Comedy football awards of the season
We've had the chants of the season - now it's time to hand out the gongs.
BBC football commentator Jacqui Oatley has already done an excellent alternative review of the season and while I can't improve on that, I'll be going a little more leftfield to reward those great men of football who've put a smile on our faces these past few months.
So without further ado, let's get on with it - and please don't hesitate to send in your own (they're bound to be better than the rubbish I come up with).
Beard of the Year (in association with Brian Blessed)
No contest for this particular award. Adrian Chiles likened him to a submarine captain, a punter on the Guardian website thought he was a dead ringer for Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and there were honourable mentions for Tin Tin's Captain Haddock, the sailor Action Man and all manner of down-and-outs. Although, tellingly, no-one said anything to his face. And if you haven't guessed it by now, the picture on the right may give you a little hint.
The House of Commons-sponsored 'You've Been Shamed' award.
In third place we have Aston Villa striker John Carew, caught leaving a 'gentleman's club' in the early hours before a Uefa Cup tie with Ajax. Carew was benched for the next game at Wigan and came on to score (insert your own punchline) - prompting team-mate Stiliyan Petrov to declare: "He should go lap-dancing more often." Villa fans agreed, dreaming up the chant: "John Carew, Carew. He likes a lap-dance or two. He might even pay for you. John Carew, Carew."
Second place goes to Arsenal's Nicklas Bendtner who, unlike my other half, clearly does not wear the trousers in his house, or indeed anywhere else for that matter. The striker (I use the term loosely) was pictured leaving a London nightspot after the Champions League defeat to Manchester United, with his strides around his ankles. As I commented in an earlier blog, if he'd stuck to his usual practice of missing the bar by several feet, the whole sorry experience could have been avoided.
But the winner by a country mile is Scotland striker Chris Iwelumo, who provided us with the biggest howler since Teen Wolf after missing the open goal to end all open goals at Hampden Park. The Wolves frontman had clearly packed his Bendtner boots by mistake as he shaped to tap in against Norway, only to see the ball bounce comically to safety off his heel. Iwelumo waited in vain for another chance to open up - it might have been better if the ground had obliged instead.
Pun of the Season
I'll hold my hand up to more than a few 'get me coat' moments myself (Liverpool aftershave/You'll Never Walk Cologne was particularly shameful) but my favourite play on words occurred around the time Man City were linked to Kaka. A Shooting Stars fan texted into 5Live's Nicky Campbell to wryly observe: "Wouldn't it be great if Ulrika and Kaka got married?" Genius.
The Bob Crow Award for Services to Public Transport
Manchester City's £30m striker Robinho endeared himself to the masses by taking his girlfriend on a shopping trip to Manchester's Trafford Centre....on the bus. One passenger told The Sun: "He sat downstairs as if it was the most normal thing for a multi-millionaire footballer to do. Nobody quite believed it and some just stared open-mouthed. At the very least you'd expect him to be driven by a chauffeur or maybe, at a push, pay for a taxi. But a bus? Amazing!"
The Hilda Ogden Award for Services to Cleaning
Newcastle's bad-boy midfielder Joey Barton - coming to a litter bin near you soon.
Spurs Jokes of the Season
Remember them? It seems so long ago now that Spurs were cut adrift at the bottom of the Premier League (October since you ask) and of course they're of no relevance whatsoever now, but ah, what the heck. In true Eric Morley style, I'll announce the top three in reverse order.
3. Tottenham boss Juande Ramos was caught speeding the other day - rumour has it he will do anything for three points.
2. What's the difference between Tottenham and a triangle? The triangle's got more points.
1. 'My wife was feeling rather naughty last night - "Humiliate me!" she said. So I bought her a Tottenham shirt.'
Diversity Award for Contemporary Dance
Peter Crouch went close by 'pulling out the rope' (as instructed by Coach Smiffy) after scoring against Ukraine, but he was edged out by Arsene Wenger after the Arsenal coach's spot of Dad-dancing dancing during the win over Villarreal in the Champions League.
The Katy Perry 'I Kissed an (Ugly) Girl' Award
Steven Gerrard, who admitted 'taking one for the team' in his early days at Liverpool by chatting up ugly women so his team-mates could pull their better-looking mates.
