Now that the 2008/09 season is dragging to a close, it's about time some of the under-appreciated performers were rewarded for their fine work. This won't be some sentimental PFA foot-kissing exercise; these are awards that the players will want to win.
(Yeah, I know that fictional awards are only one step up on the imagination ladder from writing lists, but c'mon, give me a break. It's been a month since Bolton played a meaningful match. The team is mentally on holiday, and I think I've joined them. I've spent the last two weeks in a sunny state of mind, willing Newcastle towards relegation.)
So, without further ado, let's get on with this. Feel free to post abuse, criticism and suggestions at the bottom.
The Shay Given Award for the Most Consistently Brilliant Goalkeeper In The Premier League: Jussi Jaaskelainen
While even the Top 4 keepers have had shaky moments this season, Jussi hasn't taken a week off.
Bolton have conceded only 51 goals this season, which is a minor miracle if you've watched them defend. If Gary Megson is getting a bonus for survival this season, he should give it all to Jussi, because he is probably the best player in the bottom half of the table.
The Emile Heskey, "I can't believe he has 52 England caps" Award for the Player Who Deserved Some International Recognition This Season: Kevin Davies
I have no explanation for this. Kevin Davies is better than Emile Heskey in every facet of his game. He plays bigger. He's stronger. He's better in the air. He's better on the ground. He's quicker. Heskey is slow, clumsy and he's never fit.
Kevin Davies has scored 12 league goals this season. Heskey has 5, while playing for better-performing teams. Heskey has the same number of England goals (6) as John Terry, who has one less cap. Why do I even have to argue this?
Now that we've all (hopefully) agreed that Michael Owen is finished, why don't we put his strike partner out of his misery too? One clean shot to the head, quick clean kill. It's for the best.
The Carlos Tevez Award for the Player Who Might Just Have Played His Way Onto One Of The Big 4's Shopping List: Gary Cahill
If you want to know just how good Cahill has been this season, just take a look at who he has been playing alongside. Cahill has routinely been doing the job of two centre-halves this season.
With the greatest respect, I don't think Andy O'Brien, Dan Shittu or Sebastien Puygrenier would walk into any other Premier League sides.
Cahill is big, strong and athletic enough to play for a Champion's League side. I currently have everything crossed, hoping Gartside and Megson can convince him to sign a new contract.
The Award For This Season's Most Encouraging (And Under-Reported) Story: Matt Taylor
He has starred in the Old Third Division (League 1), the Old Second Division (The Championship), and now at the very top of the English game. He has made it the hard way, starting his career at Luton Town (R.I.P.) and working his way up to the top.
This season he has emerged as a consistently good set-piece taker and a goal threat. His 10 goals put him level with Adebayor and ahead of Robbie Keane, Dimitar Berbatov and Kenwyne Jones. Not to mention exactly 10 goals ahead of England winger Stewart Downing.
What's more, he's a good pro who keeps his nose clean. Maybe it's not what the media is interested in, but Bolton fans can appreciate what he's done and the strides he has made this season.
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