END OF SEASON AWARDS: THE RESULTS

More than 100 people voted in the End Of Season Awards and i’d like to thank everyone who did take the time to place their votes. Here are the results…….

Player Of The Season: JAMIE MUPRHY

(Runner Up: Chris Basham)

It says a lot about the season when only 4 players received nominations for this category. Individually the majority of the players mirrored United as a collective: Terribly inconsistent. Jamie Murphy himself went some through poor patches of form, particularly at the very start and very end of the season, but he was still comfortably United’s most dangerous player throughout the campaign. When he’s in the mood he looks to be someone playing below his level. He contributed to most of United’s best moments of the season with wonderful goals against Doncaster and Gillingham whilst also showing his talent by giving Kyle Walker a torrid time in the two games against Spurs. Harry Maguire won this award last season and United were unable to hold on to him. All Blades will be hoping that the same thing doesn’t happen with Jamie Murphy and he is still in a Blades shirt next season.

Young Player Of The Season: LOUIS REED

(Runner Up: Che Adams)

Louis Reed was surprisingly thrown into the team on the very first day against Bristol City and stayed in and around the squad for the entire season. In a season that continued to frustrate, Reed was held up as a major positive throughout most of the campaign. His passing ability and calmness in possession had many fans believing he was a future England international and he was introduced into the national sides u18s squad in March. Somewhat inevitably given his age his form dipped towards the end of the season and he was taken out of the side for the play-off games. Despite this his displays, particularly against top flight teams, point to a great future for Reed and it will be interesting to see how he develops next season.

Most improved player: CHRIS BASHAM

(Runner Up: Kieron Freeman)

It’s fair to say Chris Basham didn’t initially make a positive impression on United fans. In his early games he looked slow, clumsy and seemed to add nothing to the United midfield. He was eventually dropped from the first team at the end of September after a number of poor displays. Although he did have a good game in midfield against Bradford when he was brought back into the side he really started to show his worth once he was moved back to centre half. Here he looked dominant, calm in possession and his whole heated displays turned the opinions of the United fans. He was comfortably United’s best centre half all season but even when put back into midfield he looked a different player to the one who had started the season so sluggishly. Despite his success at centre half he looked even better in midfield and it’s a shame we couldn’t see more of him there due to United issues at the back. In the end he was both United’s best centre half and best central midfielder. Not many fans who witnessed those early performances would have seen that coming!

Best Signing: MATT DONE

(Runner Up: Chris Basham)

United had been in desperate need of a striker all season but as the January transfer window drew to a close it looked as though The Blades would fail to bring in any of their targets. Then at the very end of the window Matt Done was brought in from Rochdale. Done had spent most of his career as a steady but unspectacular left sided midfielder but after he was moved up front by Rochdale early in the season his career had been given a new lease of life. He had scored 10 goals for Rochdale when he came to United and was among the top scorers in the league. His form continued with United as he scored 4 goals in his first 3 games. Aside from his goals his workrate, pace and energy quickly endeared him to the Blades faithful. Unfortunately for Done and United he picked up a few niggling injuries towards the end of the season and was missing for much of the run in. He came back as a sub against Swindon in the play offs and immediately United looked a far better and faster outfit. He started in the 2nd leg and whilst he didn’t make quite the same impact he still managed to net a typical poachers goal. Clough has been criticized for his transfers this season but no Blade will be complaining about the signing of Matt Done.

Best Team Performance Of The Season: SOUTHAMPTON (H)

(Runner Up: Bristol City (A))

United had quietly navigated their way to the quarter finals of the Capital One Cup where they faced a Southampton side who had made a superb start to the season. Indeed the Saints were sitting in third place in the league and talk of gaining Champions League qualification was beginning to sound less foolish as the weeks went on. The Blades meanwhile had failed to win a home game in the last 4. Once again though United raised their game in the cup and did to Southampton what they themselves had been doing to Premiership sides all season. United got in their faces, defended superbly and created numerous chances. The 1-0 scoreline wasn’t a fair reflection on the game and The Blades could have won by 3 or 4. It was a fantastic performance after some truly woeful displays at Bramall Lane and pointed towards a brighter second half of the season. Rather predictably the next game saw United labour to a one all draw at home to Walsall.

