After nine solid months of twists and turns the curtain came down on the 2010-2011 European football season with a sparkling Barcelona side well and truly spanking the skin off Manchester United’s bottom in this year’s Champions League final. What better way to overcome the emerging spherically shaped withdrawal symptoms than by having a look back at the season that was.
Team of the Season:
Forget team of the season FC Barcelona were hailed by many as the greatest side of all time. But in an effort to be only slightly less conformist the award goes to FC Porto for their majestic quadruple winning year in which they completed the entire league campaign unbeaten.
Player of the Season:
Signed from Serie A rivals Palermo, Uruguyan International Edinson Cavani proved a revelation at SSC Napoli where he scored 26 goals, including four hat-tricks, as the Azzuri rocketed towards their first ever Champions League campaign. Not bad for just 17 million Euros. As for Lionel Messi – nah, he couldn’t even do it on a cold Wednesday night against Stoke.
Manager of the Season:
His team may not have achieved the ethereal brilliance of Pep Guadiola’s Barcelona, nor did they win as many trophies as Andre Villas Boas’ Dragoes, but the gong still goes to Sporting Gijon’s head coach Manuel Preciado for masterminding the end of Jose Mourinho’s nine-year unbeaten home streak. Super Mario’s dad also presciently foretold Barcelona’s 5-0 win over Madrid.
Goal of the season:
If Superman were a footballer he would score goals like this:
Performance of the Season:
He may look like he just walked off the set of Planet of the Apes – but Gareth Bale certainly knows how to run very very fast into open spaces. So impressive was he against defending champions Inter in the group stages of the Champions League that they animated his feats to a musical score. No one can ever accuse this son of Cornelius of monkeying around.
They also animated this.
The ‘Ronnie Rosenthal’ Miss of the Season:
Even Sandra Redknapp’s would’ve scored this. Darren Bent on the other hand…
Assist of the Season:
This didn’t even lead to a goal – but it was so sublime it didn’t have to.
Flop of the Season:
Quite simply Joe Cole. Still, at least Joey can seek solace in the fact that he’s better than Messi, eh Stevie?
The Bjorge Lillelien ‘Your Boys Took One Hell of a Beating’ Award:
Down by two goals at half-time, Feyernord were absolutely crushed 10-0 by PSV Eindhoven in the Dutch Eredivisi. So embarrassed were the Rotterdam giants by their biggest ever defeat that their website was promptly taken offline and replaced with the fiendishly apt message, “At this moment we are busy with the maintenance of this page. We hope to be available again as soon as possible. Our apologies for the inconvenience.”
The Matrix Trilogy ‘When Will it Ever End’ Award:
With more theatrics than a camped up West Side Story – the four match El Clasico series soon descended into farce, with both teams bickering with one another like the girls on the View. In the end the affair was settled by a conspiracy launched by al-Qaeda, Mossad and Rosie O’ Donnell, or so Madrid would have everyone believe.
Best Terrace Chant:
“Taxi for Maicon” – The Spurs fans display their Wildean wit, although in hindsight “taxi for Rafa” might have been more appropriate.
Antoine Griezmann prepared the above mentioned taxi.
Fans of the Season:
Spurs supporters come in for a lot of stick for their delusions of grandeur and goldfish like fickleness but even with their team 5-0 down on aggregate against Real Madrid in the quarter-finals of the Champions League – White Hart Lane was absolutely rocking.
Honorable mention has to go to this rather enthusiastic Reading fan during the Championship Play-off final. The force is strong with this one.
Literally the Most Ridiculous Use of The Word ‘Literally By a Television Pundit:
Ray Wilkins: “Fabregas literally carries 10 yards of space around in his shorts.” You might need that checked out Cesc.
The Jose Mourinho Award for Understated Modesty:
“I would be more suited to Inter Milan or Real Madrid. It wouldn’t be a problem for me to manage those clubs because I would win the double or the league every time” – chimed Big Sam Allardyce three months before being unceremoniously dumped as manager of Blackburn Rovers. Well, there’s always West Ham United and the Championship – bring it on!
