So, after a season consisting of 87 completed games, spanning 11 months and taking in grounds in all manner of places and surroundings within three (sort of four) countries and at all levels, it’s time the honour the best, the worst, the weird and the wonderful of my travels over the past season.
From Bedians in July to Soccer Aid in June and whether on the pitch or off it, there have certainly been some memorable moments and characters & both new and old friends have been made/re-acquainted during my ventures and the awards celebrate the most brilliant, or sometimes otherwise, of all the experiences & escapades that have occurred. So without further ado… Ladies & Gentlemen, Boys and Girls the very best of Season 2015-’16… Manchopper Style….
The Non-Soccer Aid Celebrity/Famed Footballer Appearance of the Season:
The Nominees: Alan Smith, Rene Meulensteen, Paul Scholes, Assortment of managers at Bury-Barnsley.
Winner: RENE MEULENSTEEN (on a grass hill at Rudheath Social)!!
Best Cuisine of the Season:
The Nominees: Hucknall Rolls’ BBQ Hot-Dog, Thackley’s chips, FC United’s Steak Pie, Nelson’s Pie, Prescot’s curry.
Winner: PRESCOT CABLES CURRY!! (I’m sure others will attest to this, wonderful!)
Clubhouse of the Season:
The Nominees: Prescot Cables, Eagle Sports, Rylands, Ashton Town, Hucknall Rolls Leisure.
Winner: RYLANDS!! (Lovely clubhouse, especially the exterior.)
Best City/Town/Village/you get the point visited (not including Manchester/Urmston):
The Nominees: Selby, Prestatyn, Coventry, Chorlton, New Mills.
Winner: COVENTRY!! (Not much loved, but a place I enjoyed visiting fleetingly)
Worst Weather Related Experience of the Season:
The Nominees: Buxton, Ashton United, Garforth, East Manchester, Poynton,
Winner: BUXTON (but all were pretty awful)!!
Strangest Moment of the Season:
The Nominees: Stirling Albion fans begin to hate their ‘keeper, “A Crafty Look” at Macclesfield, Game at Cheadle Heath not being abandoned, Everyone loving ‘Pass the Pigs’, The 110-minute referee.
Winner: THE 110 MINUTE REFEREE!! (Kept playing….and playing…and playing…and..)
Most Farcical Moment of the Season:
The Nominees: BUXTON – BPA GOING AHEAD, BUXTON – BPA GOING AHEAD, BUXTON – BPA GOI…
Winner: BUXTON – BPA GOING AHEAD!! (Should never have begun. Simple.)
Team Performance of the Season:
The Nominees: Abbey Hey (vs Warrington Town, FA Cup), AFC Fylde (vs Boston Utd, Nat North), Aldershot Town (vs Guiseley, Nat Lge), Retford United (vs Garforth Town, NCELP), Warrington Town (vs Prescot Cables (H), NPLN)
Winner: ABBEY HEY!! (Great performance to KO the eventual NPL North champs)
Individual Performance of the Season:
The Nominees: RCD Mallorca B’s #11 (vs Arenal), Joey Barton (for Burnley vs Brighton & HA), Fabian Speiss (for Boston Utd vs AFC Fylde), Marcus Rashford (for Manchester Utd vs Arsenal), Callum Crane (for Berwick Rangers vs Stirling Albion)
Winner: CALLUM CRANE!! (A great performance by the young on-loan Hibs wing-back)
Fans of the Season:
The Nominees: Northampton Town (at Coventry), Oldham Athletic (at Scunthorpe), Boston United & AFC Fylde (same match), Curzon Ashton (vs Hednesford Town), Warrington Town (vs Prescot Cables)
Winners: CURZON ASHTON!! (An entertaining, loud bunch! Also joined in my jeer).
Programme of the Season (Non-Lge only):
The Nominees: Guiseley, West Didsbury & Chorlton, Stockport County, Prescot Cables, Warrington Town
Winner: Stockport County!! (Still a league standard programme). Credit to all the above, though.
Ground of the Season:
The Nominees: Prescot Cables’ Hope Street, Ashton Utd’s Hurst Cross, AFC Emley’s Welfare Ground, Thackley’s Dennyfield, West Ham Utd’s Boleyn Ground
Winner: THACKLEY’s DENNYFIELD!! (Not much lauded, but certainly a gem. For me.)
Goal of the Season:
The Nominees: Ash Flynn’s chip (for AFC Emley vs Congleton Town, FA Vase), Ryan McDonagh (Old Strets Reserves) from kick-off, Paul Ennis’ lob (for Hednesford Town at Curzon Ashton), Irlam Steel midfielder’s half-volley (vs Westbury Sports Club), Bersant Celina’s free-kick (for Manchester City u21 vs Norwich u21).
Winner: ASH FLYNN (blogged game) & Ryan McDonagh!! (Both great, so both share the accolade. Congrats.)
Match of the Season:
The Nominees: Curzon Ashton vs Hednesford Town (National North), Manchester Utd vs Arsenal (Premier League), Abbey Hey vs Warrington Town (FA Cup Prelim Rd), AFC Emley vs Congleton Town (2nd Quali Rd), West Didsbury & Chorlton vs Morpeth Town (FA Vase)
Winner: West Didsbury & Chorlton vs Morpeth Town (3-4, FA Vase)!! (The eventual champs throw away a four goal lead, but net a late, late winner).
Team of the Season (based on teams I’ve seen this season & their campaigns):
The Nominees: Prestwich Heys, Warrington Town, Morpeth Town, Northampton Town, Burnley. (Honourable Mentions: Curzon Ashton, West Didsbury & Chorlton, Accrington Stanley)
Winner: PRESTWICH HEYS (Treble-winning Heys get the prize).
Player of the Season (based on performance I watched live & season performance):
The Nominees: Ciaran Kilheeney (Warrington Town), Ash Flynn (AFC Emley), Nic Evangelinos (West Didsbury & Chorlton), Joey Barton (Burnley), Scott Metcalfe (Warrington Town)
Winner: ASH FLYNN (AFC EMLEY)!! (Can you really argue? What an impact!)
Player I’ve not mentioned yet, but have love for & want to get them in for an award somewhere award:
The Nominees: Joel Melia (Ashton Utd), Brett Ormerod (Bamber Bridge), Sam Freakes (Abbey Hey), Darren Fletcher (West Bromwich Albion), the Eagle Sports Squad and numerous others….
WINNER: ALL OF THE ABOVE!!! (See the title for reasons!)