So, given this is my last blog of this campaign, I thought I’d emulate my esteemed college James Hodges and suggest a few awards for the 2016/17 season. But first – a few words to this season’s hero.
Dear Tammy Abraham,
I would like to say a sincere and heartfelt thank you from myself, my friends, and every other City fan on the planet. When you signed for us I was excited by your potential, but in my wildest dreams I didn’t think that your first season in professional football could be so fruitful for both yourself and our club.
You have acted with true decorum on and off the pitch (forgetting any potential motoring incidents) and the joy with which you appear to approach the game is surely an inspiration – to not only footballers and sportspeople in general, but to us all in day-to-day-life.
I wholeheartedly wish you all the very very best for the future, and if you are ever to grace the Ashton Gate pitch again, you will certainly be assured the warmest of welcomes.
And now – drumroll please – the awards will begin.
Best permanent signing:
Tammy, of course, wins signing of the season, but, as already mentioned, he has now left. There are a few contenders for this award: Josh Brownhill and Jamie Patterson came close, but I have to give the accolade to Bailey Wright. He has looked as solid as a rock since joining from Preston, and adds a level of tenaciousness to our defence, which was certainly missing earlier in the season. If our worst nightmares are realised over the summer and we lose Flint, I could also see him forming a great partnership with Magnusson who has also impressed in his first year.
This season we have lost a number of players who either were, or would have been, first team regulars. Jonathan Kodjia, Luke Freeman and Luke Ayling all spring to mind as players we could have used well throughout the season. History has a slightly weird way of treating ex-players, though, and both Kodjia and Freemen left under something of a cloud, meaning Ayling has to be seen as our worst loss and therefore also our saddest farewell.
Best away fans:
I’d give it to Birmingham. They sang all the way through and the celebrations at the final whistle were a joy to witness. Not because of any allegiance I have to Birmingham or dislike for Blackburn – it was just nice to see passionate fans getting behind their team and understandably going wild upon the final whistle.
Worst penalty miss:
No competition I’m afraid. Lee Tomlin at home to Burton.
Best and worst away performances at Ashton Gate:
I think the best side we’ve seen at Ashton Gate this season was Brighton. We only lost 2-0 on the night, which was quite an achievement given the way Chris Houghton’s side dominated the play. The worst team, and this won’t come as a surprise to many, have got to be Rotherham. The side that only managed to amount a point every other other game visited Ashton Gate in early February when we were far from our best. City managed to scrape a 1-0 win in what was surely the worst game at the Gate for some time.
Best decision of the season:
This may be controversial for some, but I am going to go with Steve Lansdown’s decision to not bow to what must have been considerable pressure and to keep Lee Johnson. I say it was the best decision, because by doing so, our Championship status was reserved. I am not saying he is the greatest manager ever, but I welcome the stability he offers and hope we can build on our impressive end to this season.
So, that’s me until August or so. I hope you have a great summer, following what will no doubt be countless City transfer-related stories. Let’s hope next season we can achieve the thing I longed for at the beginning of this season: mid-table-mediocrity!