against Chelsea. That was a top class whinge as there are four minutes added on at the end of nearly every game.
2nd – Sir Alex Ferguson (Manchester United). Sir Alex has performed well this season, although his level of whinging has maybe decreased slightly from previous seasons. His moaning about the penalty award for Chelsea in their 2-1 defeat at Stamford Bridge, when to millions of others it was a clear handball and a correct decision, was vintage Fergie, and justified his place in the top three.
1st – Arsene Wenger (Arsenal). The master retains his title for the eleventh successive season. His claims that bad luck and bad decisions cost his team the double of Premier League and Champions League, rather than acknowledging that winning only two games in thirteen may have had something to do with it, were of a quality that nobody else could match.
Many players have produced Oscar winning performances this season, but the three finalists have mastered the art. They are fine exponents of the art of thesbianism and deserve our recognition.
3rd – Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United). For facial expressions and general hand gesticulations and body language when he doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t feel things have gone his way, the young Portuguese genius nearly wins the award. The only thing that stops him taking the top prize is the fact that occasionally when he flies through air before performing a triple twist with pike and landing gracefully on the turf, he has actually been fouled.
2nd – Dirk Kuyt (Liverpool). The Dutch striker cum wide player forces his way into the top three of this category with a string of wonderful acting performances. Week in, week out, Kuyt manages to convince Rafa Benitez that he is a Premier League quality player who deserves to keep a regular place in the team. This is a remarkable performance when all evidence points to the contrary.
1st – Didier Drogba (Chelsea). The big, tough, hard man from the Ivory Coast is the winner of this award by a mile. His elegant tumbles to the ground, with arched back, when hardly touched are sufficiently brilliant to win this award, but the facial expressions of total, intense, agony when any contact of any sort is made with him are of a standard that many Hollywood actors could only dream about.
Not many people have over-achieved this season., which made this a tough category to decide on.
3rd – Paul Jewell (Derby County). In his twenty-five league games in charge of Derby County Paul Jewell is yet to win a game. However, he has managed to take six points from six draws. With the Derby side such as it is, there is no doubt that achieving six draws is a remarkable performance by the manager who deserves recognition.
2nd – Martin OÃ¢â‚¬â„¢Neill (Aston Villa). Tiny squad. Many young English players. The team play with a free flowing attacking style and have a good chance of European qualification. This chap really has over-achieved!
1st – Avram Grant (Chelsea). The Israeli manager has taken Chelsea to the verge of a Premiership and Champions League double. He has done this without the support of the players, the fans or the media. That is remarkable enough, but it should also be remembered that he has achieved it without having any of the qualifications, experience or knowledge that a manager of Chelsea should have. To have achieved success in a role he should never have been given is over-achieving indeed.
All the contenders for this award come from the television. Mark Lawrenson doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t make the top three so that shows you just how strong this category is!
3rd – David Pleat (ITV). IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve never liked the bloke since he was manager of Luton. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s never been much of a success, has very little charm or personality and in my humble opinion, talks rubbish most of the time. Can anyone explain to me why anyone at ITV would think he was a good choice to be their main Ã¢â‚¬ËœexpertÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ and summariser?
2nd – John Motson (BBC). We all love Motty, but surely the BBC can see that he is past his best. His constant blabbering on about useless facts and statistics, together with his complete failure to call the most basic of incidents correctly are incredibly annoying, especially as he actually used to be a pretty decent commentator.
1st – Andy Gray (Sky). None of us like referees or linesmen, you are not allowed to if you are a football fan. Andy GrayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s constant criticism of them though gets on my nerves. One minute heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s going on about it being Ã¢â‚¬Ëœa mans gameÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ and how the referees need to be more lenient, then heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s saying that referees should take more control of games. He criticises linesmen for getting a decision of inches wrong. Referees annoy me, but Mr. Gray annoys me even more.
3rd – Robbie Savage (Derby County). As Robbie Savage is slipping into the Championship, I thought it was time to recognise his wonderful achievement of playing almost a whole career in the Premier League without actually having a great deal of ability.
2nd – Steve Gibson (Middlesbrough). The Middlesbrough Chairman has been the perfect Chairman for the club, investing huge amounts of love, time and money. Despite everything he has done, the club have remained a lower mid-table side who always have one eye on the relegation scrap. The ground is always half empty and I always get disappointed when I see that they are in the live game on the television. He deserves better for a lifetime of trying to drag Middlesbrough out of mediocrity.
1st – Kevin Keegan (Newcastle United). Whatever else King Kev has or hasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t achieved in his life or will go on to achieve, turning the dreadful Newcastle United team of a few weeks ago into a mid-table team unbeaten in seven games, is enough of an achievement to win a lifetime award on itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s own.
Some might say I have been harsh in some of these awards! Who would you nominate for these or other awards this season?
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