Thursday, 21 May 2009

The 'RTB' Awards

Ah, the British Summer. My thoughts turn towards a season of washed-out international cricket matches and the annual ‘Plucky Brit’ search at Wimbledon. But first I must put aside the football season as it’s final embers glow.

So here I list my players of the season of 2008/9.

You will notice the absence of players from England’s finest team. This year has been very much a team effort for the red United. Van der Sar, Rooney, Giggs, Ronaldo, Evra, Ferdinand and Vidic have all had fine seasons, but I suppose I expected them to. The players below surpassed my expectations.

Stephen Ireland.
You’ve worked hard to cement a regular first place at the club you’ve been with since you were fifteen. And now your club has got 800 trillion to spend on a batch of international mercenaries. How do you respond? By being consistently your team’s outstanding player throughout the season.

Fernando Torres.

Ok, my expectations were high for Torres. But it’s been the consistency of performance that’s surprised me. So many of the millionaire superstar club tend to perform to a big audience, but go missing during the tough mid-winter battles against the middle-rankers. Week in, week out, Torres has come up with the goods. Liverpool came damn close to toppling the champions. There were two major reasons for their success ( see also below! ). It must be fantastic to play for Liverpool, knowing that Torres will score when the chance presents itself.

Stephen Gerard.

Just read the above, but change the word ‘Torres’ to ‘Gerard’. On the basis of likely results when these particular players are missing, Liverpool are a two man team. If they had each played 38 league games this season, we may have had different champions.

Rory Delap.

We have some of the finest defenders in world football playing in the English Premier League. Players who have to cope with a weekly threat from the likes of Torres, Drogba, Kevin Davies, Rooney, Adebayor at el. But could they cope with a bloke who chucks the ball 40 metres with a nice low trajectory? Er, no.

Chris Eagles.

Burnley have had a great season ( which may still get better ). A great run in the League Cup, plus being one step away from the Premiership as I write. The ex-Manchester Utd man may not have been Burnley’s most consistent performer, but he makes my list based on the couple of performances I’ve seen this season. I was reminded of schoolboy football days, when one player was occasionally so much better than the other twenty one that parents would mutter from the sidelines about how unfair it was. Eagles seemed to have been dropped into the game from footballing heaven above, with an easy style and an eye for goal. Certainly one player fit to grace the top flight if Burnley can overcome the final hurdle.

Joey Barton

Only kidding.

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