The annual Everton awards were held last night and Leighton Baines left with a deserved three-trophy haul, having won Player’s Player of the Season, Player of the Season and Goal of the Season for his last-minute free-kick against Chelsea. Duncan Ferguson was honoured with the title of ‘Everton giant’, Seamus Coleman bagged Young Player of the Season, Jose Baxter took home the gong for Reserve Player of the Season and Jake Bidwell was crowned Academy Player of the Season.
The Howard Kendall Award for Outstanding Achievement went to the league-winning U-18 side, whilst chairman Bill Kenwright honoured David Moyes and Leon Osman with his ‘Blue Blood’ award. The award for Ladies Player of the Season went to Natasha Dowie, who scored the winner in Everton’s FA Cup final win.
Most of the results turned out as expected, so I thought I would have a go at dishing out some of my own, admittedly less prestigious, awards. Without further ado, I present to you my alternative end of season awards:
Game of the Season
It may have been a slightly disappointing season but there have been some real highlights. To name just a few – the Goodison wins over Manchester City and Liverpool, and the late comeback against Manchester United. For me though, in terms of sheer footballing entertainment, this award has to go to Everton 5-3 Blackpool. Both sides contributed to an absolute classic – one of the best games I have ever seen at Goodison.
Highlight of the Season
The season has brought some incredible highs, but none higher than the FA Cup 4th Round victory at Stamford Bridge. Six-thousand Evertonians, Heitinga’s shove on Ashley Cole and, of course, Phil Neville’s emphatic winning penalty. What a day.
Lowlight of the Season
Where to start? The 4-1 defeat to West Brom? Failing to beat Wolves and Wigan at home? The utterly abject performance at Bolton? There are, sadly, too many to mention. If pushed though, I would select the loss to Brentford in the Carling Cup. The way we exited both the cups was utterly disappointing, especially after holding so much belief we could reach Wembley again.
The Per Kroldrup Award for Flop of the Season
This was the year that Jack Rodwell was meant to cement his position in the side, and take steps towards fulfilling his potential. I still believe he can make it to the top, as does admirer Sir Alex Ferguson, but injuries and poor form have made him my flop of the season. In my opinion, he needs to start controlling games and move away from the Ray Wilkins-style ‘crab’ performances that we have seen from him this year. Also nominated for this award was Mikel Arteta.
The Classiest Moment of the Season
We may not have the resources of many other clubs, but one thing that Everton will always have in abundance is class. For me, the way that the majority of our fans stayed behind to clap Reading off the pitch after our FA Cup loss was a tribute to our club. It epitomised what Everton are all about and, although it didn’t make up for our dismal showing that night, it gave us all a hint of pride.
The ‘Love Him or Hate Him Award’, sponsored by Marmite
This award can only go to one player – Diniyar Bilyaletdinov. I want to love Billy, and the talent is clearly there, but his performances are too inconsistent. He is an enigma: at times magical but at others lethargic and totally anonymous.
The Emmanuel Eboue Award for Winning over the Fans
I’m going to give this one to Sylvain Distin. Many were not sure about the French centre-half before the season, with most suggesting that Moyes’ favoured pairing would be Jagielka and Heitinga. Aside from a few mistakes, Distin has been solid and dependable, and is probably only second to Leighton Baines in the running for player of the season. Has scored some vital goals to boot – against Liverpool and old club Manchester City.
The Lady Gaga Award for providing endless Internet Gossip
There is only one man deserving of this title – step forward Mr John Heitinga. Although the latest news is that he wants to stay, he has fuelled rumours of moves to, amongst others, Manchester City and Bayern Munich. He has been quoted as saying that ‘I am always looking to move to a bigger club’, and it seems that after every international break there is a new story linking him with a Goodison Park exit.
The Splinter-in-the-bum Award
It was to be expected, unless Tim Howard had picked up an injury, that Jan Muchawould spend the majority of the season on the substitutes’ bench. That has proved to be the case, and the Slovakian number one looks set to move on in the Summer.
The Sandra Redknapp Award for Miss of the Season
Ok, so I realise it may not have been for Everton, and that the player has been on loan since January, but this award can only go to Yakubu’s miss for Nigeria at the 2010 World Cup. It defied belief. It was so bad that it gets worse each time you see it. I mean, it was two yards out. Open goal. As Hawwy ‘the dog’ Redknapp said: “my missus could’ve scored!”
The Amr Zaki Award for unjustified early season hope
Not his fault at all – and I must point out he is a legend in my eyes – but I couldn’t think of anyone but Tim Cahill for this one. His goals carried us through the first part of the season, but the Asia Cup unfortunately ruined his season. It’s great news that he’s said he’ll be resting up over the Summer – we need him fit and ready for next season.
So there you have them, my end of season awards. Onwards and hopefully upwards as we look forward with hope to next season (although the hope will have inevitably gone by September).