Player Of The Year: Fabricio Coloccini.
So many nominees for this, however Captain Colo is the one. He has been the leader this season and very consistent. He lost his partner in crime in Saylor half way through the season but it didn't phase him at all. If anything, he stepped up even more and helped Williamson and Perch come into the side and impress. He even made the PFA Team of the season. Signed a new deal and hopefully will be a rock for us for the next few years.
Young Player Of The Year: Tim Krul.
What a season. 15 clean sheets, unbelievable saves and probably most importantly, very consistent. You can't beat a safe pair of hands in goal and we have it. If it weren't for Joe Hart, then Krul would have been in the PFA Team of the season. Also signed a new deal and we all hope he is our keeper for the next 10 years. I wouldn't swap him for anyone.
Most Improved Player: James Perch.
Unbelievable. He's a different man. James Perch was the butt of most Toon fans jokes, but after this season, nobody mocks him anymore. There is nothing to mock. He has looked confident, self assured and well worthy of being in the starting line-up. When he came into the side at Norwich when Saylor and Colo were injured, he wasn't exactly solid. We shipped in 4 and many fans were fearing the worst the rest of the season. His turnaround in form was remarkable. I have never seen anything like it from any player. Well played Perchy, keep it up.
Must Improve Player: Gabriel Obertan.
It's hard to believe this lad was in the team ahead of Hatem Ben Arfa for such a sustained amount of time. We hardly saw Benny produce his magic before Xmas as he was sat on the bench and we were forced to watch Ober show glimpses of what he can offer but ultimately frustrate and disappoint to the point of resounding anger. All we want you to do is show us you have the balls and desire to represent our club, because we know you have the talent. We all want to see you run at defenders and destroy them with your skills and blistering pace. Do it.
Goal Of The Season: Hatem Ben Arfa v Bolton.
What a choice to make. This is without doubt the best season we have had as regards to quality of goals. Cisse's ridiculous 2nd goal at Chelsea could have easily took it. Benny's wonder goal against Blackburn in the FA Cup could also take it. Cabaye's had a couple of free kick nominations. Raylor's beauty v Everton was a cracker. However, taking everything into account, Ben Arfa's genius v Bolton just shades it. I watched this game and as it dragged on, it had 0-0 written all over it. We didn't look like scoring. Then Benny threw in a cruyff turn in the centre circle, turning a Bolton player inside out, he ran onto the ball and ghosted past another has he tried to bring him down, he then skipped past both Bolton centre halves in one movement, then had the coolness to just poke the ball past the keeper. What. A. Goal.
Team Of The Season:
4-3-3 - Krul, Simpson, Coloccini, Perch, Santon, Tiote, Jonas, Cabaye, Ba, Ben Arfa, Cisse.
Saylor was unlucky with injury so Perch gets in for his improvement. The rest speaks for itself. Although I will say Demba on the left in this team is due to his first half of the season performances. He was a donkey for the last 7/8 games after spitting his dummy out and was more interested in scoring for himself, then holding his position for the team. Raylor also deserves a mention for his step up into left back all the way back in August when Enrique deserted us. TBH all the squad contributed positively at some stage this season, but the above are the top XI.
Signing Of The Season: Demba Ba - Free Transfer.
As much as Demba annoyed me in the run in, before that he was immense. For a free transfer (pretty much) to bag 16 goals and have a record of scoring 55% of all our goals at one stage is remarkable. Basically without Demba Ba, we would have had an average season, if not worse. Yohan Cabaye was a gem at £4mil. Papiss Cisse was a huge success considering he was a January signing, also a good price at £9mil. Santon will come good next season hopefully, he showed the signs at the end of the season. Obertan needs to step up. Marveaux will be like a new signing next year.
Wooden Spoon Award: Mike Williamson
Willo has done great in certain games this season. He has contributed to a lot of clean sheets this year, specifically at home. However, away from home he has thrown in some the worst performances of any centre back we have ever had. Which is some achievement considering some of the donkeys we have had over the years. Of the 14 goals we shipped in the 3 melt downs at Spurs, Fulham and Wigan, he was responsible for at least 8 of them. As well as these he has also gifted goals in other games.
His biggest downfall is his complete lack of positional sense at times. It's like he has never played centre back before and hasn't got a clue where he is supposed to stand, or when he is supposed to stand off or close down. I don't care what level you play at or what talent you have, to not know where to position yourself in the centre of defence is shocking. I cant see him playing many games in the black and white if we sign a centre back in the summer. Thanks for stepping in Willo but I think a move to a lower level is for the best.
Game Of The Season: 2-0 v Bindippers.
The Manure 3-0 spanking was the best performance. The mackem win in their own stadium was tremendous. But the win against Liverpool was perfection.
Andy Carroll got booked for diving. Our new no.9 scored both goals. Carroll & Bellamy both got dragged off. Kenny didn't stop scouling all day and even got ushered off the pitch by his embarrassed captain. Pepe Reina got sent off. Jose Enrique went in goal. We won 2-0.
Days like that will live long long in the memory. Beautiful.
Worst Game Of The Season: 0-1 v Brighton.
We had some spankings at the hands of Spurs, Fulham, Wigan and Norwich. But the Brighton game was shameful. To limp out of the FA Cup like that at the hands of an average Championship team was inexcusable, no matter how well our Premier League campaign has gone. It was gutless and horribly inevitable as we all watched it unfold. We never believed we were going to win, we were second to every ball, we never threatened to score and allowed them to grab one of the worst goals you will ever see. No surprise that Simpson and Williamson were at the heart of it. But the whole team should hang there heads in shame at that night. We expect better next year.
Low Point Of The Season: Renaming The Stadium.
Its hideous, disrespectful, embarrassing, shameful, pointless, sickening, baffling, awful, infuriating, confusing and most of all totally unnecessary.
We have brought down the St James' Park sign and stuck up dog ugly Sports Direct Arena signs all over the stadium and for what? Have we made any money? Has any company shown any level of interest in buying the naming rights? Has any body in the world complimented the strategy of the renaming process? If I have one request to Mike Ashley its to swallow your pride, do the right thing and take them signs down and get the St James' Park back up and we can all forget any of this ever happened.
High Point Of The Season: Cisse Destroys Chelsea.
We went to Champions League/FA Cup finalists Chelsea off the back of a dry humping of Wigan and anything less than a win, would have ended our Champions League aspirations. Queue Papiss Cisse and two of the sweetest goals to be scored in the same game by the same man you will ever see. The first was beautifully struck with the left foot into the top corner after instant control with the right. The second was out of this world. When Shola chested down the ball to Papiss from a thrown in 30 yards from goal and 2 yards from the sideline. Not one person in the universe thought he would shoot, never mind score. All apart from Papiss himself. What a strike, what a goal, what a player.
Our season peaked at this point as we laid joint 4th in the league heading into a game with champions to be Citeh and a difficult Everton game. But those goals will be remembered as the crowning glory to our season.
Thats your lot. I personally cant wait for next season as we sign new players to improve the squad and hopefully keep the key ones we have. We will (hopefully) get through the Europa League play-off and have many European nights to looks forward to. We will hope for better cup run's, to go along side another Premier League season as impressive as this one!
Howay The Lads!