Toon Army goes belly up

Newcastle fans end the season with three awards in the <em>New Statesman's</em> star-studded prizegi

Haircut of the Year

At last, after three years in which this award has not been given, gathering dust in a corner ever since Becks decided to go legit, and I mean that very sincerely, we have two excellent contenders. Marouane Fellaini of Everton, with his big hair, has done wonders for the Goodison wig industry. Special mention, in the beard subsection, must be made of Jonathan Greening of West Brom. Oh, if only he would go the whole hog and have the full beard . . . but perhaps he’ll have more time in the Championship to concentrate on it. But the winner is Florent Malouda of Chelsea. What imagination, what craft, what the hell is it – an Ena Sharples hairnet, a tea cosy, a topknot, or what? Definitely best in show.

Best Fans

Newcastle United’s, stripping off in all weathers, showing us their manly bellies, singing their little hearts out – when their team all season has been total shite.

Worst Fans

Newcastle United’s. Why didn’t they keep their big bellies quiet? They are to blame, oh yes, for getting rid of Big Sam, who might well have saved them, then later they got their way when the latest messiah was signed, Le Shearer.

Surprise Millwall Fan of the Season

In the crowd during the final play-off at Wembley, cheering on Millwall, who but Daniel Day-Lewis, sporting a pork-pie hat, showing he is a real geezer. Goodness, never knew he liked football, far less Millwall. Then I remembered that many years ago I went to interview his dad, Cecil Day-Lewis, the Poet Laureate, then living with his family in Crooms Hill, Greenwich. Very posh, but closet Millwall territory for sensitive lads wanting street cred.

Best Quote

“The manager needs someone of that elk.” – Brian Marwood, Sky TV.

Most Popular Clichés

“Who will step up to the plate?” Said when nothing much is happening. The other one is: “Will this be the turning point?” Said also when nothing much has happened but the commentator is trying hard to flam up a missed chance, a dodgy decision.

Back from the Dead

Gomes, the Spurs goalie, ridiculed and humiliated early doors, but came back to enjoy a typically excellent Spurs season, ie, average, middling, piddling.

Disappeared – Could Be Dead

Deco – what happened to him? Gone off with Scolari, remember him, to deepest South America?

Missing – Possibly Gone for Ever

Wingers. Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, Everton, all operate without a proper winger. Man United, in theory, have one, Ronaldo, but he has been used to best effect cutting in, or playing in the middle as a striker. An endangered species?

Best Placard Seen in Crowd

“Alan Shearer – Football Genius.” And no, it wasn’t satirical, but held up by a Newcastle fan.

Most Banal Remark from So-called Expert

“He works what we call ‘the channels’.” – Graham Taylor.

Players Done Well

Towards the end of the season I sensed that at long last a bit more respect has crept in towards refs and their fellow pros. They haven’t been stupidly protesting as much, haranguing the ref, nor kicking lumps, squaring up, losing it. Even Wayne has seemed quite human.

So Much to Look Forward to

Long, boring summer to get through, how will I cope, except for the Under-21s? But then we’re into a brave new season which will culminate in the World Cup.

Hunter Davies’s column returns in September

Hunter Davies is a journalist, broadcaster and profilic author perhaps best known for writing about the Beatles. He is an ardent Tottenham fan and writes a regular column on football for the New Statesman.

This article first appeared in the 01 June 2009 issue of the New Statesman, Big Brother