Saturday, 21 May 2011

It's The FTW End Of Season Awards!

Wow. What a thrill-a-minute, seat-of-the-pants ride that season was eh? It was amazing to see the teams that have finished first and second for the past five seasons finish in first and second! Wasn’t it exciting how Manchester City finally broke into the top four after spending oodles of cash? The fun just never stops with the Premier League and Richard Scudamore is even now working for the good of fans everywhere in resurrecting the idea of the 39th game. All hail Richard the Great. May he live forever. Nevertheless, despite some astonishing predictability at the top end of the table and some routine incompetence from the FA and FIFA there was much to be enjoyed this year. So without further ado the FTW awards for the season will be handed out. All speeches must be kept to a maximum of 30 seconds and mini-statuettes will be mailed out within the week.

Player of the season: Lots of good contenders here and the choice of Scott Parker was certainly deserved but even his Herculean efforts weren’t able to keep West Ham up and so the award goes to the man who did more than anything else to secure Manchester United’s nineteenth title. Winner: Nemanja Vidic. Runner-Up: Scott Parker

Signing of the season: All common sense dictates that this should go to Mario Balotelli. Nobody has offered better value than Super Mario this season. From preventing bullying to wordlessly demanding womens’ phone numbers, Balotelli has been the most entertaining thing in the Premier League but sadly we’re going to go for two players who cost much less but contributed greatly to their respective teams. With 15 goals and costing only £2m Peter Odemwinge pips little Chicharito to the honour. Winner: Peter Odemwinge. Runner-Up: Javier Hernandez

Manager of the season: The man has won so many titles he’s using trophies as doorstops. It’s just impossible to look past Sir Alex Ferguson for the award. Owen Coyle, Roberto Di Matteo (for some of the season) and Roy Hodgson (ditto) all get honourable mentions. Kenny Dalglish and Mark Hughes also are in contention. But Ferguson’s phenomenal ability to renew his side is just beyond belief. Winner: Sir Alex Ferguson. Runner-Up: Kenny Dalglish

Team of the season: Nobody near the top of the table deserves this particular accolade. Seriously, nobody. And although they might still get relegated, there is no doubt that Blackpool have been a wonderful addition to the league this season. The Seasiders have been fun and attacking and add in the wackiness of Ian Holloway, the overall package has been just great. Spurs claim the runners up spot simply for their first half of the season performance. Winner: Blackpool. Runner-Up: Tottenham Hotspur

Quote of the season: Lets be serious. There was only ever one winner here. The question was more which Mario Balotelli quote is the best. Even Ian Holloway’s esoteric rants are no competition. Both quotes are from when the brilliant Italian won the Best European Under-21 Player award: Winner: "I'll look out for him next time we play against Arsenal. Maybe I'll show him the trophy and remind him that I'm the one who won it.” Runner-Up: "There is only one previous winner who is better than me - Lionel Messi. All the others stand behind me.

Best decision: There are a number different contenders for this award. Ferguson signing Hernandez could be one. Liverpool picking up Suarez is another. But the best decisions of the year have all taken place at board rather than bench level. Winner: Replacing Di Matteo with Hodgson. Not only saved West Brom’s season but they have finished in a very respectable position Runner-Up: Hiring Dalglish. People said he was past it, that he was an anachronism. Yes and that Pele kid was just lucky too.

Worst decision: Always a fun category. And made even more fun when Gold and Sullivan choice to keep on Avram on doesn’t manage to qualify as the worst decision of the year because there it’s fairly hard to argue the transfer of Fernando Torres to Chelsea was a pretty much unmitigated disaster for both parties. Winner: Spending £50m on an out of form player to ruin the re-emerging harmony of your squad prior to playing Manchester United in the Champions League Runner-Up: Oh Avram. Twice in a row. Has there ever been a more hands off manager?

Headline of the year: Normally there would be some excellent competition for this award but one headline is head and shoulders the winner here. Winner: “Ashley Cole Shoots Intern” Runner-Up: The runner-up award has not been given out because that would suggest anything could be nearly as good as Cole of Duty

Website: Depends what is being classed as a website here. Guardian Sport and Sports Illustrated are both great shouts but one is a paper the other a magazine. That is why they don’t win here. Winner: Run of Play. It’s elegant, graceful and aesthetically great. Just a pleasure Runner-Up: Football365. Funny, irreverent and necessary to puncture the egos of football people

Blog: There are a number of great football blogs but the best one is one that many people might see as boring but the incredible work of Swiss Ramble makes everyone elses job so much easier. And since it comes under the blog section of FourFourTwo the superbly irreverent LaLigaLoca takes the runner up spot. Winner: Swiss Ramble Runner-Up: LaLigaLoca

Football Writer: So many contenders. Most from the Guardian to be honest. Tim Stannard, Sid Lowe, Jonathan Wilson, Simon Kuper, Sheridan Bird the list goes on. But the two winners are slightly less well known. Winner: Brian Phillips of Run of Play is a fricking artist of football journalism. An absolute must read, every single piece. Runner-Up: Iain Macintosh does various different things but he’s clear, concise, intelligent and witty. Hard to ask more from anyone and he always delivers.

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