It’s awards season in football and we basically left out, so without further ado, here are the NNN Awards for 2014/15.
The five categories we have up for grabs are as follows: Player of the season, Goal of the season, Game of the season, Moment of the season and Best hair.
We’ve asked NNN contributors to give us their nominations and please feel free to add yours in the comments. Let’s go!
Player: Tom Heaton. He’s solidly backstopped the team this year and apart from Swansea at home it’s hard to think of a time he’s put a foot wrong. There’s a lot to be said for keeping 10 clean sheets in a relegation season and there’s a few games that could have been a lot worse without his efforts in goal – Arsenal at the Emirates to name one.
Goal: Scott Arfield against Chelsea in the opener. They’d been a lot of talk before the game of how we’d be unable to compete and how even the lessor sides would have a field day against us and how our players weren’t even top half of the Championship calibre, so to take the lead against Chelsea was a special moment that reinforced that belief that Burnley fans often have. While we went on to lose that game, against a side that even then looked like the champions in waiting, the goal was still a bright spot to look back on.
Game: Manchester City at home. They can only be one choice here and if things had worked out in subsequent games this would have been the one you looked back at and thought that’s where survival started. It was a magically game and to beat the reigning champions at that stage of the season was a massive lift to everyone and really gave hope that we’d be able to finish the job and stay up.
Moment: Danny Ings’ goal at Hull. For me they’d been a lot of unfair criticism directed to Danny for his effort and commitment to the cause, so to see the celebration and how much scoring that goal meant to him and the other players was special. Even though we would be relegated that day it showed that we weren’t going down with our heads down, we fought to the end and the players showed their passion in the moments following that goal.
Hair: George Boyd. Majestic. All the great wingers have long hair, David Ginola, Chris Eagles, Jean Louis Valois and George Boyd.
Player: Tom Heaton would be my choice. The most consistent performer from a strong pool of candidates, the Clarets’ stopper has been superb in every game and is largely responsible for our 10 clean sheets this season. Accurate and intelligent distribution, agile with great reactions and always looks good for a penalty save makes him stand out. Accountable for a good wedge of our points total this season.
Goal: Danny Ings’ header against Manchester United at Old Trafford. A goal befitting of such a stage, this goal showcased our two finest talents doing what they do best. Kieran Trippier’s willingness to get forward culminated in a typically sumptuous cross, while Ings’ movement led Chris Smalling astray in the penalty area. After creating a couple of yards of space, Ings demonstrated good agility to meet the ball and guide it home past David De Gea.
Game: Personally, seeing our maiden away victory of the season at Stoke was brilliant. Burnley showed two sides to their game that day; a killer instinct in front of goal and creativity in buckets courtesy of Ings and Michael Kightly respectively, before a resilient defence held firm in the face of a constant Stoke onslaught. The image of Stephen Ward throwing everything at each cross will stay with me for a long time.
Moment: Dean Marney’s injury in the home game against West Brom. 2-0 and seemingly cruising towards a valuable win, the midfielder’s injury was met with the collective groans of all Clarets fans. We will never know if Marney’s injury had an affect on our relegation and whether he could have helped stave off the drop, but we always felt a slightly weaker side in his absence. A turning point if ever there was one.
Hair: In a team full of conservative cuts and short backs and sides, it’s refreshing to see George Boyd’s long locks flow behind him as he flies down the wing. Perhaps costing him in speed and not the most aerodynamic of cuts, I think breaking the mould endears both Boyd and his hairstyle to Burnley fans. Expect replica wigs to adorn the walls of the club shop should be help lead us back to the Premier League.
Player: Jason Shackell – A fantastic leader who rarely looked out of his depth in the top flight. Surprised that he hasn’t got much recognition from further afield, but if it stops the vultures from circling we should count our blessings!
Goal: George Boyd (City at home) – One of those goals where you find yourself sat right in the line of the ball and just watch it fly in. Technically just perfect – and a goal which reignited the (sadly unfounded) belief that we could well stay up.
