Monday, June 08, 2009

HEC 2008-09 End Of Season - Awards

My view on what has been a fantastic season from start to end. There were lots of tough choices to make which is a good sign of how well things went. Although these awards identify individuals for praise the success we achieved was all about how we performed as a team. The sum of our parts was greater than the separate components and that's down to Mr Roy Hodgson.

Player of the Season: Brede Hangeland - This was really tough to choose which is probably one of the reasons our season turned out so well. For me it was between Brede and Danny Murphy. Both had exceptional seasons and were key players in getting the results we achieved. Up until a week go I was going with Murphy but I think I may have just got so used to Hangeland doing what he does I almost took it for granted. Strong in the air, comfortable on the ball and intelligent with his movement, Brede is all you could ask for in a centre back. (Last season: Simon Davies)

Young Player of Season: Wayne Brown - Well there weren't many options in this category. I've watched Wayne play a few times for the reserves and liked what I saw. He seems to have made progress this season and got a brief taste of Premier League football (albeit just four minutes) when he replaced Zoltan Gera at Old Trafford. His recent loan move, to TPS Turku of Finland, can only be good for his development. (Last season: Elliott Omozusi)

Best New Signing: Mark Schwarzer - Another contender for player of the season. Schwarzer was our first signing of the summer, filling that Edwin van der Sar shaped gap we've been struggling with for some time. He has been fabulously consistent all year and has rightly been identified as one of the best keeper's in the League. (Last Season: Paul Konchesky)

Goal of the Season: Zoltan Gera v Man Utd - We've not scored many spectacular goals this year. Paul Konchesky's at West Ham is the only one that really stands out. Zoltan's overhead volley wasn't the most technically brilliant of goals but it meant so much and felt so sweet. (Last Season: Diomansy Kamara v Spurs)

Moment of the Season: Finishing 7th and reaching Europe - It's actually been a season of great moments; the home wins against Arsenal and Man Utd, Dempsey's equalising header against them and being safe from relegation in March. They were all signposts along the route to; our best ever finish in the top flight, the most points we've ever achieved, our highest final position and qualifying for the inaugural Europa League. Brilliant. Bloody brilliant. (Last Season: Kamara's double v Man City)

Most Improved Player: Dickson Etuhu - I had no great expectations for Dickson when he arrived. There had been some strong words of opposition on TFi before he came but that apart I don't think anyone thought he'd be much more than a squad player. When a mop haired midfielder left and Dickson stepped up I thought it was only a temporary fill. He did OK but nothing to suggest he could hold down a regular place. But he did just that. He grew in confidence as each game went by and before long it was clear he WAS going to be a regular and a good one at that. He's become one of my favourite players, anchoring the midfield, freeing Danny Murphy and just playing simple but effective football. Dickson? SHOOOOOT! (Last season: No award)

Most Disappointing Player: No award - Yet again I don't think there's anyone who hasn't tried their best for the club this year. It may not have gone as smoothly for some as they would have liked but they've given it their best shot. (Last season: No award)

Most Underrated Player: Aaron Hughes - Can a player be underrated two years in a row? To be honest I think we all know how important Aaron is to our defence. He's one of the reasons Hangeland looks so good. Always there to tidy up at the back, cover for someone who's out of position or put in a late block. He's only underrated because there are so many other players around him getting the plaudits. A top bloke and a smashing footballer. (Last season: Aaron Hughes)

Player Performance: Murphy v Swansea City - Having scraped through the first game by the skin of our teeth, we found ourselves a goal down at home in the replay. We weren't playing badly but we were running out of ideas. Danny entered the fray on the hour mark and totally turned the game around. He's been running our midfield all season but this was spectacular proof of his all round ability. (Last season: Jimmy Bullard v Aston Villa)

Team Performance: Home v Man Utd - Quite possibly the best Fulham performance I've ever seen. Just two weeks after United had brushed us aside in the F.A. Cup this was the Hodgson team at its very best. A brilliant atmosphere from start to finish. A classy Danny Murphy penalty. Ridiculing the World and European footballer of the year. A winning goal from a remarkable over head kick. Great times. (Last season: Away v Reading)

Best Opposition: Manchester United - This for their 4-0 victory at the Cottage in the cup. For 20 minutes we seemed to have their measure but they were in determined mood that day. Stepped it up a notch got a bit of good fortune and took us to the cleaners. I was also very impressed with Everton on the last day of the season, even more so considering they had the F.A. Cup final on the horizon. A special mention for Swansea who were excellent in both cup games, and Sunderland who caught us on a very bad day but certainly didn't look like relegation candidates. (Last season: Tottenham Hotspur)

Best Opposition Player: Stephen Piennar - Strong running, intelligent midfielder. Did a lot of the hard work for the Toffees and proved too much for us to handle. Enabled players like Cahill and Leon Osman the opportunities to cause us all sorts of problems. (Last season: Javier Mascherano (Liverpool))

Best Goal Celebration: Zoltan Gera v Man Utd - It's been a difficult season for Zoltan and there was real joy in his eyes as he peeled away and ran towards the Johnny Haynes stand. (Last season: The whole team at Pompey)

Quote of the Year: Roy Hodgson "Do you want to go down the (Jamie) Redknapp route - only England, Italy and Spain count? Are we going to say 'You're from Spain, you might be just about okay but the rest of you, Switzerland, France, Poland, Russia, Austria, Ukraine, Slovenia, Serbia, you don't count?' It's nonsense" - It's unusual for Roy to criticise anyone specifically which makes his response to Jamie Redknapp's suggestion about European Refs all the more cutting. As always Roy sees the bigger picture.


Bad Andy said...

I'm liking a lot of this. Disappointing player - we could go down the route of Jimmy for chasing the money to the bigger team (they get 500 people extra per game) but Dacourt and perhaps Giles Barnes could get into this category.
As for best opposition player - I'm torn between Stephen Warnock and Kieran Richardson.

Chopper said...

All good shouts Andy.

Dacourt didn't really offer as much as I'd hoped based on his reputation. Giles Barnes just never really got the chance.