The Blowing Bubbles End of Season Awards

We look back over this extraordinary season and select the stars for our annual awards

Player of the Season: Tomas Soucek

James Jones: There are several who deserve it but I’m giving it to Tomas Soucek, purely because I think he’s the most irreplaceable member of our squad and he’s proved that this season. Even more so than Rice.

David Meagher: Lingard, Rice and Soucek could all make a decent claim but for me it’s Vladimir Coufal. He’s been a rock since the moment he arrived. Best right back in the league due to his outstanding energy and decision making. 

Meirion Williams: We are spoilt for choice this year but I can narrow it down to three. Firstly Aaron Cresswell. I simply thought that his career was over for us but he has been immense. Aaron gets third place in my eyes as there are a certain two Czech mates that just have the edge over Aaron. Coufal has been outstanding and has not put a foot wrong but he is going to be pushed into second place but his brother-in-arms Soucek. For all round ability and those after game interviews he’s the winner for me.

Dylan Bregman: Rice, Soucek, Ogbonna and Cresswell have all had unbelievable seasons, however, for me it has to go to Vladimir Coufal. The Czech right back was chucked in at the deep end as soon as he signed and I still haven’t seen him have a bad game. Mr Reliable.

Olivia Elliott: All of the players this season have been unbelievable so picking one is tough. My player of the season is Coufal because his consistency week-in, week-out has been spot on. He always puts the effort in that us West Ham fans admire, and can’t wait to see him again next season.  

Brian Penn: Many contenders for the title, but Tomas Soucek gets my vote. Such a perceptive player with superb positional awareness, incredibly hard working and a tough lad to boot.

Emily Pulham: The player of the season isn’t just the player who is the best on the pitch, it’s also the player we miss the most when they are off it – and that’s Angelo Ogbonna. If he was a football match, he’d be a six-pointer. He’s strong, sturdy, composed, and never looks stressed. He makes anyone he’s partnered with in defence look world class. Completely underrated, and absolutely vital in West Ham doing as well as they have done this season. 

Robert Banks: For me it’s Tomas Soucek. He’s the one who has made this team tick all season. The heartbeat of the team. Hard, fair, energetic, and an eye for goal.

Geoff Hillyer: Another vote for Soucek – a no-nonsense high-energy player, who scores quite a few goals. If he’s fit, he starts, and it’s as simple as that. What a player.

Lucy Woolford: This is a very tough one! But Tomas Soucek edges it for me. He’s influential in every game and if he’s missing I think we’d notice. He’s great in the air, has scored some important goals this season and he’s one hundred per cent a team player. 

Bradley Holland: Tomas Soucek.  Declan Rice might be a better player, but Soucek’s ability to galvanise the side, score some late game-winning goals, bring in Coufal and up the team spirit has been key.

William Pugh: Vladimir Coufal. Rarely have I seen a player adapt so quickly to a new team. His work ethic is unrivalled, and he has not had a single game less than 8/10. Up there with the Repkas and Schemmels of the world.

Young Player of the Season: Ben Johnson

JJ: Does Declan Rice still qualify as ‘young’? If not, Ben Johnson is the obvious shout, and he’s only going to get better.

DM: Moyes hasn’t had the luxury of taking risks due to our success. Ben Johnson is the only real candidate but he has a lot to learn yet. 

MW: We can’t give it to Declan again so it has to be Ben Johnson for me. Ben has never let us down and will gain in confidence the more he plays.

DB: We haven’t given much chance to youth players this season, but I’ve been very impressed with Ben Johnson when he has played. At times he’s struggled, however, he has been playing on the left, well out of position. He’s definitely one to watch.

OE: Ben Johnson. It’s great to see a young player come through the academy being trusted by the manager. When called upon, he can play both sides of the pitch. He does make the odd mistake, but he never hides.

BP: Agree the choice is limited, so few youngsters have broken through of late, Ben Johnson is the only one who springs to mind. He shows promise but is still learning his craft.

