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Spotkick’s Alternative Awards of the Month: January

UEFA Champions League

Episode Five: February can only mean one thing; Champions League/Elections/Valent…(NO!!)

Aren’t we insatiable, we lot? January previously takes three years to reach 31 days, something we complained about. Then this January goes 1,2,3456….22; suddenly it’s going too fast. Then it slows again, we’re still not satisfied. Almost like we’re a Portuguese football manager who’s happy to talk to a sports broadcasting network in Asia about how he was undermined in his previous job.

Little matter, Janvier has passed. Into the second month of the year, which involves Champions League football, a day people go to great lengths to show they don’t care about, the chance to vote in who’ll oversee our national regression for the next four upcoming Februaries, and pretend to know about American Football for at least one night.

But all those pale in comparison to the most important event of the month, handing out the prizes for last month.

The Thank-goodness-for-the-offside-flag Award for Miss That Might Have Been

Alvaro Morata was always going to end up here one way or another, and the Spaniard’s miss from some two yards in the FA Cup win over Nottingham Forest ( a game in which he scored twice, not that that matters). Either him or Brighton’s young Viktor Gyokeres in another FA Cup game, against West Brom. Speaking of Brighton…

The Football-Manager-regen Award for Best Discovered Name

Brighton’s new signing, from Argentinos Juniors, who was loaned back to the same club… ALEXIS MAC ALLISTER.

Best Substitution

More on that Chelsea-Forest game, where midway through the second period, Forest brought on Joe Lolley for Matty Cash, or Forest made a ‘Lolley for Cash’ swap.

Most Remorseful Ex

Monaco, re-appointing Leonardo Jardim, less than three months after sacking him. But they have nothing on Villarreal, who sacked manager Javier Calleja in December, then re-appointed him 50 days later. ‘I know it’s not normal, that it doesn’t feel right, but Fernando Roig does the opposite of everyone else’, said Villarreal president Fernando Roig afterwards. Both boards probably listened to Lana Del Rey’s ‘Dark Paradise’.

Player of the Month

Oldham’s Peter Clarke, who, in an FA Cup game against Doncaster Rovers, scored for his team, scored an own goal, made a goal-line clearance, caused a penalty, and also got sent off. Brilliant.

Manager of the Month

Millwall’s Neil Harris, who, after the Lions scored a late winner in their FA Cup game against Everton with what seemed like a clear handball, was urging the stadium not to show the goal replay on the scoreboard. Speaking of scoreboards…

Best Scoreboard

Oh Heartland…

Oh Heartland!!!!!

Administrative Masterstroke of the Month

UEFA, whose Executive Committee re-opened investigations into Paris St. Germain’s Qatari supremo Nasser El Khelaifi over bribery allegations, appointed Khelaifi into said Executive Committee, as those investigations continued. Perhaps they’re trying to get him to let his guard down. See? Masterstroke.

Managerial Masterstroke of the Month

Neil Lennon, who left Scottish Club Hibernian. Seems normal, huh? Yes, except Lennon had a previous suspension of him by the club lifted, and has neither been sacked nor resigned; he just left. Masterstroke.

The I-Can’t-Come-and-Kill-Myself Award for Putting Things in Perspective

Kada City manager Usman Adams, after their side’s 3-2 defeat to Heartland: ‘Thank God we were not disgraced’. Small victories.

The Captain-Raymond-Holt Award for Vindication

Real Madrid manager, Santiago Solari, who spoke about not underestimating the value of draws. Fans were irked, and voiced their disapproval. Then Real lost their next game.

The Lois-Lane Award for Investigative Journalism

Sky, who presumed a stranger in the stands was Huddersfield’s new manager Jan Siewert and wanted to have a word or two.

Alternative Facts of the Month

Rio Ferdinand’s statements over Mike Ashley’s tenure as Newcastle owner. Which brings us to…

Philosopher of the Month

Richard Keys, who pointed out that Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez should demonstrate his love for the Toon by pumping his money into the club. Just to clarify, Benitez’s money, not Keys’.

Signing of the Month

Jordan Lukaku, whom Newcastle agreed a deal for on a temporary basis from Lazio, and that resulted in Toon fans making some creative alterations to his Wikipedia page, only for the deal to fall through.

Villain of the Month

Marcelo Bielsa, who admitted to sending spies to watch every Championship opponent this season, the sort of despicable thing that hurts no one, isn’t illegal, and is done by everyone. Well, not everyone…

Most Humble

Maurizio Sarri, when asked about the Bielsa furore and whether he’s done such before, responded: ‘no, because I don’t have a very good spy’.

Biggest Disappointment

Manchester City, for either having the audacity to score nine goals in a football match against a team two leagues below them, or not having the bottle to make it 10.

The Jolly-Powered Stat of the Month

James Milner has received two red cards in his career, both as a result of fouls on Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha. The latest one he received came from referee Jon Moss, Milner’s former PE teacher.

Joey Pelupessy played 68 minutes for Sheffield Wednesday in an FA Cup game at Chelsea, and managed 10 touches, less than Jorginho who played 10 minutes.

Bournemouth beat Chelsea 4-0 on January 30, 2019, 364 days after beating them 3-0 on January 31, 2018.

Three-way tie here.

Irony of the Month

This is hardly any secret, but for anyone who doesn’t know, Norwich City and Ipswich Town are bitter East Anglian rivals. So, it seemed appropriate that when Norwich released a book on their rivalry, titled ‘Bragging Rights’, the foreword was written by former Norwich boss Paul Lambert, who now manages Ipswich.

The Jose-Mourinho Award for Biggest Motivator

Damien Duff, a member of Celtic’s coaching staff, who pointed out that young players of this age are soft, and how back in his day (he played in the Premier League in 2014, mind), he’d give anything to play, even running over his own grandmother. Question: What would he, if given the chance, have done to win?

In Conclusion: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is nothing but a genius, the Jonathan-Wilson scoring-too-early voodoo is real, Claude Puel will be sacked/not-be-sacked/sacked/not-be-sacked, every Nigerian Professional Football League manager has the Almighty has their assistant, and Bayern Munich, gulp, may not win the Bundesliga!

Another presidential aspirant has pulled out?


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