Get the red carpet out and dust off the big circular tables, it’s time for the 3 Added Minutes alternative end-of-season awards, a ceremony dedicated to finding any possible category which can’t be won by Erling ruddy Haaland.
While the Norwegian striker scoops up everything from player of the season to semi-sentient ChatGPT-run death robot of the year, we’ve gone looking for excuses to celebrate some of the weird, wonderful and half-forgotten moments of the season that deserve to be remembered with a little statuette and a brief acceptance speech, if nothing else. Enjoy…
The best real-life rendition of a scene from the Simpsons award
Some honourable mentions here. Wout Faes offered up a tribute to Sideshow Bob with both his hair and two own goals against Liverpool, which was presumably an interpretative representation of the bit where he steps on a series of unfortunately-placed rakes. Cristian Stellini modelled his entire look and demeanour on Jasper, the cranky old man of “that’s a paddlin’” fame.
But even that level of commitment couldn’t match the effort of Manchester United’s Casemiro, who managed an astonishingly accurate, frame-by-frame remake of Homer throttling Bart while yelling “why you little…” with the unfortunate Will Hughes as the unwilling supporting actor.
The Ian Holloway award for most rambling interview
Perhaps the best entertainment of the season was not to be found in Southampton, where the Brentesque stylings of Nathan Jones kept us all amused for the three months he was in charge at St. Mary’s. The highlight – and there were so many in such a short space of time – was his incomprehensible attempt to define himself as a man who could handle the challenge of turning a sinking south-coast ship around.
“I enjoy a challenge. I want to be the best version of me. I could have stayed in a mining community, been a PE teacher and had a nice life, married a nice Welsh girl… beautiful. But I didn’t. I want to test myself on every level. And that’s nothing against Welsh women.”
Jones was sacked less than 72 hours, much to the regret of neutral fans and presumably much to the consternation of single ladies from Colwyn Bay to Pontypridd.
The community custodian of the year award
In a world where almost all of Europe’s biggest clubs are owned by oil tycoons or American investment consortiums, it’s hard to stand out as a chairman who really doesn’t care about their team’s fans or the wider community around the club. An award is in order, then, for Leeds United chief Andrea Radrizzani, who capped a woeful campaign with the revelation that he had offered Elland Road up as collateral for a loan to buy a completely different football club – Sampdoria, who themselves plunged out of the Italian top flight in disarray this season. Basically, if a takeover on those terms went through and the Serie B inductees went out of business down the line (hardly unheard of Italy) then Leeds would lose their stadium and Radrizzani nothing. Modern football, eh?
The Richard Keys Award for worst hot take
Named for the former Sky Sports presenter who simply cannot resist the temptation to demonstrate his absolute lack of understanding of any facets of the game, this year’s award goes to… Richard Keys, for this sizzling tweet, which has aged like milk under the hot Qatari sun:
That’s right, you need to know Our League, which isn’t like the other leagues, where men are men and nobody has any time for a working knowledge of Microsoft Office.
The John Lennon Award for instant karma
If you want evidence that God is a referee, just look at how quickly he acted to ping Jürgen Klopp’s hamstring as divine vengeance for the German coach sprinting over to scream in the face of the fourth official during the see-saw game against Tottenham Hotspur. Watching Klopp limp furiously away in response to the universal prayers of the officiating community was even more entertaining than the game. If only the Germans had a word for taking joy from the suffering of someone else, eh?
The worst interim manager of the year award
claim to be the only caretaker manager appointed this season to achieve anything useful. But who will win? Cristian Stellini, for his brief and miserable stint at Spurs? Frank Lampard, for his shocking spell at Stamford Bridge? Nope, it’s poor old Paddy McCarthy. The 40-year-old Dubliner took charge of one whole game for Crystal Palace, lost it, and than had to hand over the reigns to Roy Hodgson – giving McCarthy 0 points-per-game. Look you can’t argue with maths. Even Lampard managed… er… 0.83 points per game, with a squad worth the GDP of a small eastern European nation. Stick that in your PowerPoint presentation.
The successful retirement of the year award
In a year when Neil Warnock, Sam Allardyce and Roy Hodgson all failed at the basic act of not going to work, it was genuinely rather heartwarming to find out that Mike Dean has put two decades as English football’s greatest pantomime villain behind him to take time for a gentle tour of league grounds in the Netherlands. Mind you, having seen how frenzied he can get watching a Tranmere Rovers match, we do wonder if he played any part in sparking the widespread fan trouble that has forced the Dutch FA to introduce new measures to clamp down on disorder in the stands. Probably just a coincidence that happened shortly after Dean hopped on the ferry home. Probably.
We want your feedback on 3 Added Minutes – details here
Oh, and he put in a rather entertaining cameo in the finale of Ted Lasso as well, which now means that, as huge fans of the show, we are obliged to love him forever more. All is forgiven, Deano.
The schoolboy prank of the year award
In an era when one young person in three has a TikTok account where they play “hilarious” pranks on unsuspecting members of the public, it was good to see some of the old hands showing the kids why the classics are still the best. Thomas Tuchel cunningly concealing one of those little electric buzzers in his palm got Antonio Conte good and proper. We presume the Italian responded with a carefully-positioned whoopee cushion. This moment also wins the Was That Really This Season Oh God I Can No Longer Comprehend Linear Time award.
The ‘keep it tight for the first fifteen, lads’ award
If Spurs ever want the “lads, it’s…” jokes to end, they should probably try to stop cracking like a water biscuit under a pneumatic drill whenever they face a serious test of their mettle. The five goals they shipped in the space of 21 minutes against Newcastle United was a pretty humiliating collapse even by Spurs’ lofty standards, and “five in twenty” will join such phrases as “third in a two-horse race” and “lasagne” in the pantheon of verbal sticks with which to beat the poor souls who support them. Rumour has it that when Bono sang “thank god it’s them instead of you” on the Band Aid single, he was actually talking about Tottenham.