The Gordon Ramsay Award for *@!*&!@ Bad Language
Step forward Joe Kinnear, who reintroduced himself to Her Majesty's Press in his first Newcastle briefing with an astonishing 52 expletives in five minutes. JK Scowling's rant managed to win over the sceptical Newcastle fans, albeit briefly, and his nickname changed from 'Joke In Ere' to the more affectionate JFK overnight. Not content with that, he also picks up the Murray Walker 'Me and my Big Mouth' gong after referring to Charles N'Zogbia as Insomnia.
The Jim Bowen 'Here's what you Could Have Won' Award
Cooking goddess Nigella Lawson, whose husband Charles Saatchi dreamt she was having an affair with former Reading boss Steve Coppell. Nigella groaned: "I said to him, 'Thanks a lot! You might have made it Mourinho!'"
Nickname of the Season
One Size Fitz Hall still takes a lot of beating, but Millwall fans came up with a little gem for their January signing - Gifton Noel-Edmonds. Sadly the striker played just one game for the Lions before they asked the question 'Deal or No Deal' and off he went to that well-known US soccer side Austin Aztex.
Rant of the Season (Sponsored by Arthur Scargill)
JFK was the early contender but even he had to bow down to Rafa Benitez. And that's a fact. The Liverpool boss launched an astonishing tirade at Sir Alex Ferguson back in January, saying his Manchester United counterpart was "killing referees" while responding to Fergie's gripes about the fixture list by suggesting "Mr Ferguson organises the fixtures in his office and sends it to us and everyone will know and cannot complain".
The pair continued to trade insults throughout the campaign, while in a complete turnaround, Fergie and his old adversary Arsene Wenger cosied up such an extent they were less Ricky and Bianca and more Ant 'n' Dec.
Which brings us nicely to the Prank of the Year - and those mischievous colleagues of Sky Sports presenter Georgie Thompson, who upon learning of her burgeoning romance with the smaller of the Geordie duo, spiked her autocue with a string of suggestive references, capped off with this legend in a Norwich feature..."It's all hands on deck."
Honourable mentions also go to Franck Ribery for pinching and driving the team coach, the Brummie builder who spelt out 'Blues' in paving stones at Molineux (which went unnoticed for four years) and Manchester United midfielder Anderson, who slipped a live mouse down Gary Neville's top during training. The poor fella was traumatised, spending months on the sidelines, and Red Nev was a little shaken too.
Gone in Six Seconds Award
Mike Ashley's pint at Arsenal.
Runner-up: A QPR manager of your choice.
David Beckham Award for Services to Hairdressing
It's a toss-up between Djibril Cisse and Marouane Fellaini but Cisse just gets the nod for inspiring the Basement Jaxx-style terrace tribute "Where's your hair at?"
David Beckham In Touch with your Feminine Side Award
Runner-up prize goes to Birmingham No 2 Andy Watson, who the News of the World revealed had been spotted in a city centre bar teaming up a suit jacket with a leather skirt. But the clear winner is Brazilian midfielder Jairo, who was filmed training with Figueirense wearing a fetching pink dress. Apparently it was a forfeit being the worst trainer the previous week. That's his story and he's sticking to it.
The Dave Beasant Comedy Injury Award
No prizes for guessing the winner of this one - it's Rangers player Kirk Broadfoot, forced out by a poached egg that exploded in his face when he took it out of the microwave. Dave Beasant, for those not in the know, ruptured ankle ligaments after a bottle of salad cream fell out of the cupboard and he attempted to control it like a football. Although the Norwegian player who was hit by a moose while out jogging still takes some beating.
And finally....The And Finally Award
So many stories, so little time. There was the Wycombe fan who hoodwinked the ref into believing he was qualified to step in for the fourth official during Wanderers' 2-0 win at Notts County, but nearly gave the game away when he celebrated a goal.
And last week's story about the Celtic fan who infiltrated a Rangers messageboard and convinced everyone to buy Dundee United socks, so they would be registered at Tannadice to buy sneaky tickets for the final-day showdown, takes some beating.
But my favourite was the Sunday League player who decided to put off an opponent as he shaped up to take a penalty by breaking wind. The referee ordered the spot-kick to be retaken and the player was booked for 'unsporting behaviour'. Dean Windass, eat your heart out.