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Bitter and Blue end of season awards

2008/09 is the fourth season I have covered City since setting up Bitter and Blue, and at each season end have been the annual awards (2005/06, 2006/07, 2007/08).

A season in which we saw expectation, disappointment, frustration, and hope for next season (with my preview here) - largely like any other season then, but perhaps and a greater scale than we previously witnessed.

Without further ado then, here are the 2008/09 Bitter and Blue end of season awards:

Bitter and Blue player of the season

Given the inconsistent displays that typified his City career to date, I don't think expectations of Stephen Ireland were too high going into the season. So for him to play at such a high level for the whole season was a surprise, but the accolades and plaudits have been richly deserved. Amazing to look back and think he could have been headed out of the club at the start of the season. The best news? He can only go on to become even better.

Winner - Stephen Ireland.

2007/08 - Joe Hart.
2006/07 - Richard Dunne.
2005/06 - David James.

Bitter and Blue readers player of the season

Again, no surprise and Stephen Ireland absolutely destroyed the competition gaining 86% of your votes to easily take the award. As an aside, could there have been a worse defence of a title?

Winner - Stephen Ireland.

2007/08 - Darius Vassell.
2006/07 - Richard Dunne.
2005/06 - Richard Dunne/David James (tie).

Breakthrough player of the season

The much vaunted academy had another productive year, both in terms of results and the graduation of players into the senior set up. However, one player who was perhaps thought to be surplus to requirements at the outset, took the opportunities he got to very much put himself in the frame for next season. A return of eight goals from fourteen starts was a good one and Felipe Caicedo ended the season as the man in possession.

Winner - Felipe Caicedo.

2007/08 - Joe Hart.
2006/07 - Michael Johnson.
2005/06 - Micah Richards.

Overachiever of the season

There have been some real impressive performances this season. Players performing to a high level, on a consistent basis for the large part of the season. Stephen Ireland (obviously) the prime example, with Pablo Zabaleta and Shay Given earning deserved praise in what were their first seasons at the club. However, has any player had such an unexpected impact as Nedum Onouha? Injury plagued and down the pecking order heading into the season, he has made the centre-half spot his own and turned in his best season. Now, he is on the fringes of the international set-up and could be earmarked as a future captain.

Winner - Nedum Onouha.

2007/08 - Didi Hamman.
2006/07 - Nicky Weaver.
2005/06 - Andrew Cole.

Underachiever of the season

A couple of players have perhaps not been at the level you would have hoped over the course of the season - namely Richard Dunne and Elano, but has any players star fallen quite as much as Micah Richards? From England regular, he is now a million miles from an international call up. His form in the middle of defence suffered, so much so that he was moved back out to right back. Arguably at a cross roads now, he needs to rebound with a huge season to get back on track.

Winner - Micah Richards.

2007/08 - Sun Jihai.
2006/07 - Bernardo Corradi.
2005/06 - Danny Mills.

Performance of the season

It may be strange to pick a defeat as performance of the season, but it despite crashing out to Hamburg, we were literally inches from overturning a disastrous first leg. From the very first minute, the spirit, passion, commitment and quality was there as we completely over ran Hamburg. The evening brought an end to our UEFA Cup season, but perhaps signified a glimpse of what maybe to come in the future.

Winner - Hamburg (home).

2007/08 - United (away).
2006/07 - Middlesbrough (away).
2005/06 - United (home).

Goal of the season

Often maligned at times this season, particular for his displays away from home, Robinho will always be labelled with the £32 million tag. I think he has come in for some unjust criticism and some of his displays have been outstanding. His goal in the 3-0 victory over Arsenal was superb, and an embodiment of the talent he possesses.

Winner - Robinho v Arsenal (h).

2007/08 - Elano v Newcastle (h).
2006/07 - Giorgios Samaras v West Ham (h).
2005/06 - Danny Mills v Everton (h).

Incident of the season

Not so much off the field drama has occurred during the course of the season (thankfully) in comparison to previous season. For once, we kept a manager, no real player huffs, and no sign of another takeover in sight. Whilst the money we have put us at the head of the queue for all and sundry back in August, no-one I'm sure expected the August transfer window to close with us having signed Robinho. A definite day of drama.

Winner - The Robinho signing.

2008/09 - The sacking of Sven.
2007/08 - The sacking of Stuart Pearce.
2006/07 - Joey Barton's transfe request

So there you have it. Season 2008/09 in the bag and for once, it appears as though it will be a summer of relative stability in comparison to recent summers.

Don't expect it to be a quite one though.