Soccer AM/MW - the home of lively and humorous discussion from the Football and Non Leagues

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

End of Season Awards Part II

The lads continue to dish out their end of season awards, today focusing on the teams who've had a mare of a season on the pitch - and looking at how well clubs have been.

Championship Donkey Team of the Year

Nominations: Peterborough United, QPR

Nobes: Difficult one this. Both have employed a ridiculous managerial policy, however, Posh paid with a dismal season and relegation for theirs. The appointment of a Non League boss like Mark Cooper was laughable.

As much as I don't like him, there was no point in sacking Ferguson if that was who they were going to turn to. They basically threw away back-to-back promotions.

Turls: But Peterborough were kind of expected to go down. All the QPR talk was that they were going to fulfil their financial potential.

Lakes: That's true. Ferguson's sacking was a bit stupid though.

Nobes: I'm not sure everyone expected Posh to go down and, if they were to drop, they'd do it with a fight - not well adrift at the bottom.

Lakes: Where did we predict Posh to finish? I can't remember.

Nobes: About 19th or 20th. So we did expect them to survive.

Turls: I'd agree the Fergie sacking was a joke, but it's hard to know the real story behind that. I heard that he created an argument just to give him an excuse to leave. Not sure whether it is true.

However, I'll agree that Posh were a mess this year. When you look at Scunthorpe staying up, they must be regretting their season big time.

Nobes: Exactly. Scunny stuck with their manager in their first season up, even when they went down, and he took them back up and kept them there.

At the first sign of struggle, Posh pushed the panic button, ousted Ferguson, and were made to pay because they appointed a poorer replacement. Had they gone for someone decent, they had the time and games to survive.

Lakes: QPR are a ridiculous club, though. We should honour them in at least one category. Posh win this one for me though.

Peterborough United

League One Donkey Team of the Year

Nominations: Gillingham, Stockport County, Tranmere Rovers

Turls: I despise Gillingham, so I'd love to see them get this award, and I can't think of a reason not to. Stockport have had a season to forget but you two both had them to finish bottom.

Nobes: Yes, we expected as much, and Stockport's mitigating circumstances means they shouldn't be considered really.

Lakes: Stockport were givens and were going down anyway. John Barnes was always going to kamikaze Tranmere.

Nobes: Yep, Tranny almost committed suicide appointing Barnes, but Les Parry saved them with a stirring second half of the season revival. I think his efforts should avoid them from picking up this unwanted gong.

Turls: The only reason I predicted them to tumble was because Barnes was gaffer. If he'd have stayed on for just one more game they'd have been doomed, so fair play to Parry for turning it around.

Nobes: My nomination would have to go to the Gills. On the final day they knew only if they lost, two sides picked up away results, and Exeter beat a top six side, would they go down.

That's exactly what happened as they put in a feeble half-hearted display to lose 3-0 at already relegated Wycombe. They deserve it just for managing to claw relegation from the jaws of survival.

Lakes: I agree with Gillingham. They shouldn't have gone down. Terrible season.

League Two Donkey Team of the Year

Nominations: Bradford City, Darlington, Grimsby Town

Nobes: Could this be another award for Grimsby? They had a disastrous season - including that infamous 25-match winless streak. A club with their budget and of their size should never have gone down.

However, I also nominated Bradford. They get by far the biggest crowds in that division and have now failed to make the top seven, or even look like play off contenders, for the third season on the trot.

With their budget - that has to count as failure, and their bottom half finish was well below-par.

Turls: It's got to between Grimsby and Bradford, but I'd like to see Bradford win this - simply because this is a club that should be doing a lot better than their current position suggests.

However, in truth, it has to be Grimsby. The Mariners are a shambles and going 25 games without a win is embarrassing. Consider their budget and size and it makes it even more ridiculous.

Lakes: Grimsby for me too - what were they playing at?

Nobes: Second award for Grimsby then. Can't really argue - they were inept.

Winner: Grimsby Town

Conference Donkey Team of the Year

Nominations: Cambridge United, Grays Athletic

Lakes: Cambridge for me - they massively underachieved this season.

Nobes: Actually, I think with a new manager who hadn't any Conference experience that this was always going to be a transition season for Cambridge.

They were coming off successive play-off final defeats and had lost some key players too - which didn't help their cause either. They also finished the season strongly.

I can't help but think back to the position Cambridge found themselves in for a lot of the season and how much that was at odds where people - perhaps unreasonably - expected them to finish.

Nobes: I think Grays deserve it more though. They've been terribly run, gone through manager after manager - including their chairman doing the role - and have reaped the seeds of their overspending.

To get 26 points it also pitiful. To end up 20 points adrift of safety shows just how badly they did.

Grays were awful, and to finish so far adrift it inept, but Cambridge pip it for me.

Turls: I'd have to agree with Nobes on this. Grays were awful and unadulterated spending that has happened at that club has finally come back to bite them on the arse.

