The final fixtures of the Premier League season have now been played, and to be honest, nothing particularly noteworthy happened on the final day of the 2013/2014 domestic football season.
City won, as everyone expected them to. Norwich were relegated, as everyone expected them to be. Spurs clinched a Europa League spot as everyone … well, you get the picture.
In order to escape the monotony of writing up a number of what were essentially dead rubbers, I thought we’d have a crack at delivering some ‘end-of-season awards’. Here goes …
Player of the season
This was a genuine toss-up between Luis Suarez and my winner, Yaya Toure.
The diminutive Uruguayan has had a startlingly good season and such has been his professional attitude and lack of playacting, diving and genuine tomfoolery that he’s almost in danger of being ‘liked’ in the British Isles.
Suarez’s phenomenal form notwithstanding, I really feel that Toure is the logical choice for player of the season. Whilst Suarez failed to exert much influence in crucial clashes with Chelsea and Crystal Palace at the business end of the season, Toure was the player that drove the City machine during the run-in and ultimately he was perhaps the most crucial cog in their title win. Watching Toure is reminiscent of watching that boy in the school playground who is just a hell of a lot better than anyone else, and it really has been a pleasure to watch him this season.
Manager of the season
Whilst there have been a number of people clamouring for Brendan Rodgers to be bestowed with this particular award, it’s impossible to look past Tony Pulis for this one.
What the former Stoke boss has achieved with Crystal Palace is nothing short of remarkable. When Ian Holloway departed the Eagles they were going, going gone, and yet Pulis has transformed a Championship-level side into a team that ended up finishing 11th in the Premier League. Quite what wizardry has occurred on the Palace training ground is unclear, but what is clear is that Pulis has done the best managerial job of the season by a country mile.
Support of the season
Liverpool just about pip Palace to this one. The Kop has been at its legendary best this season and the crowd have been a crucial part of what was a genuine title challenge. Psychology in sports is an area that has always mystified me, but what is blindingly obvious is that crowds can make a massive difference to the level a player can operate at, and the Liverpool fans’ enthusiasm has had a big impact on the pitch.
Embarrassment of the season
This one’s difficult to pick, purely because there are so many of them. The debacle at Cardiff, the ridiculous managerial merry-go-round at Fulham and the appointment of ‘I bleed blue and white’ Tim Sherwood at Tottenham all come perilously close to landing this dubious honour, but the fact of the matter is that it is pride that comes before a fall, and for that reason, the season that David Moyes and Manchester United delivered has to win this one.
After winning the title by 11 points last season, United were diabolical this year, finishing a truly humiliating seventh whilst spending nearly 70 million quid to get there. They were awful on the pitch, Moyes was awful in the pressroom and they were an embarrassment in the transfer market: quite simply the whole club has been an absolute laughing stock.
The embarrassing way in which Moyes’ sacking was leaked before the poor man even knew himself illustrates just how far this ‘great club’ has fallen in just a few short months. The Glazers need to get their house in order – and fast – if they are keen to avoid a Liverpool-esque slide down the table from title winners to perennial chasers.
Best British bulldog impression of the season
This just has to be Sherwood, doesn’t it? He’s a ‘football man’. No, scratch that, he’s a ‘proper football man’. Sherwood swaggered onto the scene after Spurs unfairly sacked Andre Villas-Boas (because the Portuguese hadn’t blended a brand new team in two and half months), and swiftly set about telling the press that he intended to make himself comfortable in his new role.
This was despite him having no football management experience, and quite honestly, no real clue about football management.
He told some absolute porkies about being ‘Tottenham through and through’ and uttered the immortal line, ‘You cut me open and I bleed blue and white’, despite the fact that there is plenty of evidence that Sherwood grew up as a diehard Arsenal fan.
Tottenham scored a few more goals, but were as inconsistent as before as Sherwood began to drop more and more of the summer’s recruits, no doubt aiding a massive depreciation in their saleability and eventual sell-on price.
He brought in Nabil Bentaleb, a player he’d worked with in the youth team who he ‘knew’, and made him his key player, despite the fact that Bentaleb wasn’t actually very good.
Lest we forget, Tim did all this whilst clapping a lot, swearing at opposition managers and generally behaving in a very ‘British bulldog’ fashion. He was the natural choice for the award I made up specifically so I could include him in this article.
Bottlers of the season
Plenty might suggest Liverpool for this one, but I’m of the opinion that second is actually a real achievement for a club that has spent a number of years in the non-Champions League doldrums.
For that reason, Arsenal are the logical choice for the simple reason that their incredible form in the first half of the season seemed to suggest that the Gunners would storm to the title, only to falter, as they do EVERY SINGLE YEAR.
It was quite clear that Wenger needed to strengthen in January, and after failing to do so, he presided yet another second-half of the season collapse. Given the position Wenger’s side were in, the Frenchman should be rather ashamed at the way his side’s title challenge was derailed. It’s all very well moaning about injuries and squad depth, but now that Wenger has the funds required to adequately strengthen his squad, this sort of excuse is rather hollow, and if we were being blunt, rather inadequate.
Best side to watch
There are two contenders for this one, and brilliantly for football, the two contenders are the two sides that finished in the top two spots.
Liverpool and City have been scintillating to watch all season, and as I wrote a couple of weeks ago, it really is a breath of fresh air to see two teams playing with such attacking verve and aplomb and winning.
If I was forced to decide between them, Man City would get my vote for the simple reason that they have a more adaptable game plan. Liverpool’s ferocious, ‘up and at ’em’ approach looks great, but when it is nullified as it was against Chelsea, Rodgers has no Plan B. Pellegrini’s side has threats from central defence forward, and for that reason they are a joy to watch, no matter whether they’re in possession or out of it, whether they’re in their own penalty area or the final third.
Whatever your opinions about money in sport, and whether City’s billions cheapens their title win, it’s difficult to suggest that City aren’t a fantastic team for the neutral to watch, and for that reason, they’re worthy winners of this award, and indeed of the Premier League title.
Follow Commentary Box Sports on Social Media!