By Guest Contributor Brian Knapp
2009-2010 Gary Neville Award for Worst Passing
Being a Liverpool fan can be excruciating at times. It’s particularly difficult watching a team go from breaking the league record for most points earned while coming in second last year, to a team that struggles to complete consecutive passes. This award could easily have gone to a favorite Manchester City midfielder, yet I felt it better to award not one single poor passer but the whole conglomerate that is Liverpool’s midfield. Javier Mascherano, Lucas Leiva, Dirk Kuyt and whoever the sucker is that had to play with them that match, i.e. Benayoun, Babel, Rodriguez, Gerrard, Aquilani… I often look at Mascherano as a pre-teen adolescent with ADHD. When he gets the ball, he becomes so excited that he doesn’t actually know what he’s going to do with it. Thus leading to him losing the ball and tracking down the next unfortunate player on the other team. God bless his tireless work rate and two footed, red card tackles. His passing still leaves a lot to be desired. Lucas could also be up for a number of other awards including Worst Face and Worst Overall Ability, but being lumped in with the whole of Liverpool’s midfield, gives him the same slack that the fat Spanish waiter gives him each week after his poor performances. Which brings us to Dirk Kuyt. Kuyt is more or less the engine of the team. His tireless blue-color hustle helps inspire the team. But let’s be honest if the engine of a nice car isn’t as good as advertised, the truth is it’s a shitty car. And that sums up Liverpool’s season. They’ve performed about as well as a brand new, shiny…KIA.
2009-2010 Gary Neville Award for Worst Whining
It’s always a challenge narrowing down the final winner for each category and 2009-2010 was no exception. It was another stellar year for whining, bitching, complaining and throwing temper tantrums around the world of football. This year’s award goes to Manchester City and Santos FC’s forward, Robinho. A constant critic of his managers and teammates, Robinho also managed to be part of one of the funnier moments in football this season, by being brought on as a substitute and off again in the same match. This led to more of his incessant bitching and eventual move back to Brazil where he could do endless step-overs without the threat of being flattened by real defenders.
2009-2010 Gary Neville Award for Worst Coordination
“Worst Cordination you say? But these are professional football players. How could they have poor coordination?” It’s a question non-Korean’s ask themselves every time they turn on a Manchester United match and are unlucky enough to see Korea’s #1 Best-Hero-Man-Highting!, Park Ji-Sung. In South Korea, he is known as “The Oxygen Tank” or “Three-Lung Park” for his ability to run industriously from 18 to 18. Everywhere that is not South Korea, he is often referred to as Park Ji-Slip or “잠수함“ “submarine” for his remarkable falling and diving abilities. Usually you can credit an Italian or South American footballer for their fantastic ability to fall when it doesn’t look remotely possible, but this year Park Ji-Sung has brought home another award for all Koreans to be intolerably proud of.
2009-2010 Gary Neville Award for Worst Hair
This award can be picked up annually by Portsmouth goalkeeper David James, however last summer’s passing away of Michael Jackson caused a change not only in pop music but also in football. It was not simply the death of the King of Pop, but it was at that time that the jheri-curl was officially retired. Unfortunately Manchester United’s midfielder, Nani, did not get the memo. While made extremely popular by Michael and his white glove in the 1980s, Nani continues to sport this greasy look all around England. A close second place was Liverpool’s Sotirios Kyrgiakos who has been known to have watched Frank Miller’s “300” over 1000 times and reverted back to the hairstyle of his Greek ancestors.
2009-2010 Gary Neville Award for Worst Face
Carlos Tevez. Scar or no scar.
2009-2010 Gary Neville Award for Worst Transfer (retrospective)
Many players under the rein of Rafa Benitez are very capable of taking this award. However, there is one player who has been more active over the past few transfer periods than a brothel in South Korea. That lucky man is Robbie Keane. After making his dream move from Tottenham to Liverpool in the summer of 2008, Keane did everything he could, to regularly miss gifted chances on goal and make a speedy return to White Hart Lane. Once again back at the helm of good ol’ Harry, Keane was re-established as captain where he continued to perform like a lowly Middlesbrough player. After realizing their dear captain may be out of his prime, the Spurs once again decided it was time to give Robbie a chance to excel on a level more fit for him; The Scottish Premier League. Thus keeping a consistent streak of 3 transfers on the trot with an inevitable return from loan to Tottenham in the next window making it a solid 4 for 4. My hat goes off to you Robbie Keane. You made almost as many transfers as you did goals for Liverpool.
And the 2009-2010 Gary Neville award for Worst Overall Ability goes to none other than Shaun Wright-Phillips. SWP has once again shocked the world with his incredible lack of footballing ability. The real question however is how he continues to be employed as a professional footballer. It’s been rumoured that due to his staggeringly short stature, managers and fans have often felt the need to sympathize with him. Fans and managers tend to close their eyes to SWP’s forgetfulness, both in dribbling and remembering the colour jersey his team is wearing. Falling out of grace with Manchester City, SWP looks ripe for the picking in the next transfer window. A dream move for him would be to join other washed up professionals in the SPL or possibly Middlesbrough. One can’t count out the chance of him looking to reunite with his undersized relatives from the land of OZ.