Ladies and gentleman, the results are in. Here is the second annual Bitter and Blue end of season awards....As a reminder, last seasons results can be found here.
Bitter and Blue player of the season:
Not too many candidates for this award in what was in truth a mediocre season for most players. Players such as Weaver, Distin and Mpenza played well in spells but the winner really came from one of two players.
It was close, but whilst Joey Barton may have played at a higher level at certain times of the season, overall Richard Dunne has been far and away the most consistent performer this campaign.
Winner : Richard Dunne (last year David James)
Bitter and Blue readers player of the season:
A couple of votes came in for Nicky Weaver and Emile Mpenza, but this was a fairly straightforward choice as by far and away the concensus pick from you guys was for Richard Dunne.
Winner : Richard Dunne (last year Richard Dunne/David James tie)
Breakthrough player of the season:
Without the Academy players coming through into the first team squad over the past couple seasons the club would be in even more of a depressing state than we see at the end of this season. There is genuine hope that a nucleus of a decent side could be built around the Academy graduates and this year saw another one come through in the form of Michael Johnson.
Winner : Michael Johnson (last year Micah Richards)
Overachiever of the season:
Emile Mpenza was a strong candidate here as his impact on a team desperately short of goals cannot be underestimated as he played a large part in helping us to safety, but having spent the best part of three seasons out injured perhaps just to get back playing was achievement enought but Nicky Weaver must have thought he was back when David James left - only to see Andreas Isaksson signed. He started the season between the sticks though and performed well enough to retain his place until the last part of the season - a feat not many expected him to do.
Winner : Nicky Weaver (last year Andrew Cole)
Underachiever of the season:
A rather large shortlist for this category (unfortunately) and indicative of the season we have had. Goalkeepers and defenders are probably expempt in this though as they generally been the reason we have avoided relegation.
The strongest contenders though must all come from the striking ranks and you could really stick a pin in and not argue with the outcome. However, due to the fact that for large parts of the season they were played out wide on the left and expected to do a job they are not comfortable with I'm going to pass on Vassell and Samaras and choose Bernardo Corradi, who could and should have provided so much more than he has done.
Winner : Bernardo Corradi (last year Danny Mills)
Performance of the season:
It's definitely not the most enjoyable thing looking back over this season that's for sure, and really strong performances were few and far between.
Rarely did we put a run together throughout the season where we built both confidence and momentum, and when we did what was surprising was that we managed to do this away from home - which was long a problem area for us.
Late in the season, when the threat of relegation was still very real, we put back to back wins away in the North-East to hoist ourselves away from the bottom three. Whilst the Newcastle win was an important one, the Middlesbrough win built on that (and laid the foundations for the win at Fulham) and I think the strongest one given our record against them.
Goal of the season:
Due to our lack of potency in front of goal, obvious candidates do not particularly jump out you here - in fact, the way we went at home we could barely muster a top ten. One player who did struggle for goals as much as anyone was Giorgios Samaras - but as frustrating as he can be he is perhaps the one player who is capable of scoring a goal worthy of a 'best of category'.
Winner : Giorgios Samaras West Ham home (last year Danny Mills Everton at home)
Incident of the season:
How do you pick one out of this? On the shortlist we have Thatchers challenge on Mendes, multiple entries from Joey Barton (Arse-gate, his post-match outburst and his assault on Ousmane Dabo), Richard Dunne's pre-Blackburn attack, takeover stories and the sacking of our manager.
As strong as Barton's entries have been - and really all could have been winners, the sacking of Stuart Pearce is certainly the biggest story of the season, containing plenty of stories, rumours and theories for all.
Winner : The Stuart Pearce sacking (last year Joey Barton transfer request)