The first annual Foul Throw Alternative Awards
Ladies and Gentleman, welcome to the first annual Foul Throw awards.
The season is drawing to a close. The stars are arriving now. The red carpet out, Dele Alli has felt it snag at his heel. He’s gone down in a heap.
Héctor Bellerín has arrived wearing the kind of clothes he likes. Some buffoons are incensed by this.
José Mourinho is set to hand out an award at tonight’s ceremony. Not to anyone who deserves it of course, but instead he’ll be using the gesture as a political move to further his own cause at all costs.
The West Brom squad are expected to attend, but their taxi has yet to arrive. We’ll just have to get on without them – as with the 2018/19 Premier League season.
Alan Pardew is due to open proceedings. No. Scratch that. He’s refusing to go on, claiming that ‘the warm-up act has stolen his new stage presence bounce’.
Oh, let’s just get on with it shall we?
The Shop Window Award – Wilfried Zaha
Each year someone manages it. Every season, one player is able to stand out as being preposterously better than any of his teammates. This year that man was Wilf Zaha. It’s no stretch at all to say that, without him this campaign, Crystal Palace would have been doomed to relegation as winning without him in the side appears to be beyond them.
Zaha’s form is great for Palace, except, as this award suggests, it’s put him in the shop window. Zaha is potentially a great fit for Spurs where he could battle it out with Son, Lamela and Moura for a starting spot. Alternatively, Klopp might consider Zaha the perfect option to provide back up and competition to Sadio Mané. Arsenal, Chelsea and Everton might also want to take a look.
The Buttered Glove Award – Mark Flekken
Duisberg goalkeeper Mark Flekken was thirsty, so he turned his back on the game for a quick sip from his bottle. By the time he turned back, the ball was being tapped into his unattended net. This isn’t crap keeping. It’s non-keeping. It’s the absence of keeping. But it deserves an award all the same.
As much as we love football for the feats we could never hope to accomplish; the touch of Pirlo and the volley of Zidane, Cruyff’s turn and Ronaldo’s stepover, we love it just as much for the moments of human fallibility and vulnerability. It doesn’t get much more vulnerable than this. It is also funny. Very funny. SPEECH!
P.S. Flekken sold his water bottle to raise money for underprivileged kids in Duisburg. Award worthy indeed.
The Radamel Falcao Flop of the Season Award - Tiémoué Bakayoko
This might as well be called the Tiémoué Bakayoko award for being Tiémoué Bakayoko. You can talk about Chelsea’s other summer signings in Morata and Michy Batshuayi, but the former has been playing injured and showed his talent early in the season, and the latter has impressed since being loaned back to Dortmund. As for Bakayoko, we take no pleasure in this, and he seemed like an exciting young talent arriving in the Premier League, but he’s just been awful. Yanked at half-time in the FA Cup, then sent off after 30-minutes against Watford to a chorus of ‘You’re f***ing s**t’ from his own fans. We hope things improve for him next season, whether at Chelsea or elsewhere.
The Phil Brown Class Clown Award – West Bromwich Albion
Albion began the season with a manager with a proven track record of keeping teams in the Premier League. They sacked him with the club still one point above the drop zone...
Pardew came in, lost a few games, then phoned up caretaker Gary Megson and accused him of stealing his new manager bounce. But, there was still surely one place Pardew couldn’t sully, the enchanting cobbles and sun-drenched beaches of Barcelona. Enter his players. Four players, including Gareth Barry (37 years of age, 653 Premier League appearances, 53 England caps), allegedly stole a taxi. From outside a McDonalds. In Barcelona.
For a final flourish, the club fired Pardew too late, appointing Darren Moore as caretaker who went on to beat United, Spurs and Newcastle and take a point from Liverpool in 6 games. Moore won Manager of the Month. West Brom still finished bottom.
The VAR Award for Very Awful Refereeing – Tony Chapron
Referee trips over player. Referee kicks out at that player. Referee stands up and sends off said player. Referee wins this award. That is exactly the sequence of events that has earned Tony Chapron this esteemed* prize that he can take home with him*. For his actions during the Nantes – PSG clash in January, Chapron was handed a six-month ban. A six-month ban for – and we really do think it bears repeating – falling over, kicking a player, then showing that player a red card. Glorious.
*not esteemed. *he can’t, we didn’t buy an actual trophy.
The Gary Lineker’s Pants Award for Surprise Package of the Season – Carlos Carvalhal
First there was the Championship manager who had, in time honoured white bloke tradition, failed upwards into a Premier League job. Surprising but perhaps not shocking. Then there was the name. We’d got used to Ricardo. But this was different. People on podcasts fought passive aggressive pronunciation wars. We were confused. The stage was set for a surprise package. Then he opened his mouth and the package emerged fully formed. There are many Carvalhal quotes, but here’s our favourite:
‘I will do my best and bring in the best players. I will look to the lobsters and sea bass, but if not we must buy sardines. But sometimes the sardines can win games.’
Most surprising of all, Carlos the sardine won games... for a bit.
The Harry Redknapp ‘Boy Done Good’ Award – Raheem Sterling
23 goals, one Carabao Cup, one Premier League title and one seat on the plane to Russia. This perhaps feels like an uninspired choice for this award. That is until you remember the intense scrutiny, criticism, and frankly, abuse, that Raheem Sterling has already been subjected to in his short career. Buying his mum a house, flying with EasyJet, eating breakfast – all things Raheem Sterling has had the nerve to do. Did sections of our proud British press let him get away with such flagrant nonsense? Of course not, that’s not how an empire was won! Luckily, despite facing a daily sh*tstorm of printed idiocy undermining his genuinely remarkable achievements, Sterling has become a not-half-bad footballer or person. Yeah, the boy done good.
The Huddersfield Substitute’s Shorts Award for Let Down of the Season – Napoli
We hoped. We believed. We felt the spirit of El Diego flowing through this side. Koulibaly rose in the last minute to crash a header home. The Old Lady were rocking. Juventus would surely, finally, fall from their perch. You just had to keep going. Grind it out. Fell the giant beast from Turin. That all-powerful behemoth of Italian football. You just had to…not do that. Oh. Maybe next year. Maybe. Enjoy this award. Silver linings and all that.
P.S. If you’re wondering what the name of this award is referring to, you can jog your memory here (NSFW…there’s a penis in it).
That brings us to the end of the first annual Foul Throw awards. Allardyce has drained his pint of wine, Mike Ashley’s been sick in the fireplace, minds are now turning to this Summer’s World Cup in Russia, and soon enough we’ll be beginning it all over again. See you next year.