very own Hayley McQueen and Manish Bhasin, the host of the BBC’s Football League Show, the awards took place last week with players, managers, clubs, supporters and unsung heroes being rewarded for their achievements and commitment.
There were a number of very worthy winners but we believe a few more awards should be added to the list. In this week’s podcast Lynsey, Kait and Hayley discussed who they would like to see as Surprise Package of the Year, Homegrown Talent of the Year and The Golden Handshake of the Year and here’s a breakdown of who they nominated:
Surprise Package of the Year
For this award, Hayley nominated Championship side and promotion chasers, Burnley FC. The Clarets are unbeaten at home this season and have only lost three games this term, scoring 59 goals along the way.
Lynsey also picked a Championship side in AFC Bournemouth. Eddie Howe returned to Dean Court and has worked wonders with The Cherries who are currently sitting pretty in 12th in the Championship. With ten games to go, this is an incredible achievement given they were promoted from League One last season.
Kait opted for League Two side and newly promoted Rotherham who sit fifth in League Two. The Millers could get back-to-back promotions and are on a 12 game unbeaten run.
Leicester’s Liam Moore, who made it onto the Young Player Shortlist at the actual awards, receives Hayley’s nomination for Homegrown Talent of the Year. The 21-year-old defender and life-long Foxes fan has played 28 times for his side this season and has set his sights on making up to 500 appearances for the club he signed for professionally in 2011.
Lynsey put forward Watford defender Lloyd Doyley who is the club’s longest serving player. Doyley has been playing at Vicarage Road for over 13 years, making 21 Premier League appearances for The Hornets in 2006/2007. The 31-year-old has made over 400 appearances in all competitions since 2001 and remains a vital player for the Championship side.
Kait again delved into League Two to find her homegrown talent in Rochdale’s Scott Hogan. Hogan only turned professional last year when he returned to Rochdale after being released in 2011. The 21-year-old spent the years in between working hard in the non-league game and is now repaying Rochdale’s confidence in him, having scored 19 goals this season.
Our Golden Handshake Award is designed to reward a long-standing representative at a club, player or not, who has made themselves indispensable.
Bournemouth’s former striker Steve Fletcher played an incredible 728 times for the club over 18 seasons. Fletcher still works at the club behind the scenes and was the first recipient of the Sir Tom Finney award at the FLA’s. If Hayley had her way, he would be the recipient of The Offside Rule Pod’s Golden Handshake Award.
Lynsey thinks an entire club should win the award! Barnsley may be struggling this season but they have done an incredible job to escape relegation over the last few seasons, having spent more seasons in the second tier than any other club – this last stint has spanned 8 seasons already.
Brentford’s Kevin O’Connor is Kait’s choice for this award. Although blighted by injury over the past few seasons, he spent nine consecutive seasons before that notching up over 30 matches each season. The Bees’ captain, who penned a new one-year contract last week that will see him enter his 16th season with the club, is closing in on 500 games for the League One side.
What other clubs and players do you believe deserve the special Offside Rule Podcast awards?
Episode 30 of The Offside Rule Podcast (We Get It!) Football League Special is available to listen to on our Audioboo page.