The Alternative Football Awards Brought To You By Adrian Clarke


I can’t see any red carpet laid out for me by the good people of Unibet - and there’s not a flash bulb in sight - but this is awards season, so I want a piece of it!

Some gongs are just too easy to dish out though, aren’t they?

Worst Spender: Brendan Rodgers. Surprise Star: Francis Coquelin. Calamitous Signing: Federico Fazio. Best Goal: Charlie Adam. Grumpiest Boss: Nigel Pearson. Funniest Speech: Louis van Gaal. Most Hung Out To Dry: John Carver. The list goes on.

Good and bad, here are some alternative honours I’ve picked out that may not be quite as cut and dried. See if you agree…

Most Exciting Prospect - Jordan Ibe

Wonder kids emerge most seasons – and not all of them turn out to be all that wondrous long term - but 19-year-old Ibe has the tools to kick on next season. Comfortable on either wing he has enough power, confidence and talent to frighten anyone. Liverpool fans should enjoy him while they can. (Ouch)

The Dirk Kuyt Award for Tireless Workrate – Shane Long

Southampton v Aston Villa - Premier League : News Photo

George Boyd is unlucky to miss out, but Shane Long is too often overlooked in this department. I know he cost the Saints a few quid and I know he’s supposed to be a striker, but the Irishman’s energy and desire to support Graziano Pelle from the wing has been outstanding. He’s made an invaluable contribution at St Mary’s.

Value for Money – Bojan Krkic & Ayoze Perez

I’m only sharing this because it remains unclear how much Stoke City coughed up for Bojan. They say ‘a six figure fee’ but it’s also been reported at £3million. Either way, the Spaniard was brilliant before getting injured. For £1.5million, the classy Perez has also been a bargain. He deserves to play for a better team.

Smartest Loan – Robert Huth

Sunderland v Leicester City - Premier League : News Photo

I don’t think the Foxes would have survived had they not brought the experienced Huth into the side from February onwards. He eased the strain on skipper Wes Morgan, and delivered calm and assured performances in the run-in. Nigel Pearson knew what he needed, and he picked the right man.

Under the Radar – Boaz Myhill

Ben Foster has always been undisputed number one at the Hawthorns, but when he returns from injury next season, he’ll have a fight on his hands. Since Myhill took over between the sticks he has been a revelation. Based on his displays this season, he’s a keeper that deserves more credit than he receives.

Too Good For The Championship – Matty Phillips

Queens Park Rangers v Arsenal - Premier League : News Photo

Relegated Danny Ings and Charlie Austin will be snapped up this summer, but Matty Phillips should be on a few shopping lists too. He’s created eight goals with some delightful crossing (and scored some crackers too) in a shockingly bad Hoops side. At 24, the wide man is also likely to improve.

Worst Sale – Jack Cork to Swansea City

Ronald Koeman has had a blinding debut season, but I suspect he’ll end up ruing the £3million sale of this quality defensive midfielder. Cork wanted regular football and wasn’t getting it at Southampton, but with Morgan Schneiderlin likely to move on, the Saints may wish they’d tried harder to keep the Swansea star. I rate him.

Biggest Waste of (Space and) Money – Mario Balotelli

Hull City v Liverpool - Premier League : News Photo

Angel di Maria, Radamel Falcao and Eliaquim Mangala all deserve a mention, but at least they tried their best to shine. Mario, on the other hand has contributed next to nothing without ever looking like he’s the slightest bit bothered. Whatever Liverpool spent on him, has been flushed down the drain.

The Most Spectacular Disappearing Act – Younes Kaboul

 "Younes has shown me all the values needed to be a captain. He has the character to lead this team, as well as the respect of his teammates." These were the words of Mauricio Pochettino last September, but as it stands the axed Frenchman hasn’t been seen in action since January. It’s been one heck of a fall from grace.

Season’s Biggest Stinker - Hatem Ben Arfa

FBL-FRA-LIGUE1-NICE-BEN ARFA : News Photo

Alan Pardew couldn't wait to get rid of his lazy winger on loan last August, and it took a matter of days for Steve Bruce to realise Ben Arfa's attitude was diabolical too. On termination of his loan deal, the gifted Frenchman thought he's landed a dream transfer to Nice, only to discover FIFA rules prohibited him from playing. Where he is right now, is anybody's guess. He's definitely not playing football.