Game: Newcastle away (3-3) – It’s not often that you fall behind three times in one game and still feel disappointed not to come away with all three points. After losing three players to injury in the first 36 minutes, it was a magnificent battling performance which really highlighted the difference in the two clubs.
Moment: Ross Wallace equaliser (Leicester away) – There’s something particularly satisfying about watching a goalkeeper goad an opposition player just before the ball flies into the back of his net. The atmosphere at times in that second half was enough to make hairs stand on end. Wonderful afternoon.
Hair: Michael Duff – One of those lucky blokes who must sleep easy at night knowing they look better with grey hair anyway. Effortlessly cool. Our very own silver fox.
Player: For me this is a one horse race, Tom Heaton has been the most consistent player and has improved so much as the season has gone on. He has produced some really important saves and with the quality performances he started to produce, it gave the back four as a group some real confidence. Burnley’s best player and most prized asset that we need to keep hold of.
Goal: There were a few contenders for this, but George Boyd’s goal against City stands out. After a tough run of games, the pressure was on the lads to put in a performance and boy did they do that. After half time they picked up the pace, started to pick up second balls and Boyd was one who took advantage of that. It was one of the sweetest strikes you’ll see and one that deserves to be a matchwinner.
Game: My first adventure into the away end with my little lad was at the Etihad. Up against it in the first half and my little one fearing the worst, half time came with the fear of what will this end up. But Sean’s half time team talk must of been very inspiring as the boys were fantastic in the second half and produced one of the best comebacks of the season against one of the best teams. Big performance and a great end to 2014.
Moment: Monday 2nd February at 23.00 was the moment I felt deflated, let down and genuinely thought that the rest of the season was now going to be a massive struggle. After a frustrating time on the pitch throughout January and a tough run of fixtures coming up, it was imperative that we added quality to the squad. This for me was the moment that turned our season.
Best hair: George Boyd will not be winning this title. How the lads in the dressing room have never done anything to his barnet i’ll never know, because that hair is just asking for trouble.
Player: Tom Heaton, 10 clean sheets for a team who have been relegated is fantastic, plus an England call up. Who’d have thought that when we signed him?
Goal: Danny Ings v Man Utd for me. Showed the quality of our most prized assets. Trademark Trippier cross and a wonderful diving header from Ings.
Game: Stoke City away proved we weren’t going to be pushovers in this league. And a magnificent defensive display.
Moment: George Boyd v Man City at home. That game and that goal will be in all Claret memories for years to come.
Hair: ummm, not sure what to put this? Boyd’s, because I love the way it blows in the wind…
Player: Heaton – he’s been consistent throughout the season, and it says a lot that he was awarded the Player’s Player of the Year at the Club’s awards ceremony earlier this week.
Goal: Arfield v Chelsea – before the first game of the season, I was worried that we’d embarrass ourselves. Scott’s moment of magic was glorious, and ensured that although we suffered defeat in the match that we made a credible entrance to the Premier League.
Game: Manchester City (A) – an obvious choice here, and it doesn’t need too much explaining. Isn’t it great when the underdog comes back against the big boys?
Moment: Hull (H) – although the game itself wasn’t too memorable, the event of achieving our first Premier League win of the season is reason enough to choose this as notable moment of the season. Before this point, some fans (maybe including myself) were asking where the first win was going to come from. At least this win shut them/me up.
Hair: Maybe this is controversial, but I’m not a fan of George Boyd’s flowing locks. The hairdo looks a bit greasy and just isn’t functional. I’m going to go for Jason Shackell, who has seemingly rarely had a hair out of place all season. Just like his defensive skills, his hair looks solid as a rock. I must say that I’ve not really been paying particular attention to the uniformity of hair, however.
Player: George Boyd – There was a time as a Burnley fan when a player who could run and run and run was something we lauded. We enjoyed the endeavour and the hard working nature. It was very Burnley-like. Then it became synonymous with Ian Moore and the trait fell out of fashion as his aimless running became an annoyance. Then George Boyd happened. He brought running back into fashion, with his flowing locks and creative play he looked like a Premier League player and ran like one as well. While I’d have liked to see more goals in his game his determination to always do his best was a shining light in an all too often dull season.
