How was it for you? Reflecting on a season

Ups, downs, heartbreak, joy... these fans have seen it all this season

How was it for you?  Reflecting on a season

Arsenal — Andrew Mangan

Arsenal have made frustrating progress. Although the title challenge faltered, at least there was a challenge for the first time in a number of years and there’s still a Wembley appearance to come.

High point: Hasn’t happened yet; hopefully winning the FA Cup.

Low point: The heavy defeats away to Liverpool and Chelsea.

Manager: Although unlucky with injuries to Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil, Theo Walcott and Jack Wilshere, Arsene Wenger was also lucky there were no real problems to our only striker, Olivier Giroud, or the central defenders, Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny.

Player of the season: Aaron Ramsey.

Hopes for the summer: A proactive, well- thought out approach to the serious transfer business that has to be done to make the team more competitive.


Aston Villa — Damian Dugdale

It’s becoming the norm for Aston Villa but we could be ending on a high note, if rumours of a new owner coming in are true. Without a new owner, we’re doomed to more seasons of mediocrity from Lerner unless he gets someone in that knows something about football. Our current chief executive is more like a HR Manager than a chief executive.

High point: Beating Arsenal in the first game of the season. After that, it was downhill every week.

Low point: Too many matches and performances to pick out one but the Ian Culverhouse incident was quite low.

Manager: He’s young and you’d hope that over the past two seasons he has learned a lot. I think if we have a new owner coming in, he should get a go at it next season, but if after the last two seasons he hasn’t learned, there has to come a time to try something new. Whatever happens, I think he has to be given the rope.

Player of the season: Fabian Delph.

Hopes for the summer: Warm weather, a new owner soon and a commitment to football. With that, I hope it’s not just about spending money but investing in what is needed through the club to make Villa a great footballing side again. It’s not just about players. Culturally, we have to start to believe it can happen from within.


Cardiff — Grant Sheehan @CardiffCityFans

Heavily disappointing. Both managers not good enough at this level and we paid the price.

High point: Beating Swansea in the first ever Premier League South Wales derby.

Low point: Losing 3-0 to Swansea — horrific performance, gutless.

Manager: Ole has come here in difficult circumstances and I can’t help but feel sorry for him. The players didn’t pull for him but his motivational skills are questionable compared to Malky Mackay. I have reason to be optimistic though as Ole has attractive football on show. With the right players we can bounce back.

Player of the season: David Marshall.

Hopes for the summer: We are low-scoring but also leaky in defence. We need a major overhaul and players proud of the shirt. Vincent Tan changing us back to blue would reunite the fanbase.


Chelsea — Jeremy Walters

A season that promised so much ended up in a damp squib, with the home defeat against Sunderland a particularly hard result to bear. That said, Jose Mourinho has demonstrated yet again that he remains the world’s finest tactician and our displays against Man City and Liverpool away will stay in the memory for many a year. They were master classes. All Jose needs to take us that one step further is a new strike force allied to a team that is willing to live and breathe his philosophy.

High point: Our victory at Anfield will go down in Chelsea folklore.

Low point: Our timid surrender to Atletico Madrid in the Champions League semi-final second leg.

Manager: A tactical magician. We’re privileged to have him.

Player of the season: Eden Hazard

Hopes for the summer: New strike force


Crystal Palace — Jim Daly, Five Year Plan

The closest we’ll get to being in a Hollywood sports drama movie.

High point: Coming back from three goals down to draw with Liverpool 3-3, ending their title hopes while displaying the drive that has encapsulated Palace’s season in just 11 minutes. And all that while actually having nothing to play for.

Low point: The departure of Ian Holloway in October with Palace rock bottom on four points and seemingly heading straight back to the Championship. Saved by the fact I stuck a tenner on Palace to stay up the same day at 10/1 out of pure desperation.

Manager: Tony Pulis has single-handedly earned a new future for this club and has changed the attitude from one of a plucky team fighting against the odds to a club that feels like it belongs in the top flight.

Player of the season: Yannick Bolasie.

Hopes for the summer: A new left-back, a striker who can actually score goals (sorry Cameron Jerome) and a fat new contract for Tony Pulis.


Everton — Joe Rimmer, Liverpool Echo football writer

Despite missing out on Champions League football, this has been a brilliant season for Everton fans. The Blues have collected their record points tally and played some swashbuckling football along the way under Roberto Martinez. Everton were victorious against Manchester United home and away, putting the final nail in Moyes’ coffin and recording their first success at Old Trafford since 1992. Big wins over Chelsea and Arsenal have also showed that this is a team on the way up under the Spaniard.

High point: Trouncing Arsenal 3-0 at Goodison Park — Seamus Coleman doing a bit of showboating along the way.

