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Alex McLeish, James Milner and Barry Ferguson scoop our end of season awards - THE MIDLANDER

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27 May 2010 15:01:20

Alex McLeish, James Milner and Barry Ferguson scoop our end of season awards - THE MIDLANDER

It's that time of year again. The good, bad and Robbie Savage of Midlands' football over the past season is re-produced for you to agree or disagree with as you see fit. Enjoy!  BEST GAMEOut of those that I saw, both Championship play-off semi-finals were crackers but for all-round incident, the first east Midlands derby at the City Ground takes the biscuit. Best game: Fireworks exploded in the clash between bitter rivals Nottingham Forest and Derby, as seen here when a crowd of Forest players confront James McEveley A first minute goal from 30 yards, Forest on fire then the Rams on the rampage. The two management teams clearly dislike each other as do the players. Nathan Tyson tops it off by sparking a melee at the end. I shouldn't write this: Great stuff. WORST GAMEWolves v Stoke City. Thirty thousand people should have had their  money back. Absolutely nothing to commend it. BEST DECISIONAlex McLeish - keeping faith with Joe Hart after Maik Taylor had deputised so well for Birmingham against Manchester City last November. A gaffe in the game previous to that, against Sunderland, had raised the possibility of  Taylor keeping his place. McLeish kept faith with Hart. And how it paid off. WORST DECISIONCannot split these three - so all of them are getting a  mention. First, the manner of Tony Mowbray's defection from West Brom. Asking for loyalty from his players following relegation and thenwhere's Tony gone? Worst decision: Carling Cup final referee Phil Dowd should have sent Nemanja Vidic off after awarding Gabriel Agbonlahor a penalty at Wembley Secondly, the Premier League's criticism of Wolves over Mick McCarthy's team  selection at Old Trafford was just blatantly and horribly unfair. They should revoke the suspended fine immediately. Thirdly, Phil Dowd, Carling Cup final. Wembley. If it's a penalty, Nemanja Vidic has to go. THE 'THANK GOODNESS THAT ONE WORKED' AWARDMick McCarthy for his multi-change at Old Trafford. Victory over Burnley was the only justification that was going to stem howls of derision from the world outside football. And his players delivered. Good for him. Funniest moment: Mick McCarthy found Arsene Wenger's 'hypocrite' jibe highly amusing I WISH I'D BEEN THERE WHENMartin O'Neill chased after Arsene Wenger in the tunnel at Villa Park minutes after the Frenchman accused Villa of being a long-ball side. Mr O'Neill was not a happy bunny, oh no. BIGGEST PR GAFFECarson Yeung turning up at Birmingham City and saying he was going to spend untold millions by the end of this summer. FUNNIEST MOMENTMick McCarthy falling off his chair laughing during a press conference after learning that Arsene Wenger had called him a hypocrite. BEST INTERVIEWRobbie Savage prior to the FA Cup Fifth Round tie against Birmingham City at Pride Park. He has finally got the hang of self-deprecation (I know it's difficult to believe, but he has). MOST VALUABLE PLAYERIn monetary terms at this precise moment, it has to be James Milner. Whatever he eats, I want some. He doesn't stop. Fantastic energy all season. PLAYER-OF-THE-SEASONBarry Ferguson. Brings a calmness to Birmingham City's midfield that has not been seen for a couple of generations. Player of the year: Barry Ferguson was a cut above the rest in Birmingham's midfield this season Mark Ward and Peter Shearer did it in Division Three but this boy is the real deal. Didn't  waste a pass until February. For the record, Richard Dunne faded towards the  end and James Milner is feted elsewhere. THAT BOY DESERVES A SUMMER HOLIDAYKevin Doyle. Absolutely worked himself to a standstill for Wolves. In fairness, most of them did. There are teams with bucketloads' more ability than Mick McCarthy's lot, but none with more heart. THEY SAY THERE'S NO NEW STORIES IN FOOTBALL, BUT (PART I)Self-declared BNP voter Wayne Brown and Leicester City proved otherwise a couple of weeks ago. Unbelievable. THEY SAY THERE'S NO NEW STORIES IN FOOTBALL, BUT (PART II)Sven, Sol, Notts  County. BEST GOALCameron Jerome. Anfield. November. Stood minding my own business in a pub near Solihull and never seen a reaction quite like it. 