The voting for the inaugural EPL Awards has concluded, and the Best of the Best of the 2008-2009 Premier League season can now be revealed as voted by you, the readers. More than 60,000 votes were cast to identify the best footballers, managers, blogs, podcasts, books and more.
Here were the winners, runner-up and editor’s choice winners in each of the 41 different categories.
Best and Worst EPL Players, Teams and Managers
So many awards honour footballers before the season is even over. Instead, the EPL Awards take the entire season into account to recognize the best footballers, teams and managers.
Manchester United won the 2008-2009 Premier League title, but the majority of readers voted Liverpool as the most exciting team of the season. With a goal difference of +50, six goals better than Manchester United, it’s no surprise that the Reds of Merseyside are the deserved winners.
Runner-Up: Manchester United
Editor’s Choice: Liverpool
While Liverpool was voted the most exciting team of the 08-09 season, the award for the most boring team went to Newcastle United who underwhelmed spectators and TV viewers all season long. Even the appointment of Alan Shearer as manager failed to add a spark to the Tyneside club who were eventually relegated alongside the category runner-up, Middlesbrough.
Winner: Newcastle United
Editor’s Choice: Newcastle United
Stoke City supporters not only banded together inside the Britannia Stadium to support their club this past season, but they also generated a powerful punch online to vote Thomas Sorensen as the best EPL goalkeeper. Runner-up and editor’s choice winner was Edwin Van der Sar who had a stellar season for Manchester United.
Winner: Thomas Sorensen
Runner-Up: Edwin Van der Sar
Editor’s Choice: Edwin Van der Sar
Senegalese centre back Abdoulaye Faye takes top honours in the category of Best EPL Defender. The Stoke City defender beat Nemanja Vidic of Manchester United. The Serbian defender also picked up the editor’s choice award.
Winner: Abdoulaye Faye (Stoke City)
Runner-Up: Nemanja Vidic (Man United)
Editor’s Choice: Nemanja Vidic (Man United)
In one of the hardest categories to pick a winner — due to readers being spoilt for choice with some of the best midfielders in the world to choose from — Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard won the voter’s award with Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo coming in second place. EPL Talk decided to hand the editor’s choice award to Chelsea’s Frank Lampard after an incredible season.
Winner: Steven Gerrard (Liverpool)
Runner-Up: Cristiano Ronaldo (Man United)
Editor’s Choice: Frank Lampard (Chelsea)
Not surprisingly, Spanish striker Fernando Torres was the winner in the Best EPL Striker category for the 2008-09 Premiership season. The striker has scored 57 goals since joining Liverpool in 2007. The runner-up in the category was Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney.
Winner: Fernando Torres (Liverpool)
Runner-Up: Wayne Rooney (Man United)
Editor’s Choice: Fernando Torres (Liverpool)
Tony Pulis won the votes for both the Best EPL Manager and Most Improved EPL Manager of 2008-2009. The Welshman took everyone’s favorite relegation pick to great heights by building a cohesive team that were difficult to break down, full of spirit and packed with their secret weapon, Rory Delap. Sir Alex Ferguson picks up the runner-up and editor’s choice awards.
Winner: Tony Pulis (Stoke City)
Runner-Up: Alex Ferguson (Man United)
Editor’s Choice: Alex Ferguson (Man United)
While the readers voted Tony Pulis as the most improved manager of 08-09, Roy Hodgson won the editor’s choice and runner-up awards for taking a Fulham side that narrowly escaped relegation last season and turned them into an attractive football side that qualified for Europe. Craven Cottage is no longer an easy three points for opposition teams.
Winner: Tony Pulis (Stoke City)
Runner-Up: Roy Hodgson (Fulham)
Editor’s Choice: Roy Hodgson (Fulham)
It’s unanimous. Hull City’s Phil Brown picked up the Worst EPL Manager award despite narrowly escaping relegation. Perhaps it was that infamous half-time team talk on the pitch against Manchester City or the freefall in the second half of the season. In second place and the recipient of the editor’s choice award was Juande Ramos who only achieved two points for Tottenham Hotspur by the time Harry Redknapp replaced him as manager.
