Wednesday, 8 June 2011

End of Season Awards

I thought I'd better get this done and dusted before the start of next season in approximately eight minutes time. A new manager in the rather big shape of Martin Jol is welcome and a reflection of the team's stature at the moment, regardless of what Billy Big Boots Hughes thinks. But let's reflect on Sparky's one and only season in charge.

Most Valuable Person Award: Quite simply it is Clint Dempsey. He stepped up when Fulham needed someone to score goals and rightly won the player of the season vote.Without him, Fulham would have been down. Instead they are top half and looking at Europe.
Honourable mention: Brede Hangeland

Frank Spencer Award: Zoltan Gera for a spectacularly misfiring end of season cameo that almost cost Fulham re-entry into Europe? Carlos Salcido's hapless impression of a defender? Eddie Johnon's even worse impression of a professional footballer? Nope -  I'm afraid it's got to be Johnny Paintsil for his collection of own goals this season.
Honourable mention: Zoltan Gera

Surprise Package Award: I guess it has to go to Steve Sidwell. I didn't even know which position he played in before arriving at the Cottage and his willingness to drive forward even ahead of the strikers which had added more dynamism to the team.
Honourable mention: Jonathan Greening's late season cameos

I Was There! Award: It should have been the 4-0 demolition of Spurs in the Cup, but having watched two dispiriting and undeserved defeats by Tottenham already that season, I'd bailed out. It'll have to be the goal fest of Fulham 6 -2 Peterboro, where I saw my first Craven Cottage hat-trick.
Honourable mention: Fulham 3 - 0 Bolton

Goal of the Season: I'm restricting this to ones I've seen.Dempsey has come up with a couple of crackers, including the instinctive volley from Baird's cross against Bolton and the wonderful piece of skill he produced to set up Kamara in the league game against Spurs. But the best goal was the one scored by Zamora against Bolton which involved beautiful interplay down the right wing from Davies and Gudjohnsen and lovely control and a crashing finish from Bobby into the roof of the net. I don't care if it was ruled out for handball. I'm counting it.
Honourable mention: Paul Scholes' last career goal

Sign Him Up Award: By omitting players obviously out of Fulham's reach (such as Samir Nasri) the player that impressed me most this season was Everton's right winger Seamus Coleman. Nippy and tricky and can score the odd goal (one of which earned me £75 in the game at Goodison).
Honourable mention: Aston Villa's Barry Bannan

Ouch! Award: Far too many of these this season, but it would have to be the maiming of Dembele by Stoke City's Andy Wilkinson in added time of the Carling Cup match. Completely unnecessary. Zamora's leg break after tangling with Karl Henry was more of an unfortunate outcome from rough play rather than dirty.
Honourable mention: Karl Henry

Statistical anomaly of the year: I think Fulham haven't conceded from any penalties this season (although Stockdale did save a Nani penalty right at the top of the season). This would have been the perfect place for the 'no red cards' stat, if it wasn't for Gera's eagerness to leave his mark on the Arsenal game.
Honourable mention: Record number of draws for Fulham this season - 16

Prediction of the year: "Without the strain of Europe, if Hughes can continue where Roy left off then the upper echelons of the table are not unreachable. Turmoil at Villa could see an opportunity for other teams to press on. 8th or 9th." Just here.

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