Blowing Bubbles Awards 2013

Blowing Bubbles writers Andrew Hosie, Geoff Hillyer, Thomas Johnson, Joell Mayoh and Lucy Woolford give their votes for our end of season awards 2013.

Player of the Season 2013: Winston Reid

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AH: Andy Carroll. OK, there has been frustration with injury but when Carroll plays our threat doubles or even triples. Strong, athletic and skilfull, he’s able to set up others and score crucial goals himself. No doubt he will be a loss next season if he does go.

GH: Winston Reid. An astonishing improvement when you think back to the last season we had in the Premier League, when he looked out of his depth. The icing on the cake was his fantastic clearance against Newcastle United from what seemed like a certain goal.

TJ: Winston Reid. My player of the season has been a revelation, especially considering how he played in the first year of his West Ham career, a complete flop under Avram Grant. The Kiwi has been a terrific player this season, captaining the side for a game or two when Nolan and Noble were out. He is the central defender we must build the team around.

JM: Winston Reid. He has been nothing other than superb for the Hammers this season. His consistently excellent displays have been a joy to behold. We can only hope the Kiwi’s contract extension means he will be playing that way in the claret and blue for years to come.

LW: I voted for Winston Reid in the official awards and I haven’t changed my mind. He’s been solid, consistent and calm and I really do think he could fit in at one of the “big four” clubs.

Young Player of the Season 2013: Dan Potts

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GH: Dan Potts. Not really many candidates for this one this time around but Dan Potts has continued his upward trajectory and featured in the first team once again this season. A local lad through and through, his clash of heads in the away game at Arsenal showed the bravery of the player.

TJ: Danny Potts. The young left-back has impressed with his scattered appearances over the past two seasons under Allardyce. Unfortunately for the son of former Hammer Steve Potts, he was left concussed after a collision in the game away against Arsenal and hasn’t been able to recapture his place in the side after some solid games from Joey O’Brien, but Potts will hopefully keep improving and make the left-back berth his own for the future.

JM: Dylan Tombides. Selecting an outstanding young player for the Hammers has become a slightly difficult task with Sam Allardyce in charge of the team; given that few young players are handed the opportunity to shine in the first team. Yet I find no difficulty in naming Dylan Tombides as my choice because of the incredible adversity that the 19-year-old striker had to battle through before making his first team debut for West Ham in September. The young Australian was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2011 and had to undergo treatment before receiving the all-clear from doctors in June 2012. Just four months later he came on as a sub for the Hammers in the 4-1 defeat to Wigan Athletic in the league cup. If that is the kind of steely determination West Ham’s young professionals have to offer, we know the club has a bright future ahead under the lights of the Olympic Stadium.

LW: I think Dan Potts would have been in with a shout if it hadn’t been for his head injury against Arsenal but Elliot Lee gets my vote. He’s been strong for the U21s this season scoring seven goals. He made his first team debut in the FA Cup and was impressive.

Goal of the Season 2013: Andy Carroll for his goal against WBA

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AH: A great deal of belters to choose from: Taylor’s against Fulham earlier on, Collison away to Arsenal and Diame’s goals against Arsenal and Man Utd come to mind, O’Neill’s sweet strike against West Brom is up there with the best of them, but I’m going to go with Carroll’s strike which gave us the third in that same match, terrific technique to despatch that volley from Collin’s free kick

GH: Diame v Manchester United (home). A brilliantly executed goal. Demel, Vaz Te and Mo Diame combining cleverly before Diame receives the ball close to the right of the penalty area, spins away from his marker and then curls in a first-time shot from 20 yards to put West Ham 2-1 in front.

TJ: Mo Diame against Manchester Utd (home). The beauty and skill of the move, some great link-up play from Ricardo Vaz Te to Guy Demel and a simple stroke of the ball to Diame who showed absolutely great composure to curl the ball around the Manchester United defence and past the goalkeeper David De Gea, it was a great goal that deserved to be the winner.

