19 May 2013

2013 TDTR Awards winners

Last month, I published a list of nominees for the 2013 TDTR Awards. With the Premier League season now over, I am delighted to announce the winners and the losers of these awards, starting with my marquee award:

PLAYER OF THE YEAR
WINNER: Robin van Persie (MANCHESTER UNITED)
(Gareth Bale may have swept all before him in the official awards, but as far as I'm concerned, he's not the best player in the Premier League this season. For the second year in a row, it's Robin van Persie, who scored 35 goals in his debut campaign with Manchester United. The £24million striker really was the deciding factor in the title race, as Sir Alex Ferguson snatched him from under the noses of Manchester City just before the season began. van Persie has been prolific throughout the campaign, save for a short lean spell in late February and early March, fantastic hat-trick in the title-clinching victory over Aston Villa effectively ensured that he would deservedly win this award. Congratulations, Robin.)

(WORST) PLAYER OF THE YEAR
WIENER: Jose Bosingwa (QUEENS PARK RANGERS)
(After surviving on the final day of last season, Queens Park Rangers went big with their signings. They brought a UEFA Champions League-winning full-back to Loftus Road on £65,000-a-week wages, so they would have expected a lot from Jose Bosingwa. What they got was a stroppy prima donna who refused to be a substitute against Fulham and was dropped for two months as a result. They also ended up with an undetermined player who showed his passion for QPR by laughing on the afternoon of their relegation. Rangers fans will be praying, not just hoping, that 'Boswinga' Bos-wings it to another club, and fans of other Premier League teams will be hoping that it's not to them.)

TEAM OF THE YEAR
WINNER: Manchester United
(There is always a temptation to avoid the obvious choice, but Manchester United were the best team in the PL by a long chalk. They finished 11 points ahead of Manchester City, lost just five games in the league and have the dream combination of a fierce attack and a solid back line. With goalkeeper David de Gea [pictured] becoming more and more reliable, and youngsters Tom Cleverley and Javier Hernandez starting to realise their potential, this team could - on paper - dominate the league for some time. That said, next season could be difficult without a certain Scotsman in charge...)

MANAGER OF THE YEAR
WINNER: Sir Alex Ferguson (MANCHESTER UNITED)
(Who else could it be? The greatest manager in football history, Sir Alex Ferguson, has completed his final season as Manchester United boss in typical winning style, lifting his 13th Premier League championship. Ferguson's tactics and management style allowed United to keep their heads while City lost theirs, and ultimately led to them winning the title by such a big margin. Sir Alex will now step up into the boardroom, allowing David Moyes to come in and inherit one of the best ever teams to grace Old Trafford. Enjoy your retirement, Fergie, you deserve it.)

YOUNG PLAYER OF THE YEAR
WINNER: Oscar (CHELSEA)
(Oscar came to Stamford Bridge this summer as a young midfielder from Sao Paulo looking to make his name at Chelsea. 65 games later, he has certainly done that. The 21-year-old has already established himself as a first-team regular, scoring ten goals, including a couple of stunners in the Champions League. He looks set to take over from Frank Lampard as the Blues' midfield dynamo when the England ace does leave. Liverpool's Raheem Sterling made more of an impact in the first half of the campaign, but because Oscar has shone throughout the campaign, the brilliant Brazilian gets this award.)

VETERAN PLAYER OF THE YEAR
WINNER: Frank Lampard (CHELSEA)
(Oscar may be the new Frank Lampard, but the old one isn't looking like he'll be heading for the knacker's yard any time soon. An impressive season tally of 15 Premier League strikes took the Stamford Bridge stalwart onto 203 Chelsea goals, beating the club record previously held by Bobby Tambling. He also led the Blues to glory in the UEFA Europa League Final, after which he signed a new contract to stay put for at least another campaign. When Lampard, now aged 34, finally does depart, he will be regarded as a Chelsea legend - that's if he isn't already.)

DEVIL OF THE YEAR
SINNER: Luis Suarez (LIVERPOOL)
(If a striker picks up ten yellow cards, they can be considered a bit dirty. If that striker deliberately uses his hand to help score a goal, you can also call him a cheat. And if that same player thrusts his teeth into the arm of an opposition defender, then he's a generally nasty piece of work. That striker's name is Luis Suarez, and no matter how brilliant the Liverpool man has been for his team, you cannot ignore his disgraceful antics on the pitch. A ten-game ban for biting Branislav Ivanovic is just what this very flawed genius deserves, but I'll also give him this award to put on his dinner pla... mantelpiece.)