'Disbelief' is the word that springs to mind.  Best goal: Cameron Jerome's strike at Anfield last November was a scorcher ONE-FOR-THE-FUTUREJack Hobbs at Leicester City. Looks the part. Interesting  to see whether he can step up in years to come. I'm also going to mention West Brom's Graham Dorrans. No question about his ability but does he do the work going the other way? Cannot help but think he reminds me of Jason Koumas. This season will tell us. THAT ONE SNEAKED UNDER THE RADARWest Brom's promotion under Roberto di Matteo. It may be the Baggies' fourth in the past decade but it's still worthy of a mention. The only problem is, it's difficult to rate him for an award. Di Matteo is a head coach, not manager. Dan Ashworth is widely-acknowledged as identifying the talent. Got it? Thought not. PROMISED SO MUCH BUTNottingham Forest's second-half to the season. Their romp at the Hawthorns was the best performance I had seen from a Championship team since Jean Tigana's Fulham absolutely dismantled a half-decent Birmingham City side over a decade ago. Paul McKenna has been the best player in the  division during that decade and I cannot help but think his absence through  injury caused Forest's eventual decline. Well done to Billy Davies, though. It's been a long time since Nottingham Forest have reached such lofty heights. BIG SURPRISELeicester City. Nigel Pearson is a man's man. No messing. I think he, like McLeish, may be destined for greater things. Milan Mandaric needs to keep Mr Pearson sweet. It took him a long time to find a manager to lick his club into shape. Now he needs to make sure that he keeps hold of him. Sorting out the promised new contract would be a start. NEXT YEAR IS A BIG YEAR FORNigel Clough. Thirty thousand Derby fans deserve more than mid-table this season. Those punters really have made football sit up  and take notice of them since that year in the Barclays Premier League. Big year ahead: Nigel Clough must revive Derby's fortunes in 2010/11 Fingers crossed because Mr Clough is one of the good guys (just don't tell that to Billy Davies). COVENTRY CITY AWARDThey need a mention because I feel for the fans. One top ten finish now in a decade. Not nearly enough to shout about, despite all the financial problems. And the appointment of Aidy Boothroyd has led to one less season-ticket holder taking up a seat next season. Yes, Mrs Moxley has had enough. After 20 years her resistance has been broken. No fair-weather fan, she. Save for Kieren Westwood and Sammy Clingan there is a dearth of quality in that squad. Ray Ranson's spin-doctors are putting out the line that the new  manager will be given every assistance necessary. Believe it when I see it. Best of British, Aidy. Championship football at the Ricoh in 2011-12 will be a success. Best manager: Alex McLeish worked wonders to achieve a top ten finish for Birmingham BEST MANAGERAlex McLeish. Birmingham City ninth? Having spent £10m?  Incredible. Honorable mentions to Messers O'Neill, McCarthy, Di Matteo, Davies  and Pearson but the club's best league finish for 51 years was way above and  beyond for the Scot. MOST WELCOME INVITATIONTo Mick McCarthy's post-season de-brief. In a spit-and-sawdust boozer in Pennfields, Wolverhampton. A game of pool, a big screen showing Atletico Madrid versus Liverpool and as much curry and beer as any man can throw down his neck. To top it all, I won at 'Killer.'* Big Mick stood it for the rest. Quite simply, the way it should be done. *Indicates that winnings were donated to the bar staff!   Zigic completes £6m Birmingham move as giant striker pens four-year dealTottenham eye £7m move for Villa flop Davies and seek talks with ModricStephen Ward agrees new deal to stay at Wolves until 2013'Ambitious' Cotterill set for Pompey after walking out on Notts County


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