Winner: Phil Brown (Hull City)
Runner-Up: Juande Ramos (Tottenham Hotspur)
Editor’s Choice: Juande Ramos (Tottenham Hotspur)
The English PFA awarded Ryan Giggs with the top honours, but the readers of EPL Talk disagreed in large numbers with Steven Gerrard winning the top prize (and editor’s choice award) for a fantastic season that culminated in Liverpool almost winning the title and playing an exciting brand of football that generated a better goal difference that any team in the league. Plus his link-up play with Fernando Torres was exquisite to watch. Manchester United’s Nemanja Vidic won the runner-up award.
Winner: Steven Gerrard (Liverpool)
Runner-Up: Nemanja Vidic (Man United)
Editor’s Choice: Steven Gerrard (Liverpool)
While Ashley Young won the PFA Young Player of The Year competition, the Aston Villa speedster didn’t win the EPL Talk equivalent honour. Instead the vote went to Ryan Shawcross of Stoke City who was a revelation in the back four for the team and deservedly won the top honours. Runner-up was Stephen Ireland who was the backbone of a Manchester City team even when they were in freefall. The editor’s choice award goes to Maroune Felliani who was a revelation up front for Everton during an incredibly successful season for the Toffees.
Winner: Ryan Shawcross (Stoke City)
Runner-Up: Stephen Ireland (Man City)
Editor’s Choice: Maroune Felliani (Everton)
Best EPL TV, Radio and Podcast Coverage
Television, radio and podcasts are such an important part of the lives for followers of the Premier League. Without them, the vast majority of us would be cut off from enjoying the Premiership action as well as learning about the tactics and hearing the banter and discussion about the world’s most popular sports league.
No surprises here. Martin Tyler continues to be at the top of his game with his unmistakeable voice, encyclopedia of knowledge and just the right tempo during those all important Premier League matches. He makes a boring game interesting, and an interesting game dynamic. Congratulations to Jon Champion, runner-up in this category, also.
Winner: Martin Tyler
Runner-Up: Jon Champion
Editor’s Choice: Martin Tyler
If you played a word association game with commentators, when you think Martin Tyler, you may also think Andy Gray. The Scot is opinionated, precise and calls it as he sees it. Unfortunately many of us around the world aren’t blessed with hearing his co-commentating skills, but nevertheless he got enough votes to win the category. The very talented Robbie Earle picked up the runner-up and editor’s choice award.
Winner: Andy Gray
Runner-Up: Robbie Earle
Editor’s Choice: Robbie Earle
In a category with a lot of tough competition, Fox Soccer Channel’s Nick Webster won the award for Best EPL TV Presenter beating runner-up Paul Dempsey from Setanta and editor’s choice winner James Richardson (also of Setanta). Webster gained international notoriety for covering the Beckham move to LA Galaxy which was broadcasted around the world on Sky Sports. Closer to home, Webster does an admirable job of hosting many TV programs on Fox Soccer Channel each week.
Winner: Nick Webster (Fox Soccer Channel)
Runner-Up: Paul Dempsey (Setanta)
Editor’s Choice: James Richardson (Setanta)
While the TV presenter gets much of the limelight, it’s his fellow pundit – some may argue – that has the more difficult position with the pressure of analyzing a game and speaking off the cuff to provide insight to the TV viewer. First place in this category is Pat Dolan of Setanta who has done an impressive job alongside presenter Paul Dempsey. Fox Soccer Report’s Bobby McMahon won the runner-up and editor’s choice awards.
Winner: Pat Dolan (Setanta)
Runner-Up: Bobby McMahon (Fox Soccer Channel)
Editor’s Choice: Bobby McMahon (Fox Soccer Channel)
Football news shows are such an important element of how we get the latest information, scores and transfer gossip. Leading the pack is the nightly Fox Soccer Report show that sums up the day’s action from around the world, providing insight, highlights and news from the top leagues. Setanta Sports News won the runner-up award, while Sky Sports Through The Night picked up the editor’s choice nod.
Winner: Fox Soccer Report (Fox Soccer Channel)
Runner-Up: Setanta Sports News (Setanta)
Editor’s Choice: Through The Night (Sky Sports)
Special1 TV was the hands-down winner in the Best EPL Feature TV Show category bringing us tons of giggles, laughs and smiles during a season full of scandals that would even make a soap opera blush. The show which has been a viral video hit also won the editor’s choice award, while Fox Football Fone-In picked up the runner-up award.
