While the announcement of the PFA Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year award nominees was met with reactions ranging from bewilderment to bemusement, there was another set of less formal awards for which nominees were released today. It has to be said that the slate of candidates is rather more palatable to your average consumer of football. Oh, don't get me wrong, these are still very heavy on representatives from Sky6 teams, but let us be honest with ourselves... these teams have the name recognition that they do for a reason. The FA is celebrating 20 years of the Premier League and they will be giving awards in the following categories: Best Player of 20 Seasons; Best Manager
Named Sir Alex Ferguson of 20 years; Best Goal of 20 seasons; Best Match of 20 Seasons; Best Forward of 20 Seasons; Team (single club) of the 20 Seasons; Best Season of the 20 Seasons; Most Memorable Quote of the 20 Seasons; Fantasy Team (4-4-2) of the 20 Seasons; Save of the 20 Seasons and Goal Celebration of the 20 Seasons.
Unlike the PFA awards, Newcastle United are at least not shut out of consideration for several of the categories.
Best Player of the 20 Seasons
Predictably, the list of nominees for this category reads very much like a "Mancester United All-Star Team of the Past 20 Seasons With A Couple Of Arsenal Players Thrown In For Spice" team... but equally predictably, Wor Alan finds the first of his nominations here. He'll find stiff competition from the likes of Eric Cantona, Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp and other household names, but Alan Shearer as all-time Premier League leading goalscorer deserves his place in this category.
Best Goal of the 20 Seasons
Interestingly, out of more than 200 Premier League goals, they could only dig up 1 of Alan's goals (v. Everton in 2002-03 season) that they could deem worthy of potential recognition in this category. If you take a minute and plug each of those goals in, though (and I encourage you to do so), it's hard to argue any of the other goals on the list. It is not the only time that Newcastle figure in this category, to be fair... but the other time is on the conceding side (to Bergkamp in the 01-02 season).
Best Match of the 20 Seasons
For a club that's "not that big, don't you know, you deluded Geordie bastards", we figure quite prominently in this category and stand a tremendous chance to come away with shared glory here, perhaps for "The Greatest Game Ever Played" (Newcastle United 3 - 4 Liverpool... yeah.. COLLYMORE!). This is not our only chance at glory here, however. The glorious days of Newcastle United 5 - 0 Manchester United and Newcastle United 4 - 4 Arsenal are up for consideration here as well. That's 3 out of the 10 greatest matches over 20 seasons that have involved our lads, for those of you counting. (I'm not going to count the number that involve other clubs... say the scum. Spoiler alert: It's fewer than 1)
Best Forward of the 20 Seasons
Most Memorable Quote of the 20 Seasons
You know which quote of Toon lore finds its way into consideration here, surely. I would loov it if King Kev won this category, but I'm afraid he's got some distance to go in a popular vote to catch Jose Mourinho's "I am the Special One".
Best Save of the 20 Seasons
Although Newcastle United have not been known for their defensive brilliance over the life of the Premier League, there is one save from Shay Given that is up for consideration here. and fittingly it is a save from the 2001-2002 Sunderland v. Newcastle match. I'll go ahead and figure that this category goes to Peter Schmeichel for one of the two saves he has here. An outside hope will pull for Brad Friedel because he has the awesome... but yeah.
Best Goal Celebration of the 20 Seasons
Now here is a category where you could assume that Newcastle would have some representation, and they certainly do. First up for your consideration is Temuri Ketsbaia (Newcastle v. Bolton from the 97-98 season)... I had to look this one up to remember it, but it's rather humorous. With as many goals as he scored for Newcastle United, one would have to figure that Alan Shearer would have eared consideration for at least one of his celebrations... and he did. His nomination is for "multiple occasions". Also earning consideration for the Magpies for "multiple occasions" is one Lomana Lua Lua. Mr. Lua Lua scored exactly 7 goals for Newcastle.. but man he celebrated them with vigor!
And so, it's not a terrible day with regard to awards lists. It seems that there might be a place or two in the Fantasy Team (4-4-2) of the 20 Years that could go to the Toon as well... These will be open to a variety of votes... watch this space and we'll try to keep you up to date on where and how!
A complete list of the nominees can be found here.