Goal: Ashley Barnes v Spurs (20 December) – When selecting this it reminded me just how much of an odd team we are. We looked like we couldn’t score for toffee for most of the season but every now and then pulled a goal of the season contender out of the top drawer and Barnesey’s effort against Spurs was one of those moments. His touch from George Boyd’s pass saw him saunter pass two pedestrian Tottenham defenders before wrapping his foot round the ball to send it curling into the top bag. It’s a goal that wouldn’t be out of place in a World Cup final. What a finish.
Game: Man City 2 -2 Burnley – Being two nil down against the (then) champions of England is pretty standard fare. At least we weren’t getting humped like last time. Then we showed all the attributes that Sean Dyche likes to bang on about and little old Burnley come back thanks to some suspect refereeing and an Ashley Barnes thronker that nearly broke the net. In terms of gain it wasn’t much but it gave me the belief we could stay up and deserved our place in the Premier League and it’s moment like that that make it all worth it.
Moment: Burnley 2-3 Crystal Palace – This game is where I think it all fell down for us. Up against a rejuvenated Palace side we raced into a two nil lead and looked set to dominate the game. A win would have seen us move up to 15th and from there we could quite possibly have put together a run to stay up but a dramatic collapse and inability to match a change in tactics from Alan Pardew set the tone for the remainder of the season. I struggle to believe that this game didn’t have a serious impact on the psyche of our lads ahead of two huge games against Sunderland and West Brom.
Hair: Jason Shackell – A classy no nonsense look from our centre-back sets him apart as a leader of men. You’ll find no alice bands here.
Player: It says much about the story of our season that I’m stuck between the two players at the heart of our defence. In the end I couldn’t choose between Tom Heaton or Jason Shackle so I asked my husband, who knows nothing about football, which one should get my vote, and he went for Tom Heaton because… get ready for this cutting-edge insight, the name ‘Shackell’ doesn’t sound as nice. In reality, both have been outstanding and probably the only two who have been consistently excellent. Boyd has had a number of quiet spells, and Ins had two periods of flats form (he was good for much of the season, no witch-hunt here). Both have stepped up their game from excellent campaigns in the promotion season – Shacks won the NNN player of the year vote – and if we can keep hold of both then we’ve got really strong foundations for another go starting in August.
Goal: Well, there are *so* to choose from I don’t know quite where to start. There have actually been some crackers in there, though. Barnes’ strike against Spurs was glorious, but my favourite is Boyd’s winner against City at the Turf. It really was a thing of true beauty. It was one of those that makes you really thankful that Vine exists; I think I watched it about 40 times without interruption. He won’t strike a ball as clean as that in his entire career.
Game: The win at Stoke was excellent not just because it was an actual win with two actual goals, but because it gave us all some much-needed encouragement optimism. It was a sign that yes, we can compete at this level. I recall back with fondness the amazement, excitement and disbelief bunching around Twitter when those two early goals flew in. There are certainly more spectacular games – both against City spring to mind – but for me this was the game that got me most excited.
Moment: My moment of the season comes from a 4-1 defeat, obviously. Scott Arfield’s screamer against Chelsea on the opening day was genuinely euphoric, and brought about similar feelings to those when Robbie Blake smashed in that winner against United in 2010. It won’t stick in the memory quite so long because of what happened afterwards, but when the ball hit the net to give us an early lead against the champions-to-be I know Huddersfield reject Scotty Art gave me a magical moment that wouldn’t be topped all year.
Hair: Without a doubt it’s Kevin Lon… only kidding.- what a travesty that thing is! I quite like Boyd’s locks, but there’s something weirdly alluring about Ben Mee’s bright blonde hair. I don’t really know what more there is to say other than that. I just flicked through the programme to check out the other contenders and realised how boring our squad is on the top of their heads. They’ve all got the same standard cut. That said, at least none of them have taken inspiration from Wade Elliott.
Player: Shacks is my player of the year. In terms of consistency I think only Heaton can touch him and 10 clean sheets for a relegated side is an incredible achievement. Whether he was playing with Duff or Keane he never looked anything less than assured. Keeping him will be key for next season.
