Blowing Bubbles End of Season Awards 2024

Blowing Bubbles writers Lucy Farrell, Geoff Hillyer, Meirion Williams, Brian Penn, Robert Banks, Olivia Elliott, Chris Wheal, Milly Thomson, David Bowden and Emily Pulham help us choose our End of Season award winners

Michail Antonio (WHU) celebrates scoring the second West Ham (2-2) at the West Ham United v Liverpool EPL match, at the London Stadium, London, UK on 27th April, 2024.

Player of the Season: Jarrod Bowen

Lucy Farrell: Strangely, there were a few options for this, which didn’t seem likely this season. But my vote is for Bowen. He’s had such a big impact in terms of goals and we couldn’t have done without him. Gutted he didn’t get to break his record on the last day of the season.

Geoff Hillyer: Bowen. Equalled the record for goals scored in a single season in the Premier League alongside Paolo Di Canio. Without him, we would have finished much lower in the league. Kudus gets an honourable mention here.

Meirion Williams: Bowen as a converted striker was simply outstanding this season and his England call up shows that others thought so too. It has to be Jarrod for me and no it has nothing to do with him being a local Herefordshire lad

Brian Penn: Jarrod Bowen, by a country mile. He flourished when switched to centre forward and became our top scorer. But how long will we hang onto him?

West Ham Rambles: Jarrod Bowen. 44 games, 20 goals, 10 assists. No competition.

Robert Banks: Jarrod Bowen. The guy continues to improve in leaps and bounds and his 16 Premier League goals beats John Hartson’s Premier League record of 15 goals for West Ham in 1997-98. In fact, he’s our highest individual top flight scorer for 37 years when Tony Cottee got 22 in 1986-87. Enough said.

Olivia Elliott: Emerson. Controversial, I know! He has been so consistent all season on the wing. We needed a player that’s happy to take a yellow when the opposition are on the attack and he does just that. Also that goal against Brentford sealed him as a winner for me.

Chris Wheal: Bowen. He got so close to that 20-goal target. We missed him when he wasn’t available. With him on the pitch, we always thought there was a chance, and he always looked pleased to be playing and enjoying himself.

Milly Thomson: Jarrod Bowen has improved so much every season and he only looks to be getting better, but after scoring 20 goals and 10 assists it just has to be him.

David Bowden: Jarrod Bowen scored 20 goals in all competitions, the first player since Marlon Harewood 19 years ago, and came perilously close to breaking the great Paolo Di Canio’s Premier League goalscoring record. Simply put, when he purred, West Ham purred. Make him skipper J Lo.

Emily Pulham: Mohammed Kudus for me – creative, driven, hungry, and hard-working. This is a man who shows up, works hard, and is skillful and talented enough to pull off stunning take-ons while not acting as if he’s bigger than the team, when he very well could be some day. He had more completed dribbles than anyone else in the Premier League this year – a whooping 124. For reference, the next highest player was 37 dribbles behind him.

Young Player of the Season: George Earthy

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Lucy Farrell: I’m going to go for the poor kid who has “scored” twice and in just a few appearances, had the fans asking for him to appear more often, Divin Mubama. He picked up the award last year too and I think he deserves it again. 

Geoff Hillyer: Earthy. He’s got a good future ahead of him. Scored his first goal for us against Luton, which was a great moment. He is the future and a sign of things to come.

Meirion Williams: George Earthy. He had a horrendous Premier League debut and I was really worried that his confidence may have been severely damaged. How wrong was I? Not only did he get his first league goal against Luton, but also looked confident when he came on during the latter stages of the Manchester City coronation game. 

Brian Penn: Difficult to judge as Moyes hasn’t given the youngsters a proper chance but George Earthy looks promising.

West Ham Rambles: George Earthy. We saw the Havering lad score his first goal for the first team against Luton, hopefully the first of many. Has had a great season for the under 23s, and will hopefully be part of the first team squad next season. 

Robert Banks: I’d heard good things about George Earthy and when he came on against Fulham, he looked like he had something about him before he got flattened. I was very pleased for him when he scored against Luton, I hope he gets a fair crack of the whip next season.

Olivia Elliott: George Earthy. It was like it was written in the stars after an unfortunate debut that left him injured. To come back with the same energy and passion we saw a glimpse of on his debut and to then score on his return it was the perfect story. 