Best Single Performance From A Player:  CHRIS BASHAM V BARNSLEY (A)

(Runners Up: Jamal Campbell Ryce v QPR (A), Che Adams v Spurs (H))

United fans had been calling for Chris Basham to be moved into midfield for weeks but with so little options at the back he was still mostly used at centre half. With Terry Kennedy now back from injury though Nigel Clough was finally able to use Basham in the middle of the park. He didn’t let his manager down. From the first minute he brought the sort of strength and energy to the midfield that United had been crying out for all season. He was also often the furthest man forward when the Blades were attacking and on another day he could have had a hat trick. Not only was Basham excellent but his display seemed to rub off on his midfield partners. Paul Coutts enjoyed his best game in a United shirt and Jason Holt scored a wonderful goal. The performance against Barnsley was head and shoulders above what had been seen recently and a huge part of that was due to the presence of Basham in midfield.

Best Single Moment Of The Season: CHE ADAMS 2ND GOAL AGAINST SPURS

(Runner Up: Michael Doyle’s cockney walk against West Ham)

If truth be told United were second best for most of the second leg against Spurs. After Christian Erikson’s stunning free kick Tottenham were fully in control of the tie and looked more likely than United of scoring the next goal. Then Nigel Clough threw on Micheal Higdon and the 18 year old Che Adams, a player who just two months previous had been playing for Ilkeston in the Evo-Stik League Premier Division. The two changed the game almost instantly. Higdon’s power and strength caused the Spurs back line all sorts of issues and afforded Adams space to do damage. His first goal came just 3 minutes after coming on and before United fans had the chance to say “We’re back in this”, Adams scored a second goal which saw Bramall Lane erupt. In the blink of an eye this young lad had changed a game that just a few minutes earlier had looked well beyond The Blades. Louis Reed almost capped the perfect comeback by firing just over before Erikson restored Spurs’ lead and took them through to the final. United had come so close to knocking out their illustrious opponents and for one brief moment it looked as though United had pulled off the biggest shock of all.

Best Goal Of The Season: JAMIE MURPHY V DONCASTER (A)

(Runner Up: Jamie Murphy v Gillingham (H)

Murphy’s sensational strike against Doncaster completed a crazy few minutes that turned the game in United’s favour. Just moments earlier Paddy McCarthy had been sent off for a late challenge in the area and a penalty was awarded to the hosts. With the Blades down to 10 men and looking like they were about to go a goal behind it seemed a long way back but Harry Foresters penalty was saved by Howard and just 3 minutes later Murphy had put United in front with a stunning solo effort.

Best Away Day: BARNSLEY

(Runner Up: Bristol City)

A poor run of form had seen United go from being outsiders in the automatic promotion race to looking like they may slip out of the Play-Offs. 7th placed Barnsley were just 3 points behind the Blades by the time the Oakwell fixture came around and were 9 games unbeaten. The form book was turned on it’s head though as United produced one of their stand out performances of the season to comfortably brush aside their South Yorkshire rivals in a 2-0 victory. The sold out away end who approached the match with understandable worry ended it toasting their first win at Oakwell in 7 years.

Worst Away Day: YEOVIL

(Runner Up: Chesterfield)

United were all but sure of a play-off place by this point in the campaign but there could be no excuse for such a poor display against a side who had already been relegated a week previous. In fact this was only The Glovers 9th win of what had been a torrid season for them. Afterwards a clearly angry Nigel Clough said only John Brayford had come out of the game with any credit whilst the dispirited Blades following left Huish Park bemoaning the fact their side had only managed one attempt on target against the worst side in the league.

Worst Team Performance Of The Season: FLEETWOOD (H)

(Runner Up Yeovil (a))

The defeat at home to Fleetwood topped of a terrible week for United that had seen them pick up just one point out of 9 following similarly disappointing displays away at Crawley and at home to Peterborough. United not only gave away two incredibly soft goals against a Fleewtood side who had only won 2 of the last 7 but also created almost nothing in front of goal. United put in a fair few awful displays throughout the season but none topped this fiasco.

