Best Player Robin Van Persie
It’s tempting to think that Van Persie has been in sensational form since the start of this season. Not true. He’s been tearing defences a new one since he returned from injury way back in January 2011. It’s not just the quantity of goals that amazes; it’s the quality and variety of his strikes that sets him apart from his Prem peers.
Best goal – Papiss Cisse v Chelsea
An impudent flick of his boot not only secured a potentially priceless three points at Stamford Bridge for Newcastle but also collectively dropped a nation’s jaw to the floor. The Senegalese sensation later admitted that he only attempted the outrageous effort due to fatigue. In which case may we suggest the Great North Run being undertaken prior to each game.
Best game – Manchester United 1 Manchester City 6
Rarely does a league fixture make the front pages based upon the scoreline alone. This mindboggling result and performance issued a statement to anyone still in doubt that things will never be the same again
Best pass – Silva at Old Trafford
An exquisitely judged throughball that was cushioned to perfection on the volley to allow Dzeko to race on and seal a momentous result in the October derby. Destruction is one thing, but such stylish destruction quite another.
Best kit – Juventus home
A new stadium represented a symbolic chance to move on from the Calciopoli scandal that so blighted the old lady. It was time for a fresh start so Juve’s kit needed to reflect that while ideally still retaining its classic charm and lineage. This clever design achieved that effortlessly.
Worst kit – Getafe away
We’ve looked – albeit through fingers – and cannot find a single aspect of this godawful monstrosity that doesn’t make us want to vomit sadness.
Biggest upset – Crystal Palace at Old Trafford
In the great scheme of things this stunning Carling Cup quarter-final triumph has been somewhat overlooked but nothing should be taken away from a sublime performance from a young Eagles side despite United putting out weakened opposition. It was also an evening that gave us one of the greatest goals ever witnessed in the grand old stadium, a spectacular 35 yard screamer from Darren Ambrose.
Best pundit – Gary Neville
Annoyed at being overlooked for the lead in Ratatouille the most hated man in football instead resolved to take football punditry to unchartered heights of excellence. Against all expectation he succeeded.
A word too must go to Robbie Savage for his confrontational immaturity on 606.
Worst pundit – Andy Townsend
It should of course go to Lawrenson but the BBC – aware of his many weaknesses such as not possessing even a basic grasp of a game he played professionally for 17 years – thankfully resist from giving the formerly ‘tached one anything of substance to chew over. Instead the award heads to the warty-faced charisma-vacuum who is nothing more than a shiny suit interminably wittering on about ‘areas’.
Best YouTube – Stan
Uploaded by http://gunnerblog.com/ in early August this is satire at its very finest. “I’ll be the biggest fan you ever lose. Sincerely yours, Stan. ps we should play 4-4-2”.
Biggest villain – Chad Evans
On a serious note the sense of entitlement inherent in every modern-day player who are all treated as false idols and spoilt into believing they are somehow above the law was always going to lead to such an abhorrent act at some point in time.
On a much less meaningful note Evans’ conviction for rape looks to have derailed his club’s promotion bid.
Best last-minute winner – Inigo Martinez
This rather natty effort from 60 yards to decide matters for Real Sociedad.
Best goalkeeping heroics – Luke Steele Barnsley
The Tykes were always going to have to pull off something special to come away from Reading with the points even back in August before the Royals started to click. Two goals to the good Barnsley came out for the second period expecting a blitzkrieg and duly got it. Steele however was a one-man fortress tipping drives over the bar, free-kicks around the post and putting his body on the line for point-blank efforts. Then amazingly Reading were awarded two penalties in the space of just two minutes. Steele saved them both. A third spot-kick near the end proved too much for him but by then the former United reserve had done enough to ensure a fantastic three points.
Best stat – Leon Britton
Nothing topped the brilliant revelation in January that Swansea’s ‘metrognome’ (put in speechmarks because I’ve just coined that term and it’s really clever) Leon Britton was officially the best passer in all of Europe, surpassing even the great Xavi for ball-retention. Yet will the English gem be considered for the Euros? Will Liverpool be linked in the summer to a player that would enhance them greatly? No and no. And his legion of Jacks appreciators will no doubt breathe a huge sigh of relief at such snobbery.
A tie between Norwich fans at Old Trafford –
“We’ve come for our scarves, we’ve come for our scarves, we’re Norwich City, we’ve come for our scarves’
And this catchy ditty at the Britannia –
‘Kenwye is a Stokie
He came from Trinidad
He looks like Whoopi Goldberg
His hair is f***ing mad
He came to Stoke from Sunderland
And this is what he said:
Steve Bruce is a w***er with a big fat f***ing head!’
Best banner – Borussia Dortmund
Worst refereeing decision – Dnipro v Karpaty
There’s the letter of the law. Then there’s just damn spitefulness.
