It’s time to list my saints and sinners from the world of football in 2017.
Jermain Defoe for making young superstar Bradley Lowery’s last year of his life so memorable and proving that not all top footballers are self-absorbed prima donnas.
Juan Mata for doing likewise with his common goal charity and to the handful of footballers who have bothered to start contributing.
And on a local level a big nod to unassuming fundraisers Steve Thorpe and Sam Downing for the Free Kicks Foundation that delivers great football experiences to under privileged children. Let’s hope Free Kicks Day on new year’s day at the ABAX Stadium is a roaring success.
I’m not convinced Pep Guardiola is the saint or the genius the national media are currently claiming, but you can’t deny he’s turned Manchester City into a team of stylish entertainers. It’s not Guardiola’s, or his team’s, fault they’ve ruined the Premier League title race even before we’ve reached Christmas.
Marcus Maddison, Jack Marriott and Gwion Edwards have entertained me at Posh games this season.
Gary Neville who has continued to take punditry to new levels. A giant among far too many pygmies.
Bristol City manager Lee Johnson for thrilling a nation of Manchester United haters with a dramatic Carabao Cup win.
All divers and cheats and not just the ones the FA have trapped with their wildy inconsistent interpretation of their new directive re retrospective punishment.
Premier League referee’s chief Mike Riley, who I assume is reponsible for over-promoting the likes of Bobby Madley.
Preachy narcissist Gary Lineker for allowing Russia to employ him as a useful idiot at the World Cup draw, and for never missing a chance to remind everyone that he used to be a pretty successful footballer by constantly taking the flimsiest excuse to crowbar such references into conversations.
Martin Tyler for his sanctimonious and patronising match commentaries. Listen out for his inevitable ‘thank you to all professional footballers for giving up their Christmas to entertain us’ and then race to the loo to throw up your turkey sandwiches.
Premier League managers like Eddie Howe and Claude Puel who take teams to cup quarter-finals and then field weakened sides as it’s more important to finish 15th than win a cup.
Jose Mourinho for being such a killjoy on and off the pitch. Not content with parking the bus against the good sides in the Premier League, he now wants to stop anyone celebrating when his tactics are defeated.
Posh chairman Darragh MacAnthony’s Twitter trolls.