Winner: Grays Athletic

Financial Meltdown of the Year

Nomination: Crystal Palace, Notts County, Preston North End

Lakes: Well, for my money, it's between Notts and Palace. Preston's meltdown has been more of a stutter.

Notts County might be amusing though. They really had a stupid season - so deserve to be recognised in this form.

On the other hand, Palace nearly vanished off the face of the earth, which is fairly serious all things considered. Entirely their own fault too.

Nobes: As tempting and funny as it would be go for Preston and their winding-up order, I think have to go for Palace too.

They suffered the points deduction - which took them from top six contenders to relegation battlers. Then they lost their manager. If that's not going into meltdown, then I don't know what is.

Thankfully, they survived their winding-up order and will carry on - but their meltdown was swift and costly.

Turls: Couldn't agree more. Palace went from Premier League hopefuls to no-hopers in minutes. A real example of how not to run a club. Thankfully, they still exist - for now.

Winner: Crystal Palace

Best Run Club of the Year

Nominations: Blackpool, Doncaster, Rochdale

Nobes: I want to big up Rochdale here. They've won promotion despite living within their means - unlike their title rivals Notts County.

They were forced to sell Adam Le Fondre, one of their top strikers, to promotion rivals Rotherham in August. However, they replaced him with on-loan Chris O'Grady who scored 22 goals. That's good business.

They also had to sell Will Buckley for £300,000 odd in January to Watford. They're a small club who can't afford to turn down bids - especially when they didn't enjoy a good cup run. They cut their cloth accordingly and had to sell.

Did it derail their promotion push? No. They continued on and achieved success while living within their means. A fine example.

I like the look of Donny to be honest. Another year in the Championship and another where they seem to have had a quiet one.

They seem to be the epitome of how a club work their way up the leagues without getting themselves into serious trouble. Plus, with O'Driscoll in charge, they're doing it while playing good football.

Nobes: It's a good shout. They definitely had money and spent a bit to finance their climb into the Championship. However, they're not punching above their weight in the second tier.

They had to sell the likes of Matt Mills and Richie Wellens in the summer too. However, without them and with astute loan signings such as Jason Shackell and Billy Sharp they went and finished higher than last term.

It's testimony to their strict budget that they aren't prepared to break the bank to sign either during the summer. Barnsley outbid them on wages for Shackell, for instance. Donny would be a worthy winner.

Lakes: I love what Donny have done, but for me it's got to be Rochdale because of the symbolic achievement of finally breaking their shackles and escaping the Football League's basement division.

The other thing I'd say about Dale's success is it shows what can happen when you give a manager time - and Keith Hill has been there for three and a half seasons now. Other clubs should learn from them.

Winner: Rochdale

The 'We're Going To Win The Premier League' Award

Nominations: Leeds United, Newcastle United, Notts County

Turls: County. The relegation seems to have made a lot of Newcastle fans to realise they're a mediocre Premier League team and nothing more. County were making top flight plans before the start of the season.

Nobes: Yeah, but it won't take Toon fans long to think they have now some kind of momentum and are unbeatable on home turf.

Hughton's the new Messiah, they'll be naming a stand after Andy Carroll, and the title is on its way up to Tyneside.

That's before they've even hit the Brown Ale to celebrate.

Turls: True, but can you them an award for something they will do in a few months time?

The Toon were pretty grounded this year. They walked the league but they never looked good and I think their fans realised that.

Nobes: Maybe there's another team that deserves this award then? Leeds after beating Manchester United in the FA Cup?

The success went to their heads and they probably thought the rest of the League One season would be a cakewalk. It proved to be anything but.

Turls: Leeds did seem to get a bit uppity after that Cup win.

Lakes: The arrogance of Newcastle's fans knows no bounds, but the way Notts fans were banging on after their moneybag owners came in, you'd think they were the best side in the country. They get my vote.

Turls: I don't think any of us can argue too much against County winning this award.

Winner: Notts County

The 'We're Fighting To Stay In Business' Award

Nominations: Billy Davies, Crystal Palace, Notts County

Nobes: For a laugh, I'd like to give this one to Davies. He ain't half good at pouring cold water all over your dreams. Ultimately, he was proved correct, but he constanty downplays his own team.

Turls: I like that idea. BD tries to assure everything that Forest do not exist like that. It love how he refuses to acknowledge that any of his teams as a force to be reckoned with.

Yes, as he did with Preston when manager of us. I agree give it to Billy. He's an odd character as privately he strives for more - better pay, new jobs, promotion.

In public though he pretends he's worked miracles to get three points on the board, the side should never have expected promotion and there's a "long term schedule" involved with everything.

For that, he has to win this award. Some call him a scrotum, others a genius. I call him Billy Davies: King of the Underdogs.

Billy Davies

More awards tomorrow.

No comments:

Post a Comment