Chris Wheal: Earthy. First a head injury and then that goal. That was some comeback. Moyes seemed to hate young players and rarely gave them a chance. Not many played and not for very long. I hope we see more of our young stars.

Milly Thomson: George Earthy. It hasn’t been the easiest season for him in the first team after getting taken off on a stretcher on his debut but every time he has come on he looks so hungry to get on the ball and I loved seeing his reaction after scoring against Luton. Hopefully he gets more chances next season.

David Bowden: George Earthy effortlessly slotted into the Hammers team during his limited time with the squad towards the end of the season. The way he moves on the ball and finds space reminds me in a small way of Phil Foden, and his goal against Luton was my moment of the season. Like many others, I look forward to seeing him thrive in Claret and Blue for years to come. 

Emily Pulham: George Earthy. We’ve seen so few young players come through the ranks lately, so even though we’ve seen very limited glimpses of young George Earthy, he’s done incredible work with his fleeting time on the pitch. He made four senior appearances for West Ham – and scored in one of them within a minute of coming on. 

Goal of the Season: Mohammed Kudus v Freiburg (5-0 H)

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Lucy Farrell: Kudus’ goal away at Man City. What an absolute stunner. We’ll be talking about that bicycle kick for years to come. 

Geoff Hillyer: Kudus v Man City (A). I don’t see an awful lot of difference between that goal and the likes of Rooney’s at Old Trafford, which everyone was salivating over. Unbelievable overhead goal.

Meirion Williams: It has to be Mohammed Kudus’ bicycle kick against Manchester City. It takes something special to silence a buoyant City crowd and that’s exactly what Mo did. You could almost hear a pin drop as it went in. It was a goal I can be proud to say I witnessed in person and even from my vantage point, I knew it was special.

Brian Penn: Mohammed Kudus v Freiburg Europa League, round of 16. It almost picks itself. An amazing solo effort, picking up the ball in his own half then dribbling through Freiberg’s defence, Virtuosity at its very best.

West Ham Rambles: Kudus’ Maradona-esque effort against Frieberg. I’ve watched it 50-odd times, and will watch it 50 more.

Robert Banks: Only one contender for me – Kudus’ first goal against Frieburg. Up there with the absolute best. If Maradona or Messi had scored that it would be on a continuous loop on Sky Sports. It would have its own channel in fact. It was good.

Olivia Elliott: Kudus’ goal against Freiburg. As soon as that goal went in, I said that’s better than Rice’s goal against Gent. What a run, what a player, and what a goal. He effortlessly went round four Freiburg players from our own half – what an incredible goal!  

Chris Wheal: Kudus’ solo goal against Freiburg probably even outshone the scissor kick against Brentford, which I also loved because Antonio did his classic body block and turn to get the cross in. But to dribble from well inside our half into their penalty area and then the perfect simple finish was timeless.

Milly Thomson: Kudus seems to have a catalogue of GOTS contentions this season. But the goal against Freiburg wins it for me. Just seeing him run through every player with ease and wondering how he still has the ball then calmly puts it past the keeper. It was unreal.

David Bowden: I am stuck between two Mo Kudus stunners. His wonder goal at the Etihad comes a close second to his solo strike against Freiberg. Watching how he breezed through that midfield and defence was a joy. We are lucky to have him, and you fear we might have to make the most of him while we have him, as it won’t be long before the vultures start to circle. 

Emily Pulham: Emerson v Brentford. Against Brentford, Emerson found himself in space 25 yards out from the goal. He was searching for the pass when the crowd screamed for him to shoot. This technique normally doesn’t work – but in this case, he took our advice to heart and sent an absolute screamer into the back of the net to guarantee West Ham’s first win of 2024, in late February no less – showing just how vital this win was for our points tally.

Best Team Performance of the Season: Against Arsenal (0-2 A)

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Lucy Farrell: I think the 2-0 win at Arsenal was impressive. Not a game we were expected to win, with what was at stake for the Gunners. We stopped their enthusiastic attacks, scored two and looked confident. 

Geoff Hillyer: Our effort v Bayer Leverkusen (H). I know we only drew, but we dominated an unbeaten team in Europe for about 65 minutes before tiring. It was a magnificent European performance.

Meirion Williams: Luton at home. One nil down at half time and looking completely clueless, I feared the worse. The resultant 3-1 victory secured our top 10 finish. Yes we beat Arsenal and no doubt scuppered their league title aspirations, but to end up in the top half of the table was important to me, so it’s Luton at the London Stadium for me 

Brian Penn: The 2-0 away win against Arsenal after Christmas is a real standout. A disciplined and controlled performance that stopped Arsenal going top of the table. 