Low point: Defeat to Palace last month — taking the race for fourth place out of Everton’s hands. Oh and the derby...

Manager: Martinez is likeable and intelligent. He’s brought back the School of Science and helped Everton progress from the reign of David Moyes. Superb.

Player of the season: That’s a tough one. James McCarthy and Gareth Barry have been excellent in midfield. Leighton Baines superb, as ever. John Stones and Ross Barkley have emerged and Steven Naismith has transformed his Everton career — but Seamus Coleman has been brilliant. Coleman it is.

Hopes for the summer: To make Gareth Barry’s loan permanent, ditto Romelu Lukaku. Find some more goalscorers and expand the squad to cope with European football.


Fulham — David Lloyd, There’s only one F in Fulham

Omnishambles: a situation comprehensively mismanaged, characterised by a string of blunders and miscalculations. Origin: Early 21st century from omni + shambles, first used in the satirical television series The Thick of It. Atrocious club management has allowed Fulham to drift out of the Premier League with barely a whimper. Don’t recall that being the main thrust of the club’s pre-season blurb pushing for our season-ticket money. Still, it’s only a game, right?

High point: Winning away at Villa when there was a glimmer of hope we might yet stay up.

Low point: So many! Losing at home to Sheffield United in the FA Cup... the ridiculous managerial merry-go-round... relegation...

Manager: Felix Magath inherited a wretched squad and then shuffled the pack too much.

Player of the season: Steve Sidwell.

Hopes for the summer: That enough people at the club show they truly care. We could yet self-implode. Or, hopefully, regroup and show some passion and belief. Is team spirit too much to ask?


Hull — Ian Waterson,

Signing Long and Jelavic, staying up with games to spare and making the FA Cup final have been sensational. Reaching the final for the first time in 110 years of trying has also guaranteed our first venture in to Europe. Unprecedented for Hull City fans.

High point: Beating Sheffield United 5-3 at Wembley in an FA Cup semi-final to reach our first ever domestic cup final was special. Actually going on to win the cup would be the stuff of dreams for Hull City fans.

Low point: The wretched name change saga threatened to blot what should’ve been our most celebrated season ever.

Manager: Steve Bruce has achieved more in this one season than all the other managers put together from the last 110 years of our history. A fair candidate for manager of the season, surely?

Player of the season: Curtis Davies

Hopes for the summer: The name change is shelved for good and the Europa League meets expectations.


Liverpool — Gareth Roberts, The Anfield Wrap

Fun. No-one predicted Liverpool would be challenging for the title come May, and blowing away sides home and away in the process. Anfield is a fortress again, the team are a side to be proud of again and next season Liverpool will be playing Champions League football. If you’re a Liverpool fan and you didn’t enjoy this season it’s time to give up watching.

High point: There are so many it’s hard to pinpoint one. Tottenham away was probably the most complete in terms of the incessant attacking football, Arsenal at home was mind-blowing but winning so comfortably at Old Trafford probably shades it.

Low point: The defeat to Chelsea at Anfield.

Manager: Manager of the year. Brilliant, proved all the doubters wrong and delighted he’s signing a new contract. He’s only going to get better.

Player of the season: Luis Suarez.

Hopes for the summer: To build on the achievements of this season by being bold, ambitious and decisive in the transfer market. The manager has basically relied on 14 players this season. It’s clear top-class additions required in the Champions League next season.


Manchester City — Simon Curtis @bifana_bifana

Somewhat chaotic start, where Pellegrini was not afforded the settling-in time that, a little oddly, David Moyes, a man who knows the Premier League inside out, was. Defeats at Cardiff, Villa and Sunderland were shambolic and unnecessary, giving the club a real task to catch the leaders. That they have done this is testament to the fighting spirit and winning mentality instilled in a club that used to recognise nothing but a good opportunity to shoot itself in the foot. Pellegrini bought well in the summer, refused to be overcharged in January and instilled a stunning modus operandi on the pitch.

High point: So many scintillating highs (6-3 v Arsenal, 6-0 v Spurs, the double over United, winning away to Bayern, the League Cup semi with West Ham, the wonderful final with Sunderland, the win at Goodison, second half against Villa). Perhaps the highest point yet to come.

Low point: For the second year running, an FA Cup tie with Wigan. The wasted quarter-final, thrown to the four winds in an unnecessary attempt to preserve legs for Barcelona away, which with a two-goal deficit was already hanging by a thread.

Manager: This Charming Man. Stayed quiet when the insults about his capabilities flew early season. Stuck to his principles and bought the players who he knew would do the job for him. Summer jokes about Fernandinho and Negredo soon stalled when people noticed what they were capable of. Has also given City fans the most attacking, goal-drenched season in memory and ignored the deplorable rudeness of Alan Pardew and the flow of bitterness towards City from sections of the mainstream press.

