Russ Cowper picks out his winners of 2017/18 beyond the usual suspects.
Now all of the official awards are out of the way and the usual suspects have received their accolades here is my alternative view of what the season brought.
Manchester City were rightfully crowned Champions winning by a huge margin, smashing records galore and producing some of the finest football the English Premier League has ever witnessed. Let’s look beyond their incredible achievements however and focus on the season’s alternative winners.
Manager of the season
Roy Hodgson. His reputation restored the venerable fellow’s achievement in guiding Palace to 11th is nothing short of miraculous. Palace were a shambles: they couldn’t score, couldn’t defend and couldn’t even get a point, but Roy guided them to middle table. Superb Mr Hodgson, a fabulous achievement.
Team of the season
It’s easy to look at superstars who played for the best sides and pick them. My team consists of players who have been excellent all season for lesser lights but whose consistency merits inclusion and respect for having great seasons. Their clubs may have been overshadowed but nonetheless these players have all in my eyes been consistently fabulous.
1/ Ryan – Brighton
2/ Lowton – Burnley
3/ Cook – Bournemouth
4/ Lascelles – Newcastle
5/ Tarkowski – Burnley
6/ Doucoure – Watford
7/ Shelvey – Newcastle
8/ Mooy – Huddersfield
9/ Vardy – Leicester
10/ Arnautovic – West Ham
11/ Zaha – Palace
Game of the season
As much as it pains me it was the Manchester derby where United somehow climbed off the canvas and won a game 3-2 in which really they should have been out of sight by half time. They scored three goals from four touches in the whole match in the City area. It was an extraordinary game that sums up the unpredictability of football.
Goal of the Season
Bouffal’s incredible solo effort for Southampton brought back memories of the great George Weah at AC Milan. A simply stunning once-in-a-lifetime goal.
Player of the season
Tarkowski – Burnley
Absolutely immense every time I watched him. Instrumental in Burnleys highest finish for a generation.
Young Player of the season
Loftus Cheek – Crystal Palace
Improved, then improved and improved some more. A top quality footballer who is capable of even more.
Goalkeeper of the season
Ryan – Brighton
Has been incredible this season, although I’m sure Lewis Dunk gives him nightmares
Fans of the season
It is hard moving to a new ground, dealing with false promises and seeing your hopes and dreams dashed, yet I’m forever blowing bubbles echoing around the London stadium is one of the great things to experience in English football. The fans are a credit to the club. Well done West Ham.
Moment of the season
Sorry I have to be selfish here, I was literally shaking all over at St Marys Southampton when Jesus scored to bring up the magical 100 points. You would have thought City had won the League, the FA Cup, the World Cup and Eurovision song contest by the reaction of the fans, players and staff to that goal.
Fan tv moment of the season
The Luke Shaw lookalike on Manchester United’s Full Time Devils takes some beating. Check it out. It’s brilliant.
Goodbye of the season
Wenger. Thanks Arsene you have illuminated football and I wish you well.
Beer/bar of the season
Brighton. Brilliant how they opened the bars after the game and encouraged fans to mix and share a beer while discussing the game. Decent fans Brighton too.
Best away fans of the season
Huddersfield were loud and proud and a credit to their club, respect to fans of all clubs who travelled to matches at some of the ridiculous times that TV insists we play at. These timings have to change.
Pie of the season
Leicester’s take on the Chicken curry pie was fabulous.
Signing of the season
Early season Richarlison looked an absolute steal and wins the award from me. He tailed off but looks destined for great things.
Peter Crouch. Still scoring goals when given the chance.
Lifetime achievement award
Sir Alex Ferguson. Not my favourite person in the world obviously but I wish him all the very best and a quick return to good health.
These are my thoughts, I have tried to stay away from the usual suspects as much as possible and feel free to disagree/comment on my thoughts.
Thanks to Manchester City for the best season of my football watching life, it seems appropriate that in my 50th season of watching my team we won 50 points at home and 50 points away. The Centurions are now writ large in English football legend.
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