West Ham Rambles: Arsenal 0 West Ham 2. Not flash, but disciplined and kept a clean sheet – which has been rare this season. More performances like this, and Moyes may still have been in a job. 

Robert Banks: I’ve been watching West Ham live since 1983. The first 45 minutes against Bayer Leverkusen is up there with the best efforts of the boys of 86 or anything the ‘exciting’ teams managed by Redknapp could muster. Sheer effort, focus and intensity. Without Emerson or Paqueta too.

Olivia Elliott: Arsenal away. It was perfect and quite literally a Moyes masterclass performance. Every player on the pitch worked so hard and got the reward at the end. To win 2-0 against Arsenal and Declan to give away a penalty was the cherry on the cake. Well done boys. 

Chris Wheal: I missed the Leverkusen match at home but my kids loved the atmosphere and were proud they were to be there and to be West Ham fans. You can’t ask for more than that.

Milly Thomson: Brighton away. Considering we do not have a good record against them I was fearing the worst heading into the game. Then I witnessed one of the best attacking displays we could have put on whilst also seeing Areola make many unreal saves to keep us in it.

David Bowden: Arsenal away. The game that you could argue ultimately cost Arteta’s men the title. Defensively superb and efficient in attack, it was the ultimate Moyesball, which proved to be the last evidence of the season. 

Emily Pulham: West Ham 5-0 SC Freiburg, March 2024. Everything against SC Freiburg was pitch-perfect. We went into the game 1-0 down, but the game plan and the team selection was spot on for us to run riot against the Germans. Kudus got two goals, Paqueta and Bowen grabbed one each, and even Aaron Cresswell got one. The players played with freedom, and even looked as if they were having fun – something we didn’t see enough of this year.

Best Individual Performance of the Season: Jarrod Bowen v Brentford (4-2 H)

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Lucy Farrell: Areola has to get a shoutout, so this one’s for him. He was monumental in the away win at Everton. Sure, he conceded one, but he also saved a penalty and nine other shots. He was instrumental in the three points that day. 

Geoff Hillyer: Bowen v Brentford at home. His first career hat-trick, he terrified the Bees all afternoon. Can’t remember the last time a West Ham player scored a hat-trick, so this gets my vote.

Meirion Williams: I think it has to be Lucius Paqueta against Wolves. He may not have scored but he had a had in all three goals. The win also came just a few days after we had rolled over to Fulham so was slightly unexpected. Kudus scored twice in that game but Paqueta was unplayable for large parts if that one and so my vote goes to the Brazilian 

Brian Penn: Jarrod Bowen’s hattrick against Brentford was pretty special. He was been in irresistible form all season. 

West Ham Rambles: Bowen v Brentford. A hat-trick from our player of the season. He was unstoppable in that game. 

Robert Banks: Difficult one but I’m going for Antonio away at Leverkusen. Absolute beast. They just didn’t know how to handle him. With a bit more support, who knows what might have been?

Olivia Elliott: Alvarez v Arsenal away. This was an easy one for me. It showed then that Alvarez was a fantastic Rice replacement. He was getting stuck in, challenging for the ball and really showed his determination to win the game. Hope to see this side of him more often. 

Chris Wheal: Bowen’s hat-trick at home against Brentford. Three very different goals. In the right place at the right time but with clinical finishing too.

Milly Thomson: Jarrod Bowen vs Brentford at home. It is not often a West Ham player scores a hat trick so I have to give this one to Bowen. After the few weeks of bad results that we had, it was a must win game against Brentford and Bowen made sure that we left with a deserved win.

David Bowden: Bowen vs Brentford at home: With the team suffering a bit of a blip, Bowen stepped up with a hat-trick, scored early, and took the pressure off his teammates. He worked his proverbial socks off that night, took his goals well, and just showed that he could lead by example. Take note, Julen.

Emily Pulham: Alphonse Areola v Everton, March 2024. Areola has had a lot of work to do this season with the amateurs in front of him, but some of his best work was during West Ham’s 3-1 victory at Everton. Areola made a remarkable nine saves during the match, and saved a penalty. It wasn’t quite a clean sheet – but it’s just as important to keep out goals as it is to score them.

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