THE MIDLANDER: The good, the bad and the ugly: 2009 Midlands' awards
It's that time of year, folks. The Midlands' football awards. Totally unfair and unsolicited. Purely personal. But here goes as I look back - and forward to the new decade.... Best moveSky Sports' presenter Matt Lorenzo, who went into Notts County as Head of Communications, took one look and got the heck out of there. Inside a week. Worst moveSol Campbell, Notts County. 'Nuf said. Fling: Sol Campbell made a hasty exit from Notts County Best signing You could mount an argument for any of a quartet at St Andrew's. For me, Stephen Carr just edges out Lee Bowyer, Barry Ferguson and Roger Johnson. Outside the right-backs boasted by the top four, there's not a better one in the Premier League at the moment. Carr's effect on the promotion-winning team means he edges out Richard Dunne, too. I hope Paul McKenna (Nottingham Forest) is competing for next year's award. Vastly under-rated. More from Neil Moxley... THE MIDLANDER: Punishing McCarthy over selection is taking the Mick17/12/09 THE MIDLANDER: England boss Fabio Capello could do a lot worse than Birmingham's Roger Johnson in central defence08/12/09 THE MIDLANDER: Why Wolves would drop a howler by kicking out Mick McCarthy now03/12/09 THE MIDLANDER: It's only November but Wolves' derby date is a six-pointer19/11/09 THE MIDLANDER: Warning signs are ominous for Coventry as Coleman soldiers on12/11/09 THE MIDLANDER: Foxes boss makes players wear heart monitors to bed03/11/09 THE MIDLANDER: Time for Nigel Clough to emulate Old Big 'Ead after yet another boardroom upheaval at Derby County29/10/09 THE MIDLANDER: Di Matteo must wise up for West Brom to win promotion21/10/09 VIEW FULL ARCHIVEWorst signingLuke Moore. I know it wasn't this year. Biggest chumpMuch as I like him, West Brom's Roman Bednar for his drugs' brush. (What were you thinking, Roman?) My biggest mistakeWriting off Lee Bowyer. Ouch. Looks like I'll have to eat Pie (Humble) about Scott Dann, too. My biggest triumphAs predicted, I see Mr Clough has taken Robbie Savage under his wing. Love him, hate him, he is still an influence at Championship level. His book should make interesting reading this year, too. My maddest momentWaiting to see Martin O'Neill when Billy Davies phones up using his press officer's mobile to give me a mouthful. Tacky, unnecessary...and undeserved William. And all I'd said was that you were a good manager! Won't bother next time. Most pointless interviewIan 'Charlie' McParland. Asking McParland what his long-term plans were. Ditto Sol Campbell. Car crash momentTurning up at Birmingham Airport to be told that Villa had left most of their first-team at home for the Uefa Cup trip to Moscow. First press box I've been to in 20 years where they handed out blankets, too. The 300 fans who travelled out there earned their free dinner, believe me. It was very, very cold. All change: Zat Knight (right) tracks Vagner Love in Moscow Most bizarre momentWatching a bloke who was down on his luck approach Nigel Pearson at a football writers' lunch in Birmingham and ask him for some cash, without having the faintest idea who he was. To his credit, Leicester's boss handed over a fair few quid without a murmur. Nigel, Craig Shakespeare and Steve Walsh were a credit to their club that day. Thanks to all concerned. (Including Barclays, who footed the bill!) Scratching your head momentLovely lad, but Luke Young's decision to call time on his international career still baffles me. Biggest disappointmentTony Mowbray not finding it within him to say 'Thanks' to 3,000 West Brom fans who had donned Mowbray masks at Ewood Park, despite the Baggies' relegation, upon his unveiling at Celtic Park. Highly-rated: Gonzalo Jara Player most likely to leave club in 2010Nicky Shorey (Aston Villa) You'll just have to trust me on that one. Players to watch in 2010Brad Guzan (Villa), Gonzalo Jara (West Brom), Kelvin Wilson (Nottingham Forest),. Chris Wood (West Brom) is going to be a right handful if he keeps growing and improving, too. Keith Fahey (Birmingham) should be recognised by the Republic of Ireland, too. Lovely feet. Hopefully Sammy Clingan (Coventry City) will get some decent players around him, too. The lad can play. Most gobsmacking momentSven at Meadow Lane Most predictable storyNotts County fall Best Mick McCarthy quotes'I couldn't sleep, so I got up and varnished my garage door.' Mick goes big-time before Wolves secured promotion against QPR. 'We have been slapped about a bit.' Mick after two four-goal defeats against Arsenal and Chelsea. 'I hate this 'plucky losers' tag. It's like we are being patted patronisingly on the head and sent on our way down the M6. I don't like it. And I don't like losing.' Mick after Wolves tumbled out of the Carling Cup at Old Trafford. Best Martin O'Neill quote 'I haven't enjoyed a match in 20 years.' The Irishman greets Villa's record-breaking win at Manchester United. No fun: Martin O'Neill watches Ashley Young go past Patrice Evra at Old Trafford Best Alex McLeish quote'I've cooked the turkey on Christmas Day for 20-odd years now. First thing in the morning though, it's scrambled egg and smoked salmon. Oh, and a can of Irn Bru for the hangover.' Best Billy Davies quote'Is that you, Neil? You are a ******* ****.' Say hello to...Carson Yeung. Here's hoping you've brought your wallet with you, Carson. Wave goodbye to... David Sullivan, David Gold and Karren Brady. Do West Ham really understand what they are letting themselves in for? Let's hope the Hammers' fans bring their wallets with them, too. Managerial awardAlex McLeish. In January, punters were calling for his head following an awful show at Bloomfield Road. After earning promotion under the most intense pressure from his owners, McLeish now has Birmingham City going into Christmas one point ahead of Liverpool, despite only having spent £10m. Notable mentions for Messers O'Neill, McCarthy and Pearson, but 2009 belonged to the Scot. Predictions for 2010Villa win the Carling Cup but are pipped to top-four finish. Birmingham finish comfortably in mid-table, Wolves just survive. Forest to make automatic promotion, West Brom and Leicester scrap it out in the play-offs. Derby and Coventry live to fight another day too in the Championship. Clough and Coleman to stay in jobs and find some fairy-godfathers Most predictable story of 2010Billy Davies moaning about David Pleat/asking for a new contract. Sven leaving Notts County. And (hopefully) Pete Colley from Sky Sports getting caught doing a managerial impression by one of his subjects. Have a good one...
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