An eventful season for the Whites; three losses from the first three games, a Korean Messi, a scrap, a Knightmare, a dodgy substitution, boo’s, a ginger gardener, a ‘sideways step’ a Judas-Moses miracle worker, a blood clot, a Good Knight, an embarrassing own goal and finally, safety.
On behalf of ESPN Soccernet, these are the Bolton Wanderers awards, for the 2009-10 season.
Goal of the Season
1- Fabrice Muamba (vs. Wigan) If this was scored by anyone else, Torres, Villa, Drogba; it would have been an impressive 8/10 run and finish. The fact it was scored by goalaphobic midfielder Fab Muamba made it all the more special. Goal of the season for me.
2- Gary Cahill (vs. Man City) Superb strike from outside the area. I honestly believe Gary Cahill is the most talented defender in the Premier League when it comes to striking a football.
3- Kevin Davies (vs. Spurs x2) I couldn’t decide which was better. The goal in the FA Cup or the one in the league. Both displays of superb football- a sign that we can play some good stuff when we put ourselves to it.
Most Improved Player of the season
1- Zat Knight: The Zat Knight for the first half of the season was putting his name down alongside Gerald Cid for worst defender to grace the Reebok. The Zat Knight of the 2nd half of the season outshone Gary Cahill. A tremendous improvement since Owen Coyle took over.
2- Fabrice Muamba: To put it bluntly, last year he was useless. It wasn’t working for Fab at all, and had Sean Davis not picked up a bad injury, he may have found himself unable to get into the team this year. But after a brilliant England U21 campaign last summer, where he put in a Makelele-esque performance against Spain he has grown in confidence. He has improved even further since Coyle took over. He is now adding an attacking threat to his game, intercepting balls and making quick breaks up field. His passing still leaves something to be desired, and his shooting is never going to be his strong point, but he has shown himself to be the 5M man we paid for.
3- Paul Robinson: Probably the most poorly received transfer of all time. The exit polls showed more negativity around the signing of Robbo than Megson taking over as manager. It was never going to be easy for the former West Brom hard-man. He was seen as ‘Megson’s boy’ and not fit to lace Samuel’s boots. However despite a few dodgy tackles, Robbo has proved a shrewd buy. He displaced ‘JLS’(not the band) from the team and made left back his own.
1- Chung Yong Lee: What a signing indeed. Nobody expected all that much from Lee on his debut season, but ever since he scored that goal at St Andrews he has gone from strength to strength. His flair and ability on the ball made him an instant hit with the Wanderers fans; he tired towards the end of the season, but now will look forward to starring in the World Cup.
2- Jack Wilshere: A fantastic bit of business by Coyle, exploiting his and Wenger’s mutual respect for each other to bring one of the hottest prospects in England to the Reebok. Wilshere is a certain future international. He can pick out passes we’ve not seen since Ivan Campo and Youri Djorkaeff were at the club.
3- Ivan Klasnic: Has been in and out of the team, and his fitness is always a question mark, but Ivan Klasnic is the most deadly finisher we’ve had at the club since Anelka. He will score goals at whatever level he plays at. Hopefully that level will be the Premier League with Bolton, if a summer deal can be agreed.
1- Johan Elmander: No real surprises for who was going to win this award. I don’t want to bad mouth Johan too much; there is clearly a decent player somewhere in him. His confidence is at an all-time low, he could never live up to the price-tag paid, and we will never see Johan Elmander at his best in a Bolton shirt. What would be best for both Bolton and Elmander would be for him to move on this summer.
2- Gretar Steinsson: Possibly a controversial one here, but I don’t think he has been at his best at all this season and Paul Robinson has outshone him on the other flank. He is decent going forward, and clearly cares about his job as a footballer, both on and off the pitch, expect better from him next season if he is going to keep his place.
3- Matty Taylor: Again, a difficult one. Matty is our 2nd top scorer, it is difficult to criticise someone who is clearly effective. But Taylor has struggled a lot this season. He is going to struggle to hold down a place next season if Coyle wants to play a decent brand of football, because despite his conversion rate from set-plays, his overall game is one step behind others in our midfield.
Player of the Season
1- Fabrice Muamba: Stunning season for Fab. He has proven the doubters wrong, and if he could improve his passing, would not look out of place in the holding role in the England team.
2- Chung Yong Lee: Was difficult to pick between Fab and Lee but Muamba tipped Lee on consistency. Still, for a debut season the ‘Korean Messi’ looks like one hell of a bargain and hopefully a Wanderers key player for years to come.
3- Gary Cahill: It is easy to forget about GC. He had an up and down last few months after recovering from a bad injury. However the form he was displaying before his injury would have been good enough to walk any player of the year award, and should have earned him an England cap. Whether he is with us or not next season, GC will be a commanding presence in the Premier League and for England for years to come.
Those are the Bolton Wanderers ESPN Soccernet awards for the 2009-10 season. Whilst we can’t splurge out on an impressive banquet and trophies we do have a comments box below, feel free to leave a message, offer an opinion on who you thought should have won the above categories.
Next stop, South Africa.