It's been quite a year in football, so forget the New Year Honours List and complaining about David Beckham not getting a knighthood—what better way than to dole out some awards to players already richly rewarded by their sport? Read on...
Player of the Year: Robin van Persie
If we are to judge a player by the value to his team—the MVP, if you will—then this man, without whose goals Manchester United almost certainly would not have won the Premier League, is the obvious choice.
He scored 12 goals in the latter half of last season, and although the first half of this campaign has been a little disrupted by injuries, he still has seven in 10 starts. A remarkable player.
Runner-Up: Luis Suarez. While the talk of "redemption" that has surrounded Luis Suarez's brilliant recent form is a little strong (can being really good at football actually make up for, well, you know, all that other stuff?), the Uruguayan has been spectacular since returning from his ban and is the catalyst for their still-breathing title challenge.
Manager of the Year: Roberto Martinez
Sure, this was the year Wigan finally got relegated, but the notable thing shouldn't be that they went down, rather that it took a club like Wigan so long to do so.
It was going to happen eventually, and this was just the year that selling your best player every year caught up with Roberto Martinez. However, this was also the year that Martinez won the FA Cup with Wigan and took Everton to an unbeaten first half of the season that was only broken on Boxing Day.
Chest control over his shoulder, a quick look and bang. Not a huge amount has gone right for Fulham this year, but this goal certainly did.
Runners-Up: Gareth Bale for Spurs vs. West Ham, Matthew Lowton for Aston Villa vs. Stoke, Robin van Persie for Manchester United vs. Aston Villa, Luis Suarez for Liverpool vs. Norwich and Jack Wilshere for Arsenal vs. Norwich.
Bounce-Backer of the Year: Aaron Ramsey
Most Arsenal fans would probably have driven Ramsey to whichever club he wanted to go to this time last year, but he has been a revelation since August and might well be player of the season if he keeps his form up.
Most sages agreed that Negredo was, at £20 million, over-priced and generally a bit of a waste for Manchester City. Fourteen goals and a superb understanding with Sergio Aguero later, however...
Bargain of the Year: Mathieu Flamini, free agent to Arsenal
According to a report by Jack Wilson in the Daily Star, even Arsene Wenger didn't want to re-sign Flamini initially, but he has brought bite, tackling and a commanding voice to the Arsenal midfield, even if he does insist on taking a pair of scissors to his sleeves.
It has been said that Steve Clarke was basically sacked because Victor Anichebe wasn't as good as Lukaku, and while reductive, there is some truth in that statement.
Everton aren't complaining, though.
Game of the Year: Everton 3-3 Liverpool
Scrappy goals, brilliant goals, lots of goals—the only thing this was missing was a huge fight.
Worst Team of the Year: QPR
Despite having oodles of cash spent on them and a manager whose previous league positions were fourth, fifth and fourth, QPR were relegated in reasonably pathetic fashion. And despite having a squad that should be 10 points clear at the top of the Championship right now, they're slipping down that league as well.
Worst Owner of the Year: Vincent Tan
If you think that, because of the money he invested in the club, he has a right to sack who he likes, replace them with whoever he likes and change the colour of whatever he likes, at the very least you can surely dislike him because of his sartorial choices. Cardiff jersey over a shirt and tie? Trousers pulled up virtually to his nipples? Sunglasses in December?
Revelation of the Year
The news that Vincent Tan was apparently upset that Cardiff's full-backs and goalkeepers were not scoring enough goals, according to this report from 101greatgoals.com, probably shouldn't come as much of a surprise.
Interview of the Year: Joe Kinnear
Look away now, Newcastle fans. If the news that Joe Kinnear was returning to Newcastle as their director of football wasn't bad enough, he gave an interview to talkSPORT (the full transcript of which was published in the Guardian here) in which he claimed to have bought players he didn't during his first spell, invented a couple of Manager of the Year awards for himself and referred to Yohan "Kebab," Derek "Lambeezee" and Shola "Amenobee." A strong broadcast all round.
U-Turn of the Year: Luis Suarez
August: Luis Suarez demands to leave Liverpool for a non-specific destination away from England.
December: Luis Suarez signs a new long-term contract at Liverpool.
Empathiser of the Year: Mike Tyson
“He bit someone. It happens.” As reported by Simon Rice of the Independent, Iron Mike felt for Luis Suarez.
Self-Promotion of the Year: Mike Phelan
According to an article by David Sneyd and Ian Ladyman in the Daily Mail, Phelan claimed he was basically Manchester United manager for the last few years of Sir Alex Ferguson's reign. Huh.
Retiree of the Year: Sir Alex Ferguson
Hate him, love him, frustrated by him—as Morrissey once (nearly) sang—you're gonna miss him now he's gone.