The Alf Garnett ‘I’m not a racist but….’ Award:
Where to begin? In the Russian League Zenit St Petersburg fans offered a banana to Brazilian legend Roberto Carlos while Peter Odemwingie was shooed away by Lokomotiv Moscow fans with a banner depicting a banana (bit of a musaceaeous theme developing here) and the message: “Thanks West Brom”. Ludicrously the head of Russia’s 2018 World Cup claimed, “there was nothing racial in it” all with a straight face.
Not to be outdone however it was some of the Spanish who took the proverbial biscuit, or indeed busquet, when it came to all matters bigoted. There were the Hercules fans who scribbled KKK on the front door of their awol defender, Royston Drenthe and of course who could forget the much publicized to-and-fro between Sergio Busquets and Marcelino after the latter accused the Barca midfielder of calling him ‘monkey’. But the final word has to go to Real Betis owner/chairman/sporting director depending on which side of the legal divide you stand, Luis Olver, who said of the judge investigating his buyout of the club, “Not even the Nazis did what this mad woman is doing to me. All that’s left is for them to call me black, or Muslim.” So presumably not a fan of either President Obama or Hitler.
The Liberace Award for Cheap and Tacky Exuberance:
Fulham fans, and just about everyone else, were left bemused when Chairman Mohmmad al-Fayed erected a Michael Jackson statue outside Craven Cottage. Dismissed as tacky and bearing absolutely no resemblance to the deceased pop star, Al-Fayed didn’t take kindly to the criticism telling fans to ‘go to hell’ if they didn’t like it. As the great singer himself once sang it doesn’t matter if your black or white – or gold apparently.
The Least Likely Footballer to Behave Like a Footballer:
Oh Giggsy! At least you still have your medals, if not your credibility.
Existential Crises of the Season:
“If I was me, I would pick Lampard.” Former Arsenal player Ray Parlour has a Descartes moment – sort of. Not exactly cogito ergo sum is it Ray?
Best Homage to the past:
FC Twente’s players collect their KNVB Beker winner’s medals adorned in their bathrobes, reminiscent of legendary Ajax and Feyernord sides. Unfortunately, the following week they could not quite live up to the heights of their privy styled predecessors as they tamely surrendered the Eredivisie title to Ajax.
Least Decipherable Threat:
“I will put u asleep within 10 seconds hope u turn up if u don’t gonna tell everyone ur scared u little nit. I’ll be waiting” – Wayne Rooney guns for a Manchester United fan who had been bothering him on twitter. Perhaps he could hit him over the head with a dictionary.
The Andy Gray/Richard Keys ‘Don’t be Such a Woman’ Award:
After scoring a wonderful free-kick against Lecce, the team he supported as a boy, Palermo’s Fabrizio Miccoli broke down in tears and refused to turn up for the second half. “It is true, I started crying and I couldn’t stop. I cried on the pitch after the goal, I cried in the dressing room. Lecce is my team and I hurt them, it is like hurting an old friend.” – He wailed in a Gwyneth Paltrowesque post match interview leaving many people asking the question, “Does he even know the offside rule?”
The George Orwell Award for the Most Brazen and Shameless Attempt at doublethink:
“The victory last night is also for Spanish football. In the first place because the four European Cups of Barcelona added to the nine of Real Madrid make us the country with the most European Cup titles.” Marca try to claim Barcelona’s Champions League triumph as a victory for Spain and the team from the capital. Remember Florentino Perez is watching!
The Planning for the Future Award:
After finishing the season as the least inept team in England and being humiliated by Barcelona in the Champions League final – Manchester United’s plans to re-conquer the footballing world begin in earnest as they give former Newcastle reject Michael Owen a one-year contract extension. All they need to do now is snap up Emile Heskey and let the good times roll.