Suffering withdrawal? Desperately seeking an unnecessarily nail-biting one-nil win? Confused by the absence of someone at whom to scream “F*ck sake Jenas”? Then knock yourself out with the All Action No Plot Awards, and re-live Tottenham Hotspur, season 2008-09Two-Points-Eight-Games Award For Completely Turning Around His Season
Step forward Heurelho Gomes. Firmly established as our number one now, but by Jove not so long the streets of White Hart Lane were filled to bursting with fans tripping over one another to hold the exit door open for him. As well as an almost vampiric inability to deal with crosses there was the fumble v Villa, the suicidal dribble vs Udinese and the hot-potato-style nadir vs Fulham. However, a jolly impressive comeback has seen him become central to our record-breaking defensive form at the Lane, and saves such as those vs West Ham away, and Chelski and West Brom at home, were each worth goals. Although he was rubbish in the Carling Cup Final penalty shoot-out.
The Manuel Que? Award For Not Understanding A Ruddy Word of English
While the passport-wielding likes of Corluka, Assou-Ekotto and Modric seem to understand what’s going on, and are presumably sufficiently au fait with the English language, poor old Roman Pavluychenko has all season wandered the pitch with the air of a man who has absolutely no idea what anyone is saying to him. Indeed, in one of ‘Arry’s first games in charge, Pav’s translator was instructed by our glorious leader to tell him “Just f*cking run about”. Mercifully, he has a sound understanding of the game in general, hopefully will lead to better things next season.
The Big Girl’s Blouse Award For Wearing Female Accessories On A Football Pitch
Not so much an award as a naming and shaming. Aaron Lennon in tights is one thing, as one can – just about – see the medical reason for this. However, Jonathan Woodgate and Luka Modric ought to be docked half their wages for that alice-band nonsense. Man up, for goodness’ sake. (Corluka escapes this ignominy, by the skin of his teeth, for doing the decent thing and getting a haircut.)
Only really knew Vedran Corluka by name when we signed him at the start of the season, but although a little one-paced, his rapport with Aaron Lennon on the right has bordered on the psychic at times. None of which has anything to do with his most uncanny resemblance to some chap called Goran Visnjic of the tellybox. He plays a doctor in ER, and apparently auditioned for the role of James Bond too (Visnjic, not Corluka).
The Fat Frank Lampard Award For Eating All The Pies
The Hudd, by a country mile. He could give Luka Modric a few tips.
The Louis Armstrong Award For Jazz-Hands
A simple one, this. His go-faster eyebrow stripes may make him down wif da kidz, but little Aaron Lennon’s jazz hands routine, every time he revs up, is straight out of the 1920s. Further dainty effect is added by that delicate hop and skip of anguish, whenever he loses the ball. Bless.
The Oliver Reed Award For Fondness Of The Bottle
I have to admit that a piece of me died when news broke of Ledley King’s arrest for getting tanked and trying to lamp a bouncer, or whatever it was. At the risk of sounding like my own mother, he always seemed so quiet, mild-mannered and well-behaved. Such a nice boy. We all turned a blind eye to the post Carling Cup-win celebrations, and even when tabloids printed other pictures of him stumbling out of clubs, we tried to ignore it. Bit difficult to ignore now though. It’s always the quiet ones, eh?
Most Likely To Get Away With Murder Award
Let’s face it, Robbie Keane has been near-enough getting away with murder in the last few weeks anyway – picking up more in a week than we do in a year, for generally loitering around the centre-circle, pointing and shouting, and doing his damnedest to stay away from the opposition area. No matter what he does (or, perhaps, doesn’t do) it seems he can’t be dropped or substituted – which has me wondering quite how far his shield of immunity stretches.
The Chris Bridges Award For Most Ludicrous Haircut of The Season
Mercifully, not too much competition here, if you exclude the long-haired alice-band pansies. Jermain Defoe dabbled in a dubious Maltesers-on-the-head Craig David-esque effort for a few weeks, but then got injured and reappeared with an eminently more sensible short back and sides. Young Bostock may offer some competition next year with that spikey Mohawk thing, but as he’s only 14 or whatever he can get away with it. However, Benoit Assou-Ekotto, we salute you. Unbraid your braids, and give us more of that frankly awesome afro.
Michael Ballack Award For Being The Biggest Loser Of The Season
Last year Herr Ballack captained the losing team in the Euro Championships final, lost on penalites in the Champs League final, was runner-up in the Premiership and lost the Carling Cup final. However, Gareth Bale would probably settle for any of those, having now failed to win a single league game with us in the two seasons since he joined us. (Honourable mention here to Jamie O’ Hara, who was in tears at last year’s Carling Cup Final after being left out of the squad, and then missed in the penalty shoot-out of this year’s final).