Winner: Special 1 TV (Setanta)
Runner-Up: Fox Football Fone-In (Fox Soccer Channel)
Editor’s Choice: Special 1 TV (Setanta)
We all love goal highlight shows on television, and it’s no surprise that the show that’s an institution in England, BBC’s Match Of The Day, won the top honours. Coming in second place and also receiving the editor’s choice award was the EPL Review Show, which is a well produced and glossy TV show that perfectly sums up every goal and highlight of each weekend Premiership match.
Winner: Match Of The Day (BBC)
Runner-Up: EPL Review (IMG)
Editor’s Choice: EPL Review (IMG)
Radio commentating is an art form in England and no one does it better than the BBC. The recipient of the top award in the category is Alan Green, who also won the editor’s choice award, while fellow colleague John Motson won the runner-up award.
Winner: Alan Green (BBC)
Runner-Up: John Motson (BBC)
Editor’s Choice: Alan Green (BBC)
The radio airwaves are filled with football shows but none do it better than the BBC especially in terms of caller-driven shows that encapsulate the mood (and sometimes gloom) of English football fans. The cream of the crop is 606 which won the people’s vote, while BBC’s World Football Phone-In show, hosted by Dotun Adebayo, won the runner-up slot and editor’s choice award.
In addition to winning the Best Radio Commentator award, BBC’s Alan Green also picks up the Best EPL Radio Show Host award followed by colleague Danny Baker who takes the runner-up award. Love him or hate him, Steven Cohen wins the editor’s choice award for always making his shows interesting and adding a ton of excitement and intrigue to his coverage of the EPL.
Football podcasts are now a dime a dozen, but there’s only one that’s at the top of their game and that’s the one from The Guardian named Football Weekly, which win’s the people’s choice and editor’s choice awards for its successful twice-weekly show hosted by James Richardson. Second place goes to The Goalmouth Scramble from SoccerPro, which is definitely worth a listen if you haven’t done so already.
Club specific podcasts are becoming more popular as football supporters seek shows that are all about their club. At the top of the list is The Spurs Show hosted by Phil Cornwell and Mike Leigh which is so entertaining that I don’t miss a single episode even though I’m not a Tottenham supporter (hence the reason it receives my editor’s choice award). In second place, not that far behind, was ArseCast, the Arsenal podcast from the successful Arseblogger.
Winner: The Spurs Show
Editor’s Choice: The Spurs Show
Phil Cornwell, the comedian and actor, picked up the Best EPL Podcast Presenter award in a category with tough competition from James Richardson of Football Weekly. Cornwell, ever entertaining and a master of the Martin Jol impersonation, deservedly won not only for his entertainment factor but his honest and insightful commentary on life as a Tottenham Hotspur supporter which isn’t always full of joy. The equally talented James Richardson won the editor’s choice and runner-up awards.
Football Weekly’s Barry Glendenning won the massive majority of votes in the EPL Podcast Pundit category. His quick wit, uncensored opinions and responsibility of keeping James Richardson in line won the hearts and minds of EPL Talk readers worldwide (as well as the editor’s choice award). Gabriele Marcotti of TheGame Podcast won the runner-up award.
Best EPL Blogs, Websites and Books
While television, radio and podcasts are an important element of our Premier League diet, we’re spending more and more time consuming our information through blogs, websites and the ever increasing number of intelligent books published about our beautiful game.
Dirty Tackle surprised many of us with a come-from-behind win to earn the award for Best EPL Blog. The Run Of Play, meanwhile, picked up the runner-up and editor’s choice awards. Congratulations to both blogs.
The very competitive category of Best EPL Club Blog was won by ArseBlog from OleOle. Each morning, the Arsenal supporter brings Gunners fans the latest news, opinion and insight into what’s happening at Ashburton Grove. Judging by the vast number of comments the blog receives, you can see how the blog strikes a chord with Arsenal fans worldwide. In second place and also the recipient of the editor’s choice award is Republik of Mancunia, which is definitely a Manchester United blog that is highly recommended.
The life of a blogger writing about the Premier League is not glamorous, doesn’t pay much and takes a huge amount of devotion and patience. Therefore it’s with great honour to recognize Brian Phillips of The Run Of Play blog with the Best EPL Blogger award (and editor’s choice award) for his original and thought provoking writing. Congratulations should also go to Rob Parker for finishing in second place for his equally impressive Off The Post blog. Both are highly recommended reading.
