In time-honoured fashion, as 2015 draws to a close it’s time for a review of the year’s events on and off the pitch. An extraordinary year in so many ways, here’s my selection from A-Z.
A is for Anfield. OK, it was the fag end of the crumbling Rodgers Empire but a fine point gained with Russell Martin’s dash from birth witnessing to goal scoring being such a great story.
B is for Bradley. Lots of love still out there for the 2014/15 PoTS despite that silly bun hairstyle and transfer to Derby City. Personally, I thought it was the right choice – the transfer, not the hairstyle.
C is for Chairman. Ed ‘bruiser’ Balls took up the hot seat to a somewhat mixed reaction judging by comments to Mick Dennis’ piece of last week. Whatever your colour of politics, Balls is a smart cookie and has yellow and green in the veins. He has a tough and successful act to follow but time will be his judge.
D is for disaster. A number of calamitous individual clangers in the first half of the 2015/16 season which cost us being five or six points better off. It’s done, they are history… hopefully.
E is for executive (chief). David McNally has been accused of many things but for spotting Alex Neil’s talents and persuading him to travel south, we must all give due respect. Now David, just loosen those purse strings just a little.
F is for Fulham. The nemesis, the bogey, the pain in the arse – finally vanquished.
G is for goalkeepers. Ruddy or Rudd – separated by just one letter but the latter having finally grabbed his chance to make that awful grey and pink kit his own. Big John is not finished though.
H is for hang ups. As in, personal and perennial prodding of certain players. Futile I know, but please stop it.
I is for Ipswich. Beloved neighbours consigned to yet another season in the second tier. What a great month May was!
J is for journey. From 12th in the Championship to nailing one in the van Gaal-regime coffin. It’s been emotional.
K is for killer instinct. Often a missing ingredient – something that must be shown more over the next 19 games.
L is for Lafferty. Lanky Irish enigma who could star in France but hasn’t found favour with the ‘Bellshill bulldog’. Expect bags to be packed shortly.
M is for murder. Practically what Arsene Wenger accused our boy Bennett of as he ‘eased’ Alexis Sanchez into the now fabled camera-pit of doom.
N is for Neil. Arise Sir Alex – phenomenal effort to get us up and get us to the fabled 20 point mark by year end in the big boys’ league. Has made mistakes, took them on his square chin and come back stronger and even more impressive.
O is for oh dear. The reaction to that deckchair/windbreaker design of a third kit. Still yet to make its Premier premier… thank God. (I like it. GG 🙂)
P is for pigeon. Howson’s mercy mission in the heat of battle at the Boleyn ground was a warming glint of inter-special altruism in the cut throat hurly burly of the Premier League.
Q is for queasy. The ups and the downs of following this club. Sometimes great, sometimes painful, never, ever dull.
R is for rotation. Sensible use of squad or indication of manager’s uncertainty over best 11? You decide.
S is for sitter. As in missed. Our strikers haven’t caught fire in a Vardy or Ighalo-type way since August but by crikey they’ve worked their socks off in their own ‘distinctive’ ways. Best is yet to come.
T is for Tettey’s toe-poke. Intentional or not, the naughty Norwegian’s annual contribution to the goals for column will live long in the memory for its uniqueness and importance.
U is for unrealistic. As in expectations from some from the Crystal Palace defeat onwards. I predicted a 12th-15th finish in May. Surely, we’d all settle for that as a platform for progress?
V is for value for money. OK, those trips to Watford and Southampton may have tested the most patient of travelling fan, but we’re in there swinging where it matters.
W is for Wembley. Cue tear in the eye time.
X is for x-rated. I wasn’t there but suspect that half-time team talk against Everton turned the air a crisp shade of blue.
Y is for Yellow Army. Good times? Yes. Bad times? Hell, yes. Always there in strength? A given.
Z is for zooming… up that table hopefully for a safe and painless mid-table finish.
I look forward to hearing your selections.
Happy New Year.
Andy B says
Nice piece to end the year and I’m sure everyone would have their own variation on these. For me i would substitute “B” and “C” for Blistering start and Crisp efficiency. Both terms used by the Sky commentator to describe Redmonds goal at Wembley. A day none of us will ever forget.
Happy New Year
Stewart Lewis says
A fine selection, Russ, bringing back all the emotions of a remarkable year.
Everyone will have their own suggestions. Bradley certainly deserves the affectionate recognition he gets in your list – for me, that winning goal at Blackburn was a big moment in the season – but it’s a shame that C or J couldn’t have given to Jerome. His 20 goals, including the opener as part of a MOTM performance at Wembley, were decisive – and he’s continued to give his all for us in the top division. Not bad for £1.5m.
2015 was the year of Alex Neil. As a reflection of his special qualities, perhaps S could have been Seb – a player I never thought we’d see in Canary colours again, offered a clean slate by AN (with a rather graphic threat if he didn’t take it).
In the same vein, how about K for Karanka? The difference between the home defeat to Boro in April and the glorious revenge in May speaks volumes about AN and why we have to keep him. And defeat for Karanka? It couldn’t have happened to a more deserving candidate.
Quite a year.
Thankfully I can’t see ruddy displacing Rudd unlike you. Rudd is the modern keeper – thin, agile and springy whereas ruddy is a throwback to the Neville Southall or Dave beasant era. Wembley tho…oh how I loved Wembley. Its def up there with the toe poke.
Russell S. says
So many other possibilities..G is for Grabban, C is for Congo(DR) – my newly adopted international side, M is for mascot dance off…
Will 2016 get anywhere near?
Gary – look forward to seeing you in that 3rd kit!
Wembley was amazing, but watching Bradley pile-drive the ball into the back of the Ipswich net was one of the most satisfying moments in the entire year for me.
Stewart Lewis says
Boyd (5) – can’t disagree with that. I’m sure we were right to sell him (the money certainly helps us with CB and striker purchases now), but he left us some fantastic memories. Another would his goal celebration right in front of us at Brighton.
H shouldn’t be wasted on hang ups. Surely it has to stand for Hoolahan. The mighty atom goes from strength to strength and his creativity & vision is a joy to behold. He seems to be enjoying yet another renaissance under Alex Neil.