Begbie From Trainspotting Award For Being A Truly Terrifying Scot
Joe Jordan’s inscrutable stare reminds me of the more ferocious breed of militant teachers from back in the day, but I think Alan Hutton wins this one, for reportedly beating up his own Dad or some such business. Cripes. Rather looking forward to seeing him lose the plot on the pitch one day, and batter the life out of some random unknowing opponent.
Christopher Columbus Award For The Most Directionally-Challenged Player At The Club
Assou-Ekotto almost scored a 30 yard, volleyed own-goal away at Burnley, but as regulars will know, we at AANP Towers were only ever going to award this title to one person. He passes backwards, he passes sideways; he passes sideways, he passes backwards (even though he’s actually a pretty talented footballer); inevitably, it’s Jermaine Jenas.
The Karaoke Award For The Player Who Most Deserves His Own Song
6 November 2008. White Hart Lane. Darren Bent has just scored his first hat-trick for the club, and whose name are we singing? Jermain Defoe’s, even though, at that time, Defoe was still a Portsmouth player. And when the “Defoe” choruses finished, our salutes rang out to John Bostock, who at that point still hadn’t yet made a senior appearance for us.
However, poor old Bent doesn’t actually receive this award. In a momentous act of goodwill and peace, I award it to your friend and mine, Jermaine Jenas. One of the problems with JJ is the lack of the confidence-bordering-on-arrogance that inspires an attacking player to take a gamble and try to be a match-winner. He’s capable, as he occasionally demonstrates, but all too often he’ll take the safe option (as ranted about above). Maybe if he had his own song he would be a bit more adventurous? And start passing forwards?
Terminator 3 Award For Being Expensive And Eagerly-Awaited But Ultimately A Complete Letdown
There are a few contenders here, which is testimony to the misjudgement of Comolli and his clowns last summer. Pav will hopefully come good eventually; Giovani is unlikely to be given a chance in lilywhite; but the most disappointing has been poor old pretty-boy David Bentley. Not really his fault, as he’s not been given too many games in his own position, but he’s hardly helped himself by trying Maradonna impressions every time he’s been on the pitch and received the ball. Just keep it simple lad. At £15 mil or so, and with that reputation, we expected more.
Jurgen Klinsmann Award For Being The Signing Of The Season
Corluka has been steady, Gomes has found his form and Defoe has looked razor-sharp in the handful of games in which he’s featured. After a brief teething period, Luka Modric has become our creative hub, and is rightly revered at the Lane, but in a photo-finish the barrel chest of Wilson Palacios gives him the award. He’s what we’ve needed for years – and whatever criticism we level at ‘Arry, there can be no doubt that this was an inspired signing.
Ole Gunnar Solksjaer Award For The Most Inspired Substitution Of The Season
This may raise a few eyebrows, as ‘Arry would generally stick with his starting XI even if his life depended on making a change or two. However, cast your minds back to Sunday 15 March, away to Aston Villa, when poor old Didier Zokora’s blood was turned inside-out by Ashley Young. Do-do-do Didier had already been booked, when he was brutally but rightly hauled off by ‘Arry. Corluka kept Young quiet, and we went on to win 2-1, an away day which, at the time, ranked amongst our best results of the season, and was part of our run of tip-top spring form.
The Saving Private Ryan Award For The Most Mental, 20 Minute, All-Action-No-Plot Sequence Of The Season
What the hell happened in the second half against Man Utd? Admittedly the penalty awarded against us was harsh, but that was just one goal. Yet the entire team took it as their cue to stumble around like headless chickens as the champions ran riot, and a 0-2 lead became a 5-2 deficit in under half an hour. (An honourable mention should also go to the team that pitched up away to Burnley, although that torment was dragged out for a good 90 minutes.)
Nelson Mandela Award For Humility and Modesty
Truly a man for others, our glorious leader ‘Arry Redknapp has, since the day he arrived, made sure that everyone understands that our turnaround is entirely due to the players. Never short to sing their praises, the frequent references to Two-Points-Eight-Games™ are always followed by the conclusion “And it’s to the players’ credit that they’ve achieved this”. Unfortunately, the scandalous editing processes of Sky, Setanta, the BBC et al, mean that these closing sentiments tend typically to be edited out.
More fond reminiscences on season 2008-09 are imminent. Meantime, by all means do the Facebook thang, or follow the AANP lifestyle on Twitter.