Crippy's End of Term Report
As another frustrating Premier League season ends, fellow Villa fan and football writer Crippy Cooke gives his assessment of our 17th place finish in his end of term report.
Crippy, whose articles have featured in Zoo, MSN, London 24, Huffington Post and The Telegraph, was recently named Writer of the Year for 90 Min.
Player of the Season
“Fabian Delph edges it over Alan Hutton for me. Fans will be torn with this decision and may well have thrown Ciaran Clark or Christian Benteke into the mix, such is how our season has surprisingly turned out. From start to finish, however, I feel Delph has been the most consistent. He certainly hit the best form of his career under new manager Tim Sherwood.”
Game of the Season
“Aston Villa's 3-3 clash vs QPR. Not a good game for both sets of managers, but incredible viewing for a supporter. Chances at each end and both sides found themselves ahead at one stage in the game. It took a late equaliser by hat-trick man Christian Benteke to send the home crowd into delirium. Memorable.”
Goal of the Season
“For sure it has to be Christian Benteke scoring a brilliant curled effort from a difficult wide angle in the second-half to cut the deficit against Manchester United at the time. The hosts went on to win the game 3-1, but it was still a truly brilliant effort from the Belgian, as beating David De Gea in the United goal takes some doing.”
Unsung Hero of the Season
“Ciaran Clark. whose incredible turnaround in the defence this season doesn’t get nearly enough credit. He wasn’t expecting to feature heavily, with Ron Vlaar and Philippe Senderos the two first-choices at centre-back at the start of the season, but the Irishman has quickly matured into the role, benefiting from injuries to the aforementioned duo.”
Best Moment of the Season
“Beating Midlands rivals West Bromwich Albion at Villa Park in this season’s FA Cup quarter-final. Typically for a derby game, it was a fiery encounter throughout and there was a pitch invasion at the death. The media harshly condemned the club and its supporters after the game for the invasion halting proceedings before the final whistle, but the images of the fans rejoicing on such hallowed turf will be remembered for a lifetime.”
Are you happy with Tim Sherwood as Aston Villa's manager this season?
“Delighted. The appointment could hardly have gone better, with survival in the Premier League all but confirmed and an FA Cup final clash against Arsenal to come at the end of May. The decision to replace the sacked Paul Lambert with Tim Sherwood has saved the club from turmoil. Wins against Tottenham, Everton and Liverpool (FA Cup) have proven Villa can stand up to the best in the division and supporters are dreaming of top-half contention next season.”
Where do the club need to strengthen in the summer and who would you like to see at the club next season?
“We need a central midfielder, a winger and a striker this summer. Tom Cleverley is our number one target for the midfield, but I think Sherwood could plump for former Tottenham midfielder Tom Huddlestone. As for wingers, Matt Phillips and Victor Moses could flourish at a club like Aston Villa next season. Rudy Gestede (Blackburn) would be a good signing should Christian Benteke be sold. The Rovers man hit 20 league goals last season and provides a similar threat to the Belgian. He wouldn’t come cheap, but would be worth every penny.”
Sum up Aston Villa's season in 3 words
“Resurrected under Sherwood.”