. . . MATT JARVIS . . . who else?
The Steve Bull award for Player of the Season
Winner: Matt Jarvis
Nominees: Jarvis, O’Hara, Elokobi, Henry, Fletcher
This year it wasn’t even close. Matt Jarvis was absolutely outstanding from the first game of the season to the last. His call-up for England, the first Wolves man to claim the honour since Bully in 1990, filled us all with pride but it was his wing play week-in week-out that won him the gong. Seeing him against Manchester United was a particular highlight. He was slaughtering the young and quick Rafael so Sir Alex brought on the tough and reliable Gary Neville. Matt then duly murdered him too. O’Hara was brilliant for us this season and a major reason why we stayed up. He misses out on the award though because he was only with us for the last five months of the campaign. Fletcher too has been outstanding in recent weeks but he missed out due to the long wait he had to endure before taking his chance in the starting line-up. We started the season thinking we were without a quality left-back but George Elokobi made the position his own after a shaky start. For the last six months he was been solid defensively and has chipped in with a couple of goals. Captain Karl Henry deserves a mention too. Not the most gifted of players but never gave less than 100 per cent across the whole season.
The Robbie Keane award for Newcomer of the Season
Nominees: Fletcher, Hammill, O’Hara
Again this award could have been O’Hara’s but I’m looking for performance across the whole season. Fletcher cost big money but despite limited appearances in the first half of the season, he ended up in double figures and as the club’s top scorer. Hammill played his part on the wing at one stage of the season so is worth a mention here too. Other new lads failed to make any real impact.
The George Ndah award for Goal of the Season
Winner: O’Hara v West Brom
Nominees: O’Hara v West Brom, Jones v Stoke, Ebanks-Blake v Newcastle, Jarvis v Villa
The season started with a goal worthy of winning this competition. Henry flicked a free kick to Jones and he volleyed it over the wall to open the scoring against Stoke. The next contender also came in August when Ebanks-Blake outmuscled Perch and volleyed home against Newcastle. Jarvis entered his name to the shortlist with the driving volley across Brad Friedel against Villa in March. But the winner has got to be O’Hara because not only was his goal, a scooped shot in to the top corner after a cleverly worked free-kick on the edge of the box, a peach which showed great skill, it was also against the old enemy.
The Sir Jack Hayward award for Quote of the Season
Winner: Mick McCarthy
Nominees: McCarthy, McCarthy, McCarthy, McCarrthy
Nobody comes close to the gaffer for quotes and could you pick any one of him press conferences and find a gem. The one I particularly liked was his play on Monty Python when asked why his team were winning the big games but failing to get points out of the lower-ranked sides. He answered: “What's the wing-speed velocity of the American swallow."
The Bob Taylor award for Bogeyman of the Season
Winner: Mark Hughes
Nominees: Hughes, Dempsey, Murphy
It’s hard to estimate exactly how much damage Fulham did to us at Craven Cottage at the start of the season. The first 45 minutes were pretty clean but there was the unfortunate incident of Zamora breaking his leg following a (fair) tackle from Henry. In the second half though, tempers flared on both sides. There were some bad tackles yes but Dempsey in particular behaved disgracefully by throwing himself on the ground at every opportunity. We ended up with a red card and a load of yellows – some of which were fair, some of which were not. Oh and we lost the game with a goal in the 91st mnute. After that we had the suspension of Berra to deal with, the lost point in a campaign when every one was crucial and something unquantifiable – the knack of losing points in the dying minutes of games. If matches ended after 87 minutes, Wolves would have had seven more points this season. Bad guy number two was Danny Murphy who publicly suggested Wolves were a dirty side after the match. It was rubbish of course but Henry took the bait and against Wigan, after being told not to shy out of tackles, he put in a terrible one and got a straight red. We lost the game against a big rival and the captain was suspended. Hughes gets the award though for being the boss in the first game when so much damage was done and also making an inspired substitution at Molineux after being banded to the stands which rescued a point for his side when we were desperate for wins.
It has been an incredible campaign packed with exhilarating highs and painful lows. But that’s why we love life in the top flight, that’s why we love football and that’s why we love Wolves.
Roll on next season.
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