Bobby McMahon is an encyclopedia of football knowledge and this shows itself in his well-written and always informative blog that’s hidden deep inside the Fox Soccer website. McMahon has built a following of information hungry readers and serves them up a delightful meal of eye-opening statistics, history about the game and clinical observations about the top leagues from around the world. Congratulations to fellow Fox Soccer blogger Nick Webster for picking up the runner-up award.
Winner: Bobby McMahon
Runner-Up: Nick Webster
Editor’s Choice: Bobby McMahon
EPL Talk decided to honour the best in social networking for football, which is a relatively new trend to bring football fans together online to create communities where they share their passion for their team and country. At the top of the list is Footbo, which won both the people’s choice and editor’s choice award, followed closely by OleOle which received the runner-up award.
Until the Premier League develops an official site with video highlights that we can download legally, we continue to rely on sites such as FootyTube and 101 Great Goals which are godsends — pointing us in the direction of where we can see goal highlights that are hosted on sites far around the world and often in different languages. Congratulations to FootyTube for taking top honours, and to 101 Great Goals for winning the editor’s choice and runner-up awards.
The field of fantasy football games is continuing to increase in popularity and it’s no surprise that the Fantasy Premier League from the official Premier League site is cream of the crop. Not only because it’s free but also because it’s well designed, easy to use and very addictive. Congratulations to The Guardian for being runner-up in the category.
There are so many betting sites on the Internet that it’s sometimes very difficult to find those that are the best of the best. Thanks to the readers of EPL Talk, they’ve done the work for you. FreeBetting won the category for Best EPL Betting Site with Bet 365 coming close behind in second place (losing only by one vote). The editor’s choice award goes to BetUknow for it’s easy to use and equally addictive site.
Message forums are an important ingredient in the life of a supporter of a Premier League club, so it’s with great honour to recognize BigSoccer as the winner of both the people’s choice and editor’s choice awards for this category, while VitalFootball collects the runner-up honour.
The future of Premier League football is watching it online, so in this very important category the top honour goes to FoxSoccer.tv for its delivery of EPL matches available online each week. ESPN 360 picked up the runner-up award, while the editor’s choice – despite early growing pains – goes to Setanta i for its impressive product that I believe will transform the way we watch football. Congratulations to all three winners.
When it comes to network TV stations, the competition to get viewers to go online and read about their favorite sport is quite fierce. At the top of the pack is FoxSoccer.com followed closely by BBC Sport. Congratulations to both on two very successful and informative web sites.
After it’s redesign last year, The Guardian has created the center of the universe in terms of football coverage with a combination of excellent well-written articles, opinionated blog posts, podcast episodes, photo galleries and more. Congratulations to The Guardian for raising the bar in coverage. The Times should also be recognized for its second place finish in a very competitive category.
In the very competitive world of online journalism, Kevin McCarra rose above the other highly qualified writers and deservedly won the Best EPL Journalist award for his consistently insightful and well-written articles that sum up the magic of the Premier League. The also impressive Gabriele Marcotti won the runner-up award. My pick for the editor’s choice award goes to David Conn who is one of the few left of the dying breed of investigative reporters. When you want insight into how money is ruining the game of football, there’s no better than David Conn to learn the facts and figures.
Winner: Kevin McCarra (The Guardian)
Runner-Up: Gabriele Marcotti (The Times)
Editor’s Choice: David Conn (The Guardian)
The e-mail newsletter is a dying breed in football, but The Guardian and The Times continue to deliver an insightful and often humourous glimpse of the world of Premier League football (and elsewhere) with their weekday newsletters. Top honours go to The Fiver which also won the editor’s choice award, while Ahead Of The Game from the Times wins the runner-up award.
There were plenty of intelligent and well-written football books to choose from that were published this season, but the one that opened many eyes and deservedly won the top honour was The Fix by Declan Hill which investigates the corruption and betting scandals within football that are poisoning the sport. Second place and the editor’s choice award went to Inverting The Pyramid which examines the history of football formations, and is also highly recommended.
Winner: The Fix by Declan Hill
Runner-Up: Inverting The Pyramid by Jonathan Wilson
Editor’s Choice: Inverting The Pyramid by Jonathan Wilson
And see who the latest winners are in the most recent EPL Awards!