2011 was a right a bugger of a year. Huge bugger. Tremendous bugger. Oh what a bugger.

We’ve watched our club undergo a cataclysmic change in fortune – from play-off places to the verge of relegation and financial oblivion. People have come and gone. Adrian, Raymond, Leonard, Kenneth, Marlon, Keiren. The squad decimated, many scarpering as soon as they got the chance.

A few weeks back, things hit rock bottom as we sunk to the bottom of the Championship. We couldn’t buy a win, and even taking the constraints he’s working under, the overriding good will and understanding towards new boss Andy Thorn appeared to be waining, and people started to swear at him far more than they ever did before.

Things may just be looking up though. Back to back wins to finish the year have brought us off the bottom, and back with a fighting chance*.

News of a takeover bid continues to rumble along, but the noises are positive.

While he’s no longer immune from criticism, Thorn still remains popular, with support continuing to eminate from the stands and pushing the team on.

The year has left us in a terrible position. We’ve a massive effort ahead of us, but these wins and prospect of new owners have us moving into 2012 with at least a glimmer of hope. I think that’s all any of us really wanted.

*Yes I know, having lost to West Ham after this was published, we’re back bottom again.

The winners

So, after much deliberation (about 24 minutes), the results of the Sky Blues Blog Awards 2011 are in.

These awards recognise those who have had an impact on our club over the past 12 months. The good, the bad, and the plain mad.

Please show your appreciation for the following “winners” – they are most deserving.

The Mo Konjic award for outstanding lunacy: Richard Keogh

He started 2011 in my bad books for being responsible for a whole load of goals on account of his inherent madness. Since his move into the middle of the defence, he’s won me over. I’m sorry for ever calling you a jelly-legged wally, Rich.

He’ll still have the occassional Mo Konjic drive forward, but has learnt to pick his moment, as well as find a pass at the end of it, even if it is one backwards. This is a welcome change to his previous 40 yard runs, which would often culminate in a realisation that he was massively out of position, borderline panic attack, followed by a tame pass to the oppposition and a giant gap for them to take advantage of.

The man has become a machine though, throwing himself into every tackle as if it’s his last, galloping across the defensive line like a Black Beauty/Spongebob hybrid, and performing some of the most elaborate dives you ever will see. Has been tremendous since Thorn took over. What a guy.

The Craig Bellamy award for being a git:  Marlon King

I don’t think we’ll ever know the full truth about what was said, and what he was supposed to have agreed to. What you can see however, is that Marlon King couldn’t really care less what people think of him. We were daft for ever thinking he’d want to stay. Well deserved.

The Michael Doyle award for making it look like you try really hard: Aron Gunnarsson

Aron was the prince of PR. He knew how to work the crowd. Whether it was a token lunge at a player who had already beaten him, a punch of the chest when he scored, or staying out the longest to clap the JSB’s after the game.

That’s all very nice, but I wish he’d spent more time *actually* trying hard, rather than worrying about creating the illusion of doing so.

The Onye Igwe award for being a dipstick: Onye Igwe

I’m sure Onye is a nice enough man. He’s the decision maker and brains behind what SISU do however. He and Raymond didn’t see eye-to-eye, and having listened to his interviews and heard him talk ‘football’ in person, I’m far from convinced. No matter what his qualifications and expertise in the business and finance world, the guy don’t know football. Or football club management, for that matter.

The Clarrie Bourton award for goalscoring: Lukas Jutkiewicz

We don’t score too many. Lukeyjuke has continued to grab the goals in a struggling team though, and for that I salute him. The only other contender was Marlon, but given the players he had around him, and the fact that he’s also a giant swine, you can’t really compare the two. Good job, Lukas. Do stay.

The Chris Coleman award for being fancied by men: Carl Baker

It’s been a topsy turvy year for Carl. Some impressive performances, scattered amongst countless shockers. He’s capable of good games, but given his stick insect frame and the general level he’s played at during his career, there’s no real getting away from the fact that he simply won’t be able to do it week in week out.

I still find myself swooning over his niceness though. A memorable moment was as he stepped off the coach at Doncaster, and even though his form was despicable at the time, I found myself uttering the words “Alright Carl, Howdo man!” with such gusto and excitement.

I’ve never said Howdo in my life. I was a little scared by this. What an impact this fundamentally likeable chap had on me.

The Cobi Jones award for best haircut: Gael Bigirimana

Marvellous effort on the flicky fluffy spikey hair, Gael. A lot of time appears to have gone into that. As everyone’s favourite fisherman Paul Gascoigne used to say: If you look neat and tidy, you’ll feel neat and tidy, and play neat and tidy.

The Darren Huckerby award for best goal: Gary McSheffrey v Burnley

A fairly easy decision this one. I can only think of 5 half-decent goals, and McSheffrey scored 3 of them (one being his goal against Brighton). Honourable mention to Sammy for his cracking strike against Doncaster, and Carl Baker’s FA Cup goal at the beginnng of the year was also mighty sweet.

McSheffrey’s jinky/floaty effort away at Burnley signalled the arrival of Andy Thorn and his more attractive approach to the game. He’s not had a very good year at all, but when it comes to providing moments of quality, McSheffrey still more than capable.

The Roland Nilsson award for being a class act: Martin Cranie

Nudey party photos aside, the man oozes class. Glides along the back line, mopping up any nonsense from the midfielders, only in a less noticeable fashion than SpongeBob Keoghpants.

The most useless moment of the year award sponsored by Paul Trollope: Michael McIndoe

He didn’t get much of a look-in during 2011, but he was still able to provide us with this moment of ultimate uselessness.

Picture the scene – Mr McIndoe, having found himself cast aside by Aidy Boothroyd, was given a second chance by caretaker boss Thorn. This was his moment to impress.

Working for possession on the touchline in front of his new manager, he managed to get his foot to the ball first and flick it above the opposing player and into open space. “Brilliant Michael!” screamed Thorn.

This was it. The moment all left wingers dream of. Open space in front of them. Giggs would have flown. Bale would have lapped it up.

Michael McIndoe, shat himself. The pressure of a defender no less than 8 yards away was too great, and he smashed the ball back over his head and out of play.

A professional footballer everyone.

Bloody hell fire.



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