EP: I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say Ben Johnson might just be the overwhelming winner, such are the odds when a race has but the one runner. He being the only contender however doesn’t take away from the fact that he’s been quietly great this season. He’s had to go up against some tough opposition, but he’s stayed calm and collected under pressure. Can’t wait to see more big things from him. 

RB: Not a lot to pick from unless young means 28. Ben Johnson would be the obvious choice, he has slotted into the team just like George Parris did in 85-86. I see a big future for him.

GH: Not much youth around this season to be fair but Ben Johnson has broken through and he’ll be a player and a half in years to come. So he gets my vote.

LW: I think Ben Johnson deserves it. He’s made the big step from being an academy player to a name that we’re not surprised to see on the team sheet. He’s put in a couple of strong performances and his confidence will hopefully grow with game time. 

BH: We haven’t seen much from the youth. I suppose it would go to Ben Johnson. His goal this year gave us a much needed win and some academy excitement.

WP: It has to be Ben Johnson

Goal of the Season: Manuel Lanzini v Spurs (3-3 A)

JJ: Manuel Lanzini. Tottenham. 95th minute. The only thing it lacked was being a winning goal, but it had absolutely everything else you ask for in a goal. Iconic.

DM: Manny Lanzini’s versus Spurs wins at a canter. Jaw droppingly brilliant in execution and timing.

MW: Only one winner here for me and it has to be Lanzini’s last minute strike against the Spuds. It’s a goal that even at my age had me jumping around the room.

DB: The Lanzini goal is the obvious option but I really liked Bowen’s goal in the 4-0 victory over Wolves. Quick thinking from Antonio after he was fouled and then a jinking run from Bowen with a lovely finish to top it off. 

OE: Goal of the season, more like the greatest goal ever, was Lanzini against Tottenham to draw 3-3. I’m still in disbelief every time I reminisce about it. The final kick of the game to stop Spurs from taking all three points is one of the best moments of my life.

BP: Difficult to see past Lanzini’s effort against Spurs. You look for pure virtuosity with great goals and this had it in spades.

EP: It may be considered a bit naff to celebrate a draw like you’ve won the World Cup (here’s looking at you, Jurgen), but the exception to the rule is that Manuel Lanzini screamer in the 94th minute to go level with Spurs after West Ham went 3-0 down early in the game. It was such a skillful shot on it’s own – but the emotion that came with it and the commentator’s voice raising to a yell as it found the back of the net was perfection. 

RB: Many to pick from. Has to be Lanzini’s equaliser at Tottenham not just because of the excellence of the strike but the context.

GH: Lanzini v Spurs, obviously, not just for the strike but for the endless hilarity when watching Tottenham supporters see that goal go in.

LW: It has to be Haller Vs Crystal Palace for me. It was just beautifully executed and deserving of an award, even if we have to send it over to the Netherlands! But we won’t…he’s been incredibly outvoted! 

BH: Lanzini at Tottenham. The sound of the ball hitting the bar in masterful force, in the final minutes against Spurs was glorious. We sang loudly at the Spurs fans in our American Pub who had been chanting Bale songs at us when they were 3 up and Bale came on.

WP: Manuel Lanzini vs Tottenham. Another historic moment that I only wish I was in the stadium for. A crowning glory for a man I’ve always loved at West Ham who we may not see too much more of.

Best Team Performance of the Season: Against Leicester (3-0 A)

JJ: Burnley away is up there, as is Villa away, but Leicester away is the pick of the bunch for me. If the 4-0 win over Wolves the week earlier wasn’t proof we meant business this season, this performance confirmed it.

DM: The 3-0 away win at Leicester early in the season served notice that Moyes had worked out how to get results against tricky teams.

MW: Leicester away is the one for me. Before the game I was distinctly worried but to beat them by three goals was a showing to the rest of the league that this wasn’t the West Ham of old.

DB: I really enjoyed the 3-1 win against Villa in February. It was the game when Lingard made his debut and scored a brace but also the game where Moyes chose to play Fredericks at right wing to double up with Coufal on Jack Grealish. Tactical masterclass. 

