M6 diversions, Baluga and Fulham's pick-and-mix: Dave Seddon and Adam Lord's alternative end-of-season awards
With a nod to couple of the more conventional gongs, Dave Seddon and Adam Lord hand out their alternative Preston North End end-of-season awards.
Player of the season
DS: I wrote a few weeks ago that in my opinion, the player of the year was between Ben Pearson and Alan Browne.
It was Browne who got the supporters' vote but I'm going to lean the way of Pearson.
During the season I gave him 10 starman awards in the paper which isn't an exact science but is an indicator of his importance.
Also to be booked just once in the last 10 games as he tried to steer clear of trouble with referees was, for a man with his disciplinary record, turning over a new leaf.
AL: If there was a breakthrough award then Browne would win hands down.
But like Sedds I think it’s a toss of coin because in terms of how key a figure he has become, Pearson is the best player at the club.
I’ll go for Browne, just, to even things out. An honourable mention to Paul Huntington who has been colossal at the back
Goal of the season
DS: I'm going for Daniel Johnson's at Birmingham City, I just like the way he glided through midfield and without breaking stride curled a low shot from outside the box past the Birmingham keeper. Looking back at it, I also enjoyed the reaction of the travelling Preston fans behind the goal!
AL: I quite enjoyed another goal at St Andrew’s, Tom Barkhuizen’s that ended such a fine team move. Browne again though for me, surely you can’t argue with him scoring from 45 yards against Cardiff on one of the best nights of the season?
DS: I'm going to opt for Fulham - a cracking lunch, pick-and-mix for afters, and pies at half-time. Notable mentions too for Aston Villa, Norwich and Millwall - the Den is the one ground in the country where you share the press conference room with a cuddly lion.
Norwich rustled up a nice Spanish chicken and rice for lunch, with pie and chips as the alternative. Safe to say when we visited in November, every pie was snaffled up! Northerners eh?
AL: The football may not have been but it was certainly a ‘Premier League’ welcome from Sunderland after battling through the snow but they might be pipped on the ‘nicest press steward’ front by Ipswich who couldn’t have done more for you. A proper football club.
In terms of grub Reading recently wasn’t too shabby at all but at the risk of being boring I’ll go with Sedds on Fulham, as he also forget to mention the unlimited supply of fizzy pop. If you could not get promoted fellas that would be great.
Journey of the year
DS: Millwall away. Chaotic probably doesn't do the train journey home justice. The train was declassified in terms of first and standard class, such was the volume of North End fans who migrated into the first-class carriages.
AL: Yeah, grafters that we are Sedds and I like to work on the Pendolino back north but it wasn’t exactly possible this time around. Thanks to a primary school teacher who will go unnamed for sitting on my knee for most of the two and a quarter hours home.
Highways agency award
DS: Those pesky folk who shut motorways on a Tuesday night were at it again all season. We don't bother with a Sat-Nav on the way home from midweek games anymore, we are just guided by a diversion triangle.
The best of the lot was the trip home from Nottingham Forest on January 30. A stretch of the A50 was shut which meant a diversion-and-a-half. It was 14 extra miles, touring the countryside around Uttoxeter - utter joy only to find junction 16 of the M6 was shut.
It was transfer deadline day the next day so no chance of relaxing and getting over the jetlag.
AL: I’ve just worked out why I always do the drive home! There might be some talks ahead of next season.
DS: Sunderland away. The wind whipping the snow off the fields on the A66 on the way up, reducing visibility to a few yards, was a walk in the park in comparison to the trip home.
Every ounce of respect goes to Adam who drove the return journey - the company Astra effectively became a snow plough. I sat silently in the passenger seat, fearing a night trapped in snow drifts on the A1. We got home, via Harrogate and a less snowy A59.
AL: To be honest, I’m still not entirely sure how we got home. We’d run out of Sports Mixture as well so there was a major crisis developing. Maybe next time I’ll take snow warnings a little more seriously.
Most awkward interview
DS: That was with Connor Simpson, not because of the standard of interviewing - Connor spoke very well for a young lad - but because he is 6ft 6in and I'm 5ft 7. I had a crick in my neck afterwards.
AL: Mine was thankfully not one I conducted but one I witnessed.
Fair play to the Barnsley press lads who tried to get much of note out of assistant manager Jamie Clapham after the 0-0 draw at Oakwell on Boxing Day.
“So Jamie, would you like to sign Oli McBurnie?” “We’d like to sign Harry Kane so who knows?” A nice enough bloke but he certainly didn’t give you much to work with.
Bar of the year
DS: It was called Cafe Manana's when I was a lad, but it seems Baluga in where the action is. Alan Browne has life membership and so do, according to PNE fans, women of a certain age.
AL: Apparently blokes of a similar age are too old to get in though. Twelve Tellers it is...