Worst Signing: MICHEAL HIGDON

(Runner Up: Paul Coutts)

From the moment the 2013/2014 season ended a striker had been the top priority for Clough and United. Marc McNulty had been brought in but he was seen as one for the future rather than the here and now. As the new season approached The Blades seemed no nearer to the acquiring the forward they longed for. Then just 5 days before the first game Micheal Higdon was signed from Dutch club NEC Nijmegen. He arrived with a decent reputation following success with the likes of Motherwell and St. Mirren in the Scottish leagues and all in all it seemed a decent signing.  He was surprisingly given the captains armband against Bristol City and was a real handful in the first half, getting a goal and causing the City defence all sorts of problems with his height and strength. Unfortunately that first half was as good as it got. Poor performances saw him relegated to the bench and all in all he only started 12 games and scored just 5 goals. United had searched all pre-season for a striker and were still looking for one 12 months later.

Worst Single Performance From A Player: IAIN TURNER V FLEETWOOD (h)

(Runner Up: Jay McEveley v Swindon (A) (Play-Offs)

Iain Turner had actually made a good start to his Blades career with solid displays in the JPT followed by an excellent performance against Swindon in his first league start. He had shown enough in the games he had played that few United were worried about him filling in following an injury to Mark Howard . Slowly though his performances deteriorated and he was soon making the sort of mistakes that has seen him spend the majority of his career as a back up ‘keeper. Fleetwood was his worst game. First he got done at the near post with an effort from just inside the area then at the same post he late in a tame shot (or what is it a mis-hit cross?) and United’s found themselves 2 down. Another thing that stood out about his performance in this game was how he spent the entire first half shielding his eyes from the sun. Why didn’t he wear a cap?

Most Disappointing Player: MICHEAL HIGDON

(Runners Up:Jose Baxter, Stefan Scougall)

Before the season began many Blades fans said “We could get top 2 but it depends on what striker we bring in”. Michael Higdon was seen as the last piece of the Jigsaw. Something we missed the season previous and a striker who could earn us 20 goals a season. The fact by the end of the season he wasn’t even on the bench shows just how badly wrong the signing of Micheal Higdon went.

Worst Single Moment Of The Season: THE LAST MINUTE WINNER FOR SWINDON AT THE LANE IN THE PLAY OFFS

(Runner Up: Going 3-0 down on the night to Swindon in the 2nd leg of the play offs)

Despite all the frustration and dismay United had managed to secure a play off place and they started superbly in the first leg against Swindon. With Basham back in midfield and Ryan Flynn fit again United set about The Robins and scored an early goal thanks to Kieron Freeman’s shot from just inside the area. After the goal though United seemed to slowly resort back to the poor home displays they had produced for most of the season. It didn’t help that an injury to John Brayford meant Basham had to go back to centre half. Without him in the middle of the park the United midfield was often bypassed and Swindon deservedly equalised. They then truly took control of the game and looked to be the side most likely to score a 2nd until the introduction of Matt Done turned the game back in United’s favour. In the final 15 minutes of the game the Blades created numerous opportunities and Steve Davies missed a golden chance by failing to properly connect to a Jamie Murphy cross when just yards from goal. United were well on top at this point but seemed to be destined to have to settle for a draw.  Incredibly though in the very last minute it got worse as Nathan Byrne, who had been a thorn in United’s side all night, hit a speculative effort that somehow evaded Mark Howard and nestled into the corner of the Blades goal. United now had to go to Swindon a goal behind with their  promotion hopes dangling by a thread.

Worst Player: MICHEAL HIGDON

(Runner Up: Paul Coutts)

It wasn’t just Higdon’s poor displays and lack of goals that disappointed Blades fans. He also seemed to be forever walking a tightrope in a disciplinary sense. He stupidly got sent off against Chesterfield and was, rather embarrassingly, even taken off before half time at home to Swindon after seemingly doing his best to get sent off for 40 minutes. After that Swindon game Higdon all but disappeared from the first team as Clough seemed to have finally lost patience with him. If as rumoured he is offloaded in the summer few United fans will bemoan his loss.

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