Alex Nekrassov writes: As the year 2010 knocks on our collective doors it’s a perfect time to give out various (and thoroughly deserved) gongs to the people associated with the nation’s favourite sport, football. As you might have figured out, we’re deviating slightly from categories such as ‘best team of the year’, or ‘best footballer ‘ – these will be awarded at the end of the season anyway, and frankly, who cares who gets what.
We feel our awards capture the spirit of the game in a way that the mainstream ones never could. So without further ado, here are the winners of the Stirring Trouble Internationally Football Awards of 2009:
Worst Transfer Of The Year Award
The winner of this category wasn’t really ever in doubt. In fact, we considered at the last minute to change the name of the gong to: Stupidest Transfer of 2009, And Maybe Ever. What ever possessed Liverpool to buy AS Roma’s central midfielder, Roberto Aquilani? Not only did he arrive at Anfield with a serious knee injury, which has kept him out for most of the season, but Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez recently had an epiphany and realised that Aquilani might, in fact, too physically slight to cut it in the Premiership – a pretty major oversight on the part of Benitez and his scouts before completing one of the most expensive signings in the club’s history. No wonder Liverpool are having to refinance their debt every year.
The Most Disliked Great Player Of The Year Award
This award goes to the one and only Didier Drogba of Chelsea. Although undeniably a good footballer, he is by far the most infuriating player to grace these shores. Drogba’s ability to shirk the challenges of towering defenders, only to be later found lying in a heap at the edge of the pitch because an opposition player had trodden on his shoe lace, is uncanny. He whinges, he dives, he moans and annoys even his own fans and teammates. His reputation now comes before him, as seen recently in the game against Manchester United, where an x-rated drop-kick right to Drogba’s chest by United defender Jonny Evans, resulted in the Chelsea forward getting booked for diving. How annoying is that?
Worst Run Club Of The Year Award
This award would usually go to Chelsea, by default, but the new kids on the block lacking all the characteristics of a professionally run football club is Manchester City. When news that the club was interviewing candidates for the manager’s job held down by Mark Hughes was leaked, the management declined the allegations. Two weeks later, the players were told that the match against Sunderland (which Manchester City in fact won) would be the last under Hughes’ tender. News broke to the press shortly after and Hughes was officially fired. Not only did the club get caught blatantly fibbing, the Chief Executive thought it would be appropriate for him to drag Liverpool in also, by stating that one of the candidates they interviewed for the position, German Jurgen Klinsmann, was also interviewed by Liverpool. Most ironically in all this, the official reason the board came up with for Hughes’ sacking was apparently that the club was not ‘meeting its objectives and goals’. This came at a time when Manchester City were clinging to sixth place. Guess what the club’s target end of the year finish was? Yep, you’ve guessed it, the top spot.
Dodgiest Takeover Of The Year
When it was announced that Portsmouth was about to be taken over by Dubai-based businessman, Sulaiman Al Fahim, who would bring with him the possibility of huge money injections, a new stadium and world class players, fans were forgiven for getting excited. But questions were raised about Al Fahim’s finances and a 90% stake in the club was sold to Saudi property tycoon Ali al-Faraj. Despite promises of capital injections, the club hasn’t even been able to pay its players on time (an unprecedented development in the Premiership) and they remain firmly bottom of the league. All of this is made even more surprising by the fact that Portsmouth sold off a large portion of its first team players for tens of millions and continued to take in an extensive chunk of Premiership television money. Where has all the money gone? With the very real possibility of the club going into administration, the authorities are monitoring the situation with close interest.
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