90min's 2020/21 Championship end of season awards

11 May 2021 07:15

As the dust settles on another gloriously bonkers season of Championship action, there's nothing quite like an end-of-season award ceremony to get us all riled up again.

With just the lottery of the play-offs to come, 90min takes a look back at the 2020/21 Championship campaign and picked out the individuals we think deserve recognition for their stellar seasons - and no need to don your tuxedo, this is an award ceremony with a twist.

Player of the Year - Emiliano Buendia

Emiliano Buendia has been at the forefront of Norwich's superb campaign | James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

Right, first of all we're going to address the elephant in the room - if Brentford had been promoted automatically it would undoubtedly have been Ivan Toney.

The frontman has been sensational this season, spearheading the Bees' promotion tilt and smashing the Championship record for goals in a single season. However, where's it got them? If he scores a hat-trick in the play-off final then we'll hold our hands up, but until then there can only be one winner.

Few expected Emiliano Buendia to remain at Norwich following their relegation last season, but stay with them he did and he's been head and shoulders above the rest of the division.

In 39 league outings the Argentinian midfielder has bagged 15 goals and 17 assists, leading Norwich's charge back to the Premier League - we really don't feel like we need to give much more of an explanation that that,

Honourable Mentions: Ivan Toney, Alex Mowatt

Young Player of the Year - Michael Olise

19-year-old Michael Olise has been excellent this season | Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

The Championship has been awash with talented youngsters this season and so this award is one of the toughest to judge.

Liverpool loanee Harvey Elliott has enjoyed a superb season with Blackburn Rovers while Max Aarons has continued his rapid development with Norwich, though it's Reading's Michael Olise who gets the nod.

The 19-year-old has cemented his place in the Royals' starting XI this season and has been a consistent performer despite his side's peaks and troughs throughout the campaign.

Honourable Mentions: Harvey Elliott, Max Aarons

Manager of the Year - Valerien Ismael

Valerien Ismael has transformed Barnsley's season | Visionhaus/Getty Images

Alright, so he's not been in charge for the full season but it would have been criminal to overlook the job done by Valerien Ismael at Barnsley.

Nobody expected Barnsley to even finish in the top half this season, nevermind make it all the way to the play-offs.

Just three defeats in the Tykes' final 21 games of the league campaign have seen them catapult themselves into the promotion mix and they're now just a few games away from an unlikely return to the Premier League.

Of course some managers have enjoyed more success this season but no boss has defied the odds quite like Ismael.

Honourable Mentions: Daniel Farke, Xisco

Goal of the Season - Jamal Lowe vs Cardiff

Given the occasion and the quality of the strike, there could only be one winner here.

Jamal Lowe didn't enjoy the most prolific of campaigns with Swansea this season, though his double against rivals Cardiff will live long in the memory of Swans fans.

His second of the game put the result beyond doubt and it absolutely oozed class, picking up the ball near the centre circle, skipping past two Bluebirds defenders before creating a yard of space with a cute little step inside and curling the ball with the outside of his boot and into the bottom corner.

A moment of pure class that deserved to be showcased in front of a packed house.

Honourable Mentions: Harvey Elliott vs Norwich, Fraizer Campbell vs Nottingham Forest

The Chris Iwelumo 'oh sh*t' award - Lucas Joao

Right then, we've done enough back-patting for now.

Lucas Joao enjoyed comfortably the best season of his career as he spearheaded Reading's ultimately unsuccessful promotion bid, but there's one moment that particularly caught the eye.

The Royals found themselves level with fellow play-off chasers Barnsley with just 15 minutes to play when a mixup at the back gave Joao the opportunity to clinch all three points. What followed would have even made Ronny Rosenthal blush, as he somehow missed the target from about 15 yards out with the goal gaping.

Somewhere in the world Nwankwo Kanu was in absolute stitches.

The Lockdown Legacy award - Barnsley fans

It's been a challenging season for all us football fans as we've been forced to watch our beloved teams from home.

That being said, a lucky few have been able to watch from afar from balconies and bedroom windows - that's too mainstream for Barnsley fans. We've got so many questions we want to ask but sometimes it's just best to accept it and doff your cap.

The Boudewijn Zenden snake hips award - Asmir Begovic

If you don't remember Boudewijn Zenden attempting to mimic Asamoah Gyan's celebratory dance at Stamford Bridge then please go and immediately remind yourself.

Forget not seeing friends and family, undoubtedly the worst thing about lockdown is we've all been deprived the chance to hone our unbelievable dancing skills on a weekend/embarrass ourselves and be constantly reminded about it by our mates.

However, one man has clearly been putting the graft in behind closed doors. Take it away, Asmir Begovic.

Such grace, such fluidity, such movement, such timing. Cannot wait to glide onto the dancefloor with that little number in a few weeks.

The Mike Bassett 'what is he on about' award - Neil Warnock

We've all found ourselves doing stupid things in lockdown whether it be attempting to bake, trying to get fit or just sitting in front of the television all day watching the same channel because we're too lazy to find the remote.

One thing we've not done is compared ourselves to Coronation Street's very own cagoule-laden lothario Roy Cropper. Seriously, what's Neil Warnock on about?

The most irritating thing of the season, sponsored by that Peloton advert - Wayne Rooney's Derby County

Derby County are now known as 'Wayne Rooney's Derby County' | Alex Pantling/Getty Images

You know the advert we mean. How f***ing annoying is it?! About 20 times a day!

Anyway, the only thing more annoying than that Peloton advert is 'Wayne Rooney's Derby County'. No longer just 'Derby County', a few years on from 'Frank Lampard's Derby County', they've now changed their name again apparently.

Seriously, we get it, Wayne Rooney, we know the fella, he's a manager, he's the manager of Derby County, it's really easy to remember so STOP SAYING IT!

Team of the Season

Grant Hanley and Emiliano Buendia both make our Team of the Season | Stephen Pond/Getty Images

Unsurprisingly, champions Norwich boast a strong contingent in our team of the year with Grant Hanley, Max Aarons and Buendia all recognised.

Bournemouth's Arnaut Danjuma has finally found his feet in English football having notched an impressive 15 goals in 33 league outings, while Alex Mowatt has once again been Barnsley's standout player in their stellar campaign.

Meanwhile, the Championship's leading goalscorer Toney leads the line alongside Blackburn hitman Adam Armstrong.

Team of the Season:

Freddie Woodman (GK)
Max Aarons (RB)
Grant Hanley (CB)
Michal Helik (CB)
Adam Masina (LB)
Emiliano Buendia (RM)
Alex Mowatt (CM)
Michael Olise (AM)
Arnaut Danjuma (LM)
Adam Armstrong (ST)
Ivan Toney (ST)

Honourable Mentions: Tim Krul, Michal Helik, Nick Powell, Teemu Pukki

Source: 90min