Most awkward family gathering
Prior to this season’s Carling Cup final much was made of the fact that Steven and Anthony Gerrard were cousins. While one is obviously an established England international and Champion’s League winner the other has had to pull himself up by his bootstraps through the lower leagues to finally reach his first major final. The entire Gerrard clan was present to witness ‘Stevie’ slot his penalty away before poor Anthony fluffed his lines on the deciding kick. It was cruel and undeserved and probably a topic best avoided at the next family wedding, christening or funeral.
Best indulgence in schadenfreude – Torres
As unfair as it probably is on the player himself the transfer of Torres to Chelsea seemed to shine a light on the rotten, immoral core of modern-day football. Here was someone on exorbitant wages playing for a club he felt a genuine love and connection to who willingly moved for slightly more exorbitant wages to a club he cared not for.
Every consequent time he scuffed a shot, put in yet another lacklustre display or hung his head in shame karma – and a million reds – smiled with satisfaction.
Most annoying man – Tisiano Grudelli
We’re truly spoilt for choice here yet we’re looking beyond the obvious candidates (Terry, Ferguson, and any number of egotistical officials) and plumping for a man whose over-excitable theatrics with a mic used to be endearing when he was an obscure Youtube star weeping with exagerated joy or anguish over the latest Milan result. Since becoming the face of Ladbrokes however his shouty passion has become somewhat irritating to say the least.
A year ago, if I’d encountered Grudelli, I’d have hugged an eccentric and lovable fan. Now I’d happily shove his betting slips firmly down his oesophagus.
Worst chairman – Eddie Mitchell Bournemouth
Following a 3-0 reverse to Chesterfield the clearly inebriated Cherries chairman thought it would be a wise move to grab a microphone, step onto the pitch and attempt to reason with disgruntled supporters. And by ‘reason’ we really mean ‘abuse’.
He followed this up later in the season with an embarrassing expletive-strewn interview on 606. Classy.
Best manager – Jez George
While Pardew, O’Neill, Mancini and Ferguson perform wonders on the touchline Jez George at Cambridge wins this hands down by shelling out over £1100 from his own pocket in April to pay for 80 U’s supporters to travel to Barrow. It was done as a thank you for their loyal support this season with the players also chipping in for pizzas for the long journey home.
Most heartbreaking moment
Sharp’s immense bravery at turning out for Donny Rovers just days after the tragic passing of his baby son humbled us all. His early goal in the game against Middlesbrough and the t-shirt message of ‘That’s For You Son’ transcended every soundbite usually attributed to an impressive deed in sport. It inspired and awed. The reactions of the Middlesbrough fans, the referee who refused to issue a yellow, and the dignity of the Ipswich Town supporters the following week also illustrated – if proof was needed – that decency prevails in the game.
Worst moment – Fabrice Muamba collapses
A largely secular nation prayed as the England Under-21 captain, father to a young boy, and someone widely said to be one of the nicest guys in football lay prone on the White Hart Lane turf. The impeccable work of the emergency services that day – always there in the background whilst we eat our pies and sing our chants – shown them to be angels forever watching over us all.
Biggest villain – Carlos Tevez in Munich
From the Cutter the morning after the event that rocked and shocked football – “F*** you Tevez. F*** you to kingdom come. F*** your slum morals and scum svengali. I am sick of you making my club a circus. I am sick of your constant demands, strops and remorseless engineering for a move that offers endless ammunition and amusement to those who cannot wait to twist the knife. Tonight you spat into the face of all those who have showed you nothing but adoration. You spat on a badge that is worth fifty million of you and infinitely more. And you did so with a smile”.
I was pretty angry that evening.
Best rant – Rob Scott Grimsby
The Mariners joint-manager lets rip at a supporter.
Best transfer rumour – Kaka to Spurs
As last summer’s window was set to close suddenly word got out about a highly implausible last-minute switch. To the best of our knowledge ‘Arry wasn’t directly asked about the prospect of the artful Brazilian joining his ranks at the Lane and thank goodness for that – he could very well have ‘Triffic’ed himself to death.
Most hilarious appointment – Carolyn Still CEO Mansfield
Last September an attractive 29 year old by the name of Carolyn Still was surprisingly given the CEO position of Mansfield Town despite having no previous experience in the world of sport. Two weeks later her engagement was announced to club owner John Radford. The Cutter would like to state that these two facts are in no way related.
Most hilarious scandal – David De Gea and the doughnut
For sheer comedy value it’s difficult to beat the revelation that Manchester United’s waif-like keeper De Gea had been caught helping himself to a Krispy Kreme doughnut in a Tesco Extra. ‘S*** Richard Madeley, you’re just a….’
Best curse – Aaron Ramsey
When Colonel Gadaffi was hung, drawn and quartered the day after Arsenal’s stylish midfielder Ramsey slotted one home against Marseilles some bright spark looked through the records to find an unerring set of coincidences. It seemed that every time the Welshman notched a rare goal a famous figure kicked the bucket 24 hours later (Bin Laden following a strike v United and Steve Jobs after Spurs)
The next time Simon Cowell is feeling unwell I’m rooting for the Gunners.