I was planning to do some (serious) end of season awards on my serious, stats-y blog (everyteamneedsaron.com) but ended up dramatically quitting football stats before the season’s end only to rise again, Messiah like, after it had finished. Meaning no end of season awards. So what better way to rectify that than the inaugural ETNAR Beginning-of-the-Season End of Season Awards, giving out the prizes now so that we don’t have to bother in May. It’s called efficiency, bubs.
Nominees: Wenger vs Mourinho; Mark Clattenberg vs Cesc Fabregas; Mark Hughes vs Stoke fan; Nigel Pearson vs current Leicester manager; Juan Mata vs David de Gea.
Winner: JUAN MATA vs DAVID DE GEA
It had been a tense match against Liverpool at Anfield. United were going through a rough patch, they were losing the game 1-0, and emotions were high across the team. Like the most heart-breaking of fights, this was one of friend vs friend, brother vs brother. Mata had defended poorly at a corner, De Gea had let him know, and Juan, most uncharacteristically, had snapped back with a retort about Madrid. Tears fell from the eyes of the two players and the fans as each grappled with the other, before breaking down, collapsing to their knees, in a hug (United went on to win the match 3-2, with the winner coming from a Steven Gerrard OG).
Misprint, though undoubtedly occurred whenever a non-male made a comment on the sport. Sort yourselves out (also goes for racism, ableism, transphobia, homophobia, mocking Liverpool fans with Hillsborough ‘jokes’, etc. Saying Liverpool are crap is ok and actively encouraged).
Nominees: Wenger vs Mourinho (2nd nomination of the night); Ronaldo’s shirt ripping; Daley Blind; Van Gaal’s tummy rub; new-look Allardici.
Winner: WENGER vs MOURINHO
There was rain, there were sparks, there was designer stubble, there was an over-long puffy coat. As Chelsea and Arsenal fought in the depths of winter, so did their managers on the touchline. Even several months on, we don’t know what caused it, but we all know that the sexual tension had been building for some time.
The ETNAR Centre-back award
Nominees: Dejan Lovren; Jose Fonte; Chris Smalling; Laurent Koscielny; Jores Okore
Winner: CHRIS SMALLING
A semi-serious award, not necessarily for the very best CB, but for one who deserves a trophy. While Lovren bedded into the season well and proved a lot of people wrong, Smalling went from strength to strength, providing the rock at the heart of defence that United needed. Fonte and Koscielny both had good seasons again, and Okore deserves a mention for performing well in a poor Villa team.
Best ‘@Bifurcated_MBM’ commentary
Nominees: United vs Liverpool; United vs West Brom; None of them; The one where they forgot to do them; United vs Stoke
Winner: UNITED vs WEST BROM
Livened up a game so dull that it is in danger of ceasing to exist and being literally wiped from history. Also provoked a comical reaction from Richard Keys, which led to him unintentionally revealing corruption in the Qatar World Cup, which in turn led to a brief campaign to get Bifurcated nominated for a Pulitzer.
Nominees: Mata vs Liverpool; Depay vs Liverpool (same game); Gerrard vs Liverpool (same game, mentioned previously); Rooney vs Villa; Phil Jones vs Arsenal
Winner: PHIL JONES vs ARSENAL
Narrowly pipping Gerrard’s own goal against Liverpool and Rooney’s unintentionally heavy first touch against Villa is Phil Jones’ stunning and unique combination of humour and technique. Diving like a human cannonball to get on the end of a corner, he mistimed his leap, the ball squirming off his face. Then, in an act of awareness and contortionism that can only be described as godlike, he forced his body to angle in such a way that the ball bounced off his posterior and into the Arsenal net. The first single player face-arse combo goal in the history of the game.
Best Football Writer
Winner: MARK THOMPSON
(And last but not least, the one they all want to win)
Most Iconic Moment of the Season
Nominees: Mourinho’s broken ankle; Alan Pardew’s resignation; Newcastle’s fan protest; Bournemouth’s broken SatNav; De Gea’s new contract
Winner: DE GEA’S NEW CONTRACT *CUE FIREWORKS*
Yes, it is of course the contract renewal of David de Gea. Not only did it commit him to three more years at the club, it turned the team’s season around, leading them to their 21st league title. Also led to the worst end-of-season montage of all time when Sky Sports tried to crowbar a still photograph of his signature into it, backed by the song ‘Return of the Mack’.