JM: Diame vs Chelsea (home). The Hammers had managed to pull level against Chelsea with a Carlton Cole header having gone 1-0 down in the first half. After that the game was an incredibly open affair. It must have been thrilling viewing for the neutral, but it was nail-biting stuff for us fans before Momo scored. West Ham had a throw-in on the left wing. After a quick exchange the ball was chipped into Carlton Cole on the corner of the penalty area by the byline. The striker, who was excellent throughout the game, controlled the bouncing ball on his chest and laid it onto Diame lurking on the edge of penalty area. As it boggled towards the midfielder, he adjusted his body and then unleashed a ferocious drive into Chelsea’s net. That goal put the Hammers 2-1 up against the European Champions and completely deflated Chelsea, allowing West Ham to secure a famous victory when Modibo Maiga scored again to make it 3-1.

LW: I’ve got to say Andy Carroll’s volley against West Brom. It was so stunningly controlled and sweetly hit. That really showed us what he can do. Great ball from Collins too.

Best Team Performance of the Season 2013: Performance against Chelsea at home

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AH: It has to be the match against Chelsea, although the team actually only really performed for 45 minutes in that game and could well have been a few goals down at half time. That’s why it gets the nod for me, a second half comeback with passion, energy and fight after a tactical shuffle by Allardyce at the interval left Chelsea with no answer and plunged the club further in to crisis at the start of Benitez’s tenure

GH: Chelsea (home). 1-0 down, West Ham came out all guns firing in the second half and turned the match on its head. Diame’s strike to put West Ham 2-1 up was only matched by the satisfaction of Maiga firing in the winner after an Ashley Cole mistake. A close second was the team involved in the draw against Manchester United, but we won the match against Chelsea, thoroughly deservedly so.

TJ: West Ham 0 — 0 Man City. Against last season’s Premier League Champions the team put in a great defensive performance and came out with a point, that should have been three had the linesman not wrongly ruled Kevin Nolan’s goal offside,. This was the game that I sensed we would remain a top flight side as we showed grit, determination and passion throughout the team.

JM: West Ham vs Chelsea (home). Although I chose Diame’s goal as the highlight, the whole team performed excellently against Chelsea to come from 1-0 down and win 3-1. It would have been a superb victory for any newly promoted side, but for the Hammers to do it against their west London rivals was something else. It also seemed to give West Ham the impetus they needed going into a very tough run of fixtures during the winter period.

LW: For me, West Ham’s most memorable performance was in our 3-0 home win against Fulham. I know we’ve faced tougher opponents and played well, but after watching our style against Fulham, I was astounded.

Best Individual Performance of the Season 2013: Diame for his performance against Chelsea at home

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AH: Diame in that match against Chelsea. He was the driving force of that second half performance. Almost pulling the team up single handedly with his strength, poise and surging runs from the midfield. If he hadn’t got injured in the match at home against Liverpool, I’m thinking I’d have ended up voting for that one – I maintain we wouldn’t have lost if he’d remained on the pitch but overall his Chelsea performance shades it.

GH: Diame v Chelsea (home). An absolute powerhouse, particularly in the second half and Chelsea simply couldn’t live with him. Scoring the goal in the second half to put us 2-1 up was the icing on the cake.

TJ: Mo Diame v Chelsea (home). My signing of the season proved his worth greatly in the home game against the ‘champions of Europe’ as he came on at half-time and his high pressing and great engine work revived the side as he influenced the team to come back from a deficit of 0-1 and to come out 3-1 winners, an astute signing and tactical decision that worked wonders, and he got himself a goal.

JM: Andy Carroll vs Fulham (home). I have never seen one man make such a difference to a team than when Andy Carroll made his West Ham debut. He breathed fresh air into the side by terrorising the Fulham defence and proved to be instrumental as the Hammers battered Martin Jol’s side 3-0. After the third goal, all West Ham fans were surely brimming with excitement about what the rest of the season had in store for the team now Carroll was leading the line. Unfortunately the 24-year-old was injured 68 minutes into that game and his time at Upton Park has been a bit stop start ever since. Hopefully we will see many more performances like that from the big Geordie next season though, should the Hammers be able to sign him permanently.

LW: James Collins at Anfield just edges it for me. He faced the unstoppable Suarez and in-form Coutinho and his defensive performance was second to none. He made tackles that we never expected him (or anyone else) to make.

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