OE: There’s been some great ones this season, but beating Tottenham at home is the best team performance. Everyone played their part, and we could clearly see how much it meant to them beating Spurs from Jesse Lingard’s goal celebration.

BP: The 3-0 away win against Leicester would be the obvious choice, but the 3-2 away win against Wolves is also worth a mention, after racing into a 3-0 lead then to concede two goals, but we managed the game properly and took three points. Once upon a time we would have lost in the same scenario.

EP: We only won by one goal, but the performance against Burnley in early May is a strong contender. The passing was sharp, the play was clever. There were a couple of individual errors but the tight-knit performance of the rest of the team more than made up for it and it was fun to watch so much creativity and dare I say skill on display. Wolves early in the season was brilliant also – just an absolute riot of a goalfest. More of both next season please!

RB: Burnley away — off the back of two defeats and losing an early goal it would have been easy to let heads drop. In the end we could have had double figures. Impressive.

GH: There’s a few to choose from – but I’m going Leicester away in the 3-0 win. It was a performance that made me think: ‘Hang on, we’ve got something going here.’

LW: I was so impressed with us going behind and coming back to win away at Burnley. That was without Rice and Noble so it felt like we started without the guardians of the team! Some of the play and passing was beautiful and the heads didn’t drop at a crucial point in the season. 

BH: West Ham vs Wolves. I wasn’t expecting much from the match, but we were able to nullify Traore and dominate them thoroughly.

WP: Leicester away 3-0. No one saw it coming and it was the first sense I had we could do something special this season. A complete performance over an exceedingly strong team.

Best Individual Performance of the Season: Jesse Lingard v Aston Villa (3-1 A)

JJ: Jesse Lingard’s debut against Villa. We were all surprised to see him go straight into the starting XI and then spent the next 90 minutes in awe. 

DM: Lingard’s debut against Villa. Two goals and an immense all-round contribution as he announced that he was ready and able to wow.

MW: I can look no further than Jesse Lingard’s debut against Villa but also in that game Coufal marking The English Klinsman (Grelish) out of the game comes a close second.

DB: As a left back myself, it has to be Aaron Creswell in our 3-0 win against Leicester. Two assists, a clean sheet and a man of the match against a top four side. Unstoppable.

OE: Jesse Lingard’s debut against Aston Villa. Can’t say I was all for Lingard coming to West Ham but how wrong I was. His debut is the greatest debut I have ever seen. Scoring two goals and putting so much effort in on your debut; What more do you want? 

BP: For sheer impact it has to be Jesse Lingard’s debut against Aston Villa. I wasn’t sure about him as he had so little game time, but obviously had something to prove – a dazzling performance!

EP: Jesse Lingard’s career has come back to life in claret and blue but one of his best individual performances came against Arsenal in our 3-3 draw. While the result wasn’t what we wanted, Lingard could not have done more for the club that day. He was electric and danced his way into an early first goal, reacted exceptionally quickly to set up a second from a free kick, and was unlucky not to have done more damage to the Gooners before they recovered. He’s to be kept in east London at all costs. 

RB: Again, many to choose from but I would pick Soucek’s performance at Crystal Palace. Imperious in midfield, attack and defence.

GH: Lingard against Villa. Two goals on debut, I think it’s very hard to argue that his arrival, and that performance, was transformational for the team.

LW: Another tough one to hand out, but Jesse Lingard’s debut against Aston Villa was memorable. It was exciting to watch and he really announced himself with two goals and great energy. It silenced the doubters, including myself!

BH: Lingard’s debut vs Aston Villa was electric. If he had any doubters they were proved wrong.  That turned the tide from Soucek being in the spotlight to our loaned Lingardinho. Runner up would be Coufal’s debut vs Leicester.

WP: Coufal away at Leicester. What a debut. Thrown in at the deep end against a brilliant side and did not put a foot wrong. Showed what was to come from the Czech sensation.

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