CHAMPIONSHIP PLAYER OF THE YEAR
WINNER: Glenn Murray (CRYSTAL PALACE)
(Last season, Glenn Murray - previously of Brighton & Hove Albion - scored seven goals for Crystal Palace. This term, he scored 31. His incredible return to form, especially since Ian Holloway took over at Selhurst Park, is one key reason why Palace have gone from being relegation possibilities at the start of season from being in the Championship Play-Off Final. Unfortunately, Murray suffered a serious knee injury in the Semi Final first leg against Brighton, so if the Eagles do reach the Premier League, we won't see him there for some time. Such a shame.)

SURPRISE OF THE YEAR
WINNER: Bradford City reach League Cup Final
(Not since Rochdale in 1962 had a fourth-tier team reached the Final of the League Cup. Then came Phil Parkinson's Bradford City, who quietly made their way through the early rounds before winning tense penalty shoot-outs against top-flight sides Wigan Athletic and Arsenal. That was followed by a nail-biting Semi Final against Aston Villa, in which the Bantams did just enough to make history and book a date at Wembley. The Final against Swansea City didn't quite follow the Hollywood writer's script, but Bradford - now promoted to League One - will never forget this season just gone.)

MATCH OF THE YEAR
WINNER: Reading 5-7 Arsenal (League Cup)
(Brian McDermott had never beaten his old club Arsenal as a manager, so when Reading went 4-0 up within 37 minutes, he could be forgiven for thinking he was in dreamland. Arsene Wenger [pictured] was stunned, and gave his Arsenal players the hairdryer treatment at half-time. The Gunners then turned a 4-1 deficit at the break into a 4-4 draw after normal time, thanks to Theo Walcott's leveller deep into injury time. After 30 minutes of extra time, it was still 5-5, but two dramatically late Arsenal goals completed one of the most extraordinary matches you are ever likely to see.)

GOAL OF THE YEAR
WINNER: Cameron Jerome (STOKE CITY vs Southampton)
(Stoke City were trailing 3-2 to Southampton in the closing stages of their Premier League clash. Tony Pulis' men tried to carve out one last attack, but after Peter Crouch failed to control the ball cleanly, team-mate Cameron Jerome went for a hit-and-hope half-volley from distance. This was the result. I gave serious consideration to Robin van Persie's sublime second goal against Aston Villa, but Manchester United have won plenty of awards already, and the drama surrounding Jerome's stunner meant that I decided to give this accolade to him instead.)

MERIT AWARD
WINNER: Stiliyan Petrov
(Stiliyan Petrov was diagnosed with leukaemia last year, and has missed the whole of this season as a result. Aston Villa fans paid tribute to their absent captain by chanting his name in the 19th minute of matches at Villa Park - they have nothing but respect for Stan, and the feeling is mutual. Sadly, Petrov will not be back on the football pitch again, having announced his retirement, but he is setting up a charity to help others with his illness. Because he is handling his cancer battle in such a dignified manner and is determined to save more lives from leukaemia, he has the utmost respect of myself and many others in the football family.)

WORLD STAR OF THE FUTURE
WINNER: Viktor Fischer (AJAX & DENMARK)
(This has been 18-year-old Fischer's first season in the Ajax first-team, and the Danish winger has made a smooth transition from youth to senior football, scoring 12 times in 33 games. Fisher, who was the joint-top scorer in last season's NextGen Series, was very much an important figure as Ajax retained the Eredivisie title. He won his first cap for Denmark last year, and it's only a matter of time before he really makes his mark on the world stage. A lucrative move to the Premier League - perhaps to Manchester United or Chelsea - could come this summer.)

WORLD TEAM OF THE YEAR
WINNER: Bayern Munich
(Bayern Munich walked the Bundesliga this season, losing just one game as they picked up 91 points and ended up with an incredible goal difference of +80. Typically of any German team, one of the key reasons behind their success is the solidity of the defence, which protects perhaps the best goalkeeper in the world right now - Manuel Neuer [pictured]. Bayern have also been devastating in the UEFA Champions League, as they tore Barcelona to shreds and booked a place in the Final against rivals Borussia Dortmund. If Bayern were to win next week, it could be the start of a period of dominance from the Munich side.)

WORLD PLAYER OF THE YEAR
WINNER: Lionel Messi (BARCELONA & ARGENTINA)
(He may not have lifted the Champions League this year, but Lionel Messi is still the best player on planet football at the moment. The Argentine magician has scored 46 goals in La Liga this season for wire-to-wire champions Barcelona - just four short of his total from the previous campaign. He continues to score and create goals at an incredible rate, but the really scary thing is that he's still only 25 years of age! For the fifth year in a row, I have picked out Messi as the best footballer in the world, and if he carries his amazing form into the next 12 months, it's not impossible that he could break his own record for the most goals in a calendar year! I bet Cristiano Ronaldo is wetting himself!)

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