Player of the season: Yaya Touré.

Hopes for the summer: To get my breath back and return my heartbeat to something approaching normal. Messi says he wants Aguero to play with him at Barcelona. Has he considered joining him in sunny Manchester instead? There are some cracking restaurants.


Manchester United — Doron Salomon, @doronsalomon

From the transfer window embarrassment of last summer to the heavy defeats against rivals, it feels much easier to find flaws than straw-clutching positives from the last 10 months. That said, any fan that could have foreseen things being this bad is probably lying. A drop-off of sorts was expected, but anticipating both the (former) manger being such a bad fit and so many players under-performing seemed impossible in August. With some long-serving players likely to be leaving it’s a shame that our freshest memories of them will also be amongst our worst.

High point: The 60 or so seconds in Munich after Evra scored. For that one minute we dared to believe something special might be happening.

Low point: Picking just one is difficult but the trio of Manchester City (a); Olympiakos (a); and Liverpool (h) stick out. Actually, you can add Swansea in the FA Cup to that as well. Too many to single out.

Manager: I take no joy from David Moyes’ failure. He seemed a good man but as the season went on, it became ever clearer that this was not the right job for him. Onwards, it can only get better, surely.

Player of the season: David de Gea.


Newcastle — Michael Martin, True Faith

Joyless corporate defeatism and a total lack of ambition.

High point: Jose Mourinho leaving St James’ Park with a face like a smacked arse.

Low point: January to May 2014.

Manager: Hapless Mike Ashley puppet clinging onto a Newcastle United dinghy full of holes.

Player of the season: Yohan Cabaye.

Hopes for the summer: I forget I support Newcastle United


Norwich — John Bryson @NorwichCityFans

Plenty of optimism early on (before we realised Van Wolfswinkel was a flop) but it rapidly turned sour and, much as it pains, we deserve to go down. We’ve won one of the past 10 games, that’s impossible to argue against.

High point: Alex Tettey’s goal in the 2-0 win over Sunderland. It’s gone downhill from there, though.

Low point: Fulham away. The board gambled by sacking Chris Hughton before and it back-fired.

Manager: Hughton was a good guy but he couldn’t get the best out of the players and was regularly criticised for being too conservative. It’s unfair to judge Adams considering the circumstances he faced.

Player of the season: Robert Snodgrass

Hopes for the summer: Some sensible transfer dealings — especially someone who can score goals. The opposite of the Van Wolfswinkel disaster.


Tottenham — Jack McInroy @yids

The appointment of Tim Sherwood was confirmation that there is no plan in the boardroom. A club of Tottenham’s stature should appoint a manager with a track record of success, but instead we got an ex-pro with neither badges nor experience.

High point: Our season peaked during the transfer window. We spent the Gareth Bale money on a load of new players, but very few hit the ground running, hence the lack of high points on the pitch.

Low point: Three defeats to Arsenal, losing heavily at home to Liverpool and City. I could go on.

Manager: Sherwood’s shown little acumen and frequently talks without thinking. Player of the season: Emmanuel Adebayor.

Hopes for the summer: A good managerial appointment. Based on the quality of the current squad, next year looks like a transitional season at best. If we don’t appoint the right man, the decline will continue.


Stoke — James Whittaker, @northstokie

Having been more than vocal on the need for a change of manager, I was ready to accept 17th position with the side playing better football under new gaffer Mark Hughes; though what I ended up seeing was a complete transformation on the pitch and the highest finish in our Premier League history. Throw into that wins against Chelsea and Man United, the first time we have done so since promotion, and finishing the top team in the Midlands for the first time ever and it’s difficult to see this season as anything less than outstanding.

High point: The win over Chelsea was Hughes personified, complete confidence in our ability to get a winner and throwing players forward in the 90th minute culminating with a screamer of a finish from a luxury player the previous regime would have shunned.

Low point: The 5-1 loss at Newcastle — otherwise known as ‘The Martin Atkinson Show’ — having just started to click as a side in the new shape that momentum was stolen from us by a refereeing performance so inept I can’t ever remember being so angry.

Manager: He’s changed the style, attitude and the perceptions of the club in such a short space of time and in such an unassuming way that it’s difficult not to afford him every superlative going.

Player of the season: Glenn Whelan

Hopes for the summer: More of the same really. A natural right back to free up Geoff Cameron for midfield and a powerful, pacey 15-goals-a-season striker are the priority, and whilst finding them at a price the club can afford is more easily said than done, I’m confident Hughes will get us what is required.


