Let’s not mince our words – it’s been one of the dullest Premier League seasons in living memory. Manchester City had the title wrapped up before Christmas and, for much of the season, the relegation battle consisted of watching ten absolutely minging teams trying to out-s**t each other through the trapdoor to the infinitely more fun Championship.
Never mind – here’s my best bits of it all!
PLAYER OF THE SEASON – ALEXIS SANCHEZ
Awarded to the Chilean wizard for a dazzling mix of consistency and achievement. The first half of his season at Arsenal was riddled with grumpy mediocrity and he somehow managed to win a switch to Manchester United, where he continued his grumpy mediocrity trajectory… but with a f***ing massive pay rise. Wahey!
With a mere nine goals in 31 Premier League appearances this season and his 30th birthday approaching soon, Sanchez should have no problems maintaining the limbo-bar low standards he has set himself over the past year.
SELFLESS BOSS OF THE SEASON – ALAN PARDEW
The day-to-day grind of training, team talks, defeats and post-match inquests weren’t working out for gorgeous Pards at West Bromwich Albion, and so he played his trump card – a squad holiday in Barcelona.
There, the players were able to let their collective hair down and romp until daybreak, even going so far as to nick a taxi at 5.30am. Pardew himself suffered during the trip, having his wallet and mobile phone stolen in a bar.
For the managerial genius, it led to him losing his job as well, but his endgame was clearly to fall on his sword for the benefit of the team. They rallied after his departure, with Darren Moore almost guiding them to safety, but none of it would have happened without Pardew’s chaotic sun-baked strategy.
ONE TO WATCH AWARD – TIEMOUE BAKAYOKO
It’s been an interesting first season in the Premier League for the £35m Chelsea midfielder and it’s not unfair to say that some of his performances have been utterly risible. Whatever happens next will be fascinating to watch – he’ll either be even worse next season, or there’ll be a slight improvement while he remains an abject waste of time and money.
Runner-Up: Moussa Sissoko
SOUTHAMPTON MANAGER OF THE SEASON – PEP GUARDIOLA
Football is all about small margins and while Mark Hughes came in and rallied the Saints to safety at the business end of the season, that safety is surely only down to Guardiola’s intense on-pitch bollocking of Nathan Redmond back in November.
Sure, Redmond only managed one goal in the entire season, and that didn’t arrive until May, but if it hadn’t been for the verbal roasting handed out to him by the misunderstood Spanish genius, Redmond would probably have been a gibbering wreck for the entire campaign, costing his side possibly 10 or 15 points. Thanks Pep!
BRAVE SOLDIER OF THE SEASON – SAM ALLARDYCE
It takes a strong character to take charge of a situation when no-one wants you there in the first place. It takes an even stronger character to maintain your equilibrium when you improve the situation and they still don’t want you there. So I’m raising a pint of wine to the man with the thickest skin in football – Big Sam.
His achievement of lifting Everton up to eighth in the table while delivering the most turgid football imaginable surely qualifies him for some kind of medal. He’ll probably move on, and perhaps Everton will sink back into the mire again, but we’ll never forget his brass-necked stance in the face of a tornado of blue Scouse rancour.
Surely Allardyce is the only man who can deliver a successful Brexit?
SEXIEST VOICE OF THE SEASON – CLAUDE PUEL
Don’t tell me that Craig Shakespeare would have still got the sack if he’d been coaching his beloved Leicester City charges in a soft, slightly high-pitched French accent because I won’t believe you.
INVISIBLE TEAM OF THE SEASON – BOURNEMOUTH
Can anyone remember anything they did? Treading water once again in their cosy little stadium with their ‘highly-rated’ manager who we all know will never get a job at a bigger club because he’s levelled the Cherries out in mid-table.
Yes, they’re the perfect definition of a ‘well-run club’ and there’s nothing more dull.
INVISIBLE MANAGER OF THE SEASON – WATFORD BLOKE
Finally, a club that’s only slightly less invisible than Bournemouth owing to their high turnover of managers. The problem is that the latest incumbent has got all the presence of a window cleaner who is on long-term sickness benefit.
I couldn’t even tell you his name without resorting to Google – it’s possibly Jorge or Jose, or maybe he’s already been released from his contract and no one had noticed.
To be honest, it’s probably time for a ten-team Premier League, isn’t it?