Goal: We didn’t score many goals but there were still a few contenders and I’m going for Barnes v Spurs. Barnes has proved many people wrong – including myself – and his goal at the Lane was another example that he is full of surprises. Hit with power and precision, it was the sort of strike I did not think he was capable of.
Game: City at home was one of those games we’ll remember for the rest of our lives. It might have looked a bit smash and grab but essentially we held City at arm’s length apart from Pablo Zabaleta’s late penalty shout when Ben Mee really should have conceded a spot kick. Boyd’s winner was absolutely glorious and I really believed we’d stay up after that match. Shame it didn’t end up being the turning point I thought it would be.
Moment: Jose Mourinho on Goals on Sunday is my moment of the season. In many ways it encapsulated everything that is bad about the Premier League. Mourinho has had the press wrapped around his little finger since his first “Special One” press conference at Chelsea and the media are completely in thrall to his nonsense. Labelling Barnes’ challenge on Nemanja Matic as “criminal” was extremely naughty and the whole affair was extremely distasteful in my eyes. Mourinho’s appearance on Goals on Sunday might well be filed alongside Rafa Benitez’s “FACTS” and Kevin Keegan’s “I would love it if we beat them” in the annals of memorable managerial meltdowns.
Hair: I’ve got to go for solidarity with a fellow skinhead, so I’m going for Sean Dyche’s no-nonsense bonce.
Player: Ashley Barnes – Chewed up numerous defenders and spat them out. His picture is next to work rate in the dictionary, couple that with moments of brilliance he’s been a joy to watch. We are gonna miss him.
Goal: Ashley Barnes v City – he looked all the more sexual in that black kit as the ball hit the top corner. Came days after someone infamously commented on my article that he ‘wasn’t even a Championship player’.
Game: Newcastle away – I’ve had a slightly different view of events this season covering games from the press box – so many amazing arenas – but coming from behind three times at the magnificent St James Park, those are the games and away days you get promoted for.
Moment: MATICGATE – being inside the stadium and subsequent press conference to watch Jose Mourinho self implode was pure gold. Goals on Sunday only saw the half of it.
Hair: Michael Kightly – Apart from his assist at Stoke he’s not had much to write home about. I’m impressed with the speed at which it grows, from skinhead to crew cut in no time at all.
NNN prizes therefore go to…
Player: There were a number of good candidates for the award this year. Danny Ings and Kieran Trippier can count themselves unlucky not to get a mention, while George Boyd was similarly unloved despite taking numerous honours at the supporters’ clubs night. However, our panel has overwhelming gone for goalkeeper Tom Heaton, with Jason Shackell – who won the NNN Player of the Year award last season – in second spot.
Goal: Considering we didn’t score enough goals this season, a number of strikes could have taken this prize. Nobody even mentioned Scott Arfield’s superb individual goal against QPR at Turf Moor. But there was only ever likely to be one winner here – George Boyd wins the NNN Goal of the season prize for his matchwinning half-volley against the defending champions.
Game: Although we played in our fair share of 0-0s, there was plenty of entertainment too. The games against City stood out for obvious reasons and the comeback at the Etihad, which featured an outstanding individual performance from Ashley Barnes, narrowly beat the 1-0 home win. Manchester City 2-2 Burnley is our Game of the season.
Moment: A wide spread of nominations with only one moment being mentioned by more than one of our contributors. The NNN prize for Moment of the season therefore goes to Chelsea away and the subsequent hoo-ha over the collision between Ashley Barnes and Nemanja Matic. It was certainly one of the more memorable moments this season, perhaps due to the media’s ridiculous over-reaction to what was merely a follow-through from Barnes when he was stretching to make a pass. That’s the Premier League for you.
Hair: A joke category to round off the awards for this season, there was only ever likely to be one winner and despite a couple of nominations for the pristine skipper, George Boyd wins again. Presumably because he has a lot of hair.
That’s it! The NNN 2014/15 awards are over.
Did we get it right? Comment below with your choices.