Southampton — Chris Rann

Saints season has been one great success. To break into the top eight in only their second campaign back in the top flight is nothing to be sniffed at. They’ve turned a lot of heads over the last nine months. No one sees them as a pushover these days.

High point: Beating our best ever Premier League points haul with a game to spare, though it has been a season of highlights.

Low point: Jay Rodriguez’s injury destroying his World Cup dreams.

Manager: Mauricio Pochettino can do little wrong in the eyes of the Saints fans. Tactically superb and has got Saints playing beautiful football. The lack of focus on the FA Cup the only negative.

Player of the season: Adam Lallana.

Hopes for the summer: To keep Pochettino and the majority of the playing staff at the club.


Sunderland — Sam Lightle, A Love Supreme

Yet more managerial changes at our club have meant another season of rebuilding. But Gus Poyet has managed to stamp his identity on the team and with that he managed to guide us to a Wembley final, a derby double over Newcastle, ending Jose Mourinho’s 78 home matches unbeaten record, two memorable occasions at Old Trafford and pulling off arguably the greatest ever escape.

High point: There have been so many, but seeing us walk out at Wembley will live with me forever. It was amazing to see Sunderland fans take over Covent Garden and the whole of London for that matter; it was a sea of red and white.

Low point: Losing 3-0 to West Brom. That was Paolo Di Canio’s last game in charge when he famously walked across the pitch and told us to keep our chins up. But it wasn’t good enough and in a season where there have been so many dark days, that is up there with the darkest.

Manager: Gus Poyet is a superb young manager. He has gone down as a Sunderland legend after getting us to a Wembley final and pulling off the unthinkable, which was keeping us in the Premier League.

Player of the season: Vito Mannone

Hopes for the summer: Annoyingly we need to sign quite a few players again this summer as eight players are out of contract while the likes of Fabio Borini, Ki Sung-Yeung and Marcos Alonso are only on loan. Hopefully Gus will be sensible in the market and pull out gems.


Swansea — Steven Carroll, SOS1987

A very eventful campaign, some amazing highs but a lot more lows than previous seasons. The Europa League was a great adventure and while it cost us a few points, it wasn’t as big a distraction as the media have made out. Ultimately we’re satisfied to have remained in the Premier League but will expect to do better next term.

High point: Winning 0-3 at Valencia in the Europa League.

Low point: Losing at Cardiff in November — just awful.

Manager: Appointing Garry Monk is a gamble, personally I’d go for someone more experienced.

Player of the season: Wilfried Bony

Hopes for the summer: That Bony stays and we have a mini clear-out of Tiendalli, Vazquez, N’Gog, Lita etc.


West Brom — Chris Lepkowski, Birmingham Mail football correspondent

The blame stick extends over a large bashing area. Steve Clarke failed to address slump. Pepe Mel’s appointment took too long and he had no support in transfer window, while losing three strikers. And then was expected to instil his methods on players unsuited for his philosophy.

High point: The victory at Old Trafford. Looks slightly less impressive against the backdrop of United’s troubles, but a win at Old Trafford is a win at Old Trafford. Doesn’t happen often.

Low point: Crikey, it’s Wheel of Misfortune time. Roll it and see where it lands. I’ll go with Nicolas Anelka’s quenelle gesture. A horrible, political, vile sentiment by a player who showed no remorse, no respect and, thankfully, will never rock up on our shores again.

Manager: Right man, wrong time perhaps.

Player of the season: Ben Foster.

Hopes for the summer: I hope 2014/15 will bear no resemblance whatsoever to the tin of dog food labelled, West Bromwich Albion Season 2013/14.


West Ham — Graeme Howlett, Knees Up Mother Brown

If West Ham fans had been offered 12thplace in the Premier League, a cup semi-final and three wins over Tottenham back in August most would have bitten your hand off, yet there have been constant murmurs of discontent regarding Sam Allardyce’s purported direct style of play. Sam will almost certainly live to fight another year but he’ll have to start being a little more adventurous should he wish to remain at the club beyond the end of his current contract, which expires in 2015.

High point: The Boleyn Ground singing, “Tottenham Hotspur, it’s happening again,” when completing a third successive win over our friends from N17 and by doing so, guaranteeing another season of Premier League football.

Low point: Losing record-signing Andy Carroll for six months, an injury that had a catastrophic affect on our season as a whole.

Manager: Having consolidated our place at the top table, the pressure is now on Big Sam to make the club an established Premier League force capable of challenging in the upper half of the league.

Player of the season: Dylan Tombides — that he was still representing his club and country only three months before losing his long battle with cancer speaks volumes about the young Australian’s spirit and resolve.

Hopes for the summer: That we continue to enhance the squad, invest in the right players and keep everyone injury free.

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