Stoke stayed up but football often terrible; Swansea need quality striker to back up Michu; West Brom had a ‘special season’
Things could not have gone much worse really. Overpaid, overhyped and underachieved. We have paid a king’s ransom in wages that would take on the GDP of a small country and what do we have to show for it? Bottom of the league and relegated in April.
Star man Loïc Rémy performed admirably to get as many goals as he has in a poor team, while Clint Hill continues to perform beyond his capabilities. Other than that it’s been misery from front to back.
The flops I would call José Bosingwa a flop, but that would indicate I had a level of expectation. I have been disappointed with two signings in particular: Park Ji-sung has evidently received some misguided lip service previously – how he passes as a footballer is beyond me. Esteban Granero is undoubtedly talented but unable to keep up with the pace of Premier League football.
The gaffer 5/10 Harry Redknapp attempted to mould a side with very little to work with. His attempt to patch things up in January gave us a fighting chance but the mess he walked into will not improve until he can shift out the troublemakers.
Who should he sign? A blend of Championship experience and youthful exuberance. Players who care about the shirt. A forward to replace Rémy, who will leave, and more sprightly replacements for the ones we inevitably show the door to.
Best visiting fans Southampton were loud, proud and backed their manager. Worst Chelsea were fairly uninspiring for a local fixture.
Adam Boxer, QPR.VitalFootball.co.uk
No one is happy when the team gets relegated from the Premier League, even if it is expected for at least one of the newly promoted teams to return straight back to the Championship – I was fairly relaxed with Reading until February and March, which was our undoing: losing the games against Villa and Wigan sunk the ship.
Star men Alex McCarthy, Adrian Mariappa, Alex Pearce and Sean Morrison.
The flops Danny Guthrie and Pavel Pogrebnyak.
The gaffer 5/10 Brian McDermott was sacked after the poor results referred to above and Nigel Adkins was brought in too late to be able to stop the downward spiral. McDermott will always be respected for getting the club into the Premier League after the disappointment in the play-offs the previous season.
Who should he sign? It will be more a question of who we can hold on to and who we want to get moved on as the squad will hopefully be in the shake-up for promotion next season.
Best visiting fans Man City, Spurs, Newcastle.
Worst The usual suspects in Chelsea, West Ham and Man United and disappointingly a significant minority of Liverpool fans, who almost managed to undo a lot of goodwill extended to their club in regard to Hillsborough over the years in one afternoon.
Ian Maynard, Observer reader
This season was all about survival. We were bottom in November, so it’s been a fantastic turnaround.
Star man Morgan Schneiderlin has taken to life with England’s elite like a duck to water. Tirelessly covering every blade of grass, his consistently good performances won him both fans’ and players’ player of the season. Rickie Lambert loves proving his doubters wrong. With 14 goals in his first Premier League season, he’s shown he can compete at this level and he brings more to the team than goals.
The flops Gastón Ramírez hasn’t lived up to the his £12m price tag. He has shown glimpses of his talent but with no real consistency. He needs more time to adapt to English football.
The gaffer 7/10 Mauricio Pochettino inherited a team that were playing well in a system that was not too different from his own. He didn’t need to reinvent the wheel. Instead Southampton went looking for the ball, pressing high up the pitch. Wins against City, Liverpool and Chelsea show Saints can beat the best. Now to do it against smaller teams, too!
Who should he sign? A quality centre-back would improve us considerably. Further up the pitch we’ve struggled to find goals lately, despite dominating large periods of games. An attacking midfielder who can play a final killer ball is a must.
Best visiting fans Newcastle. Worst Reading.
Ben Gammon, GoMarchingIn.co.uk
Stoke City 6/10
We have stayed up but some of the football has been terrible and the slide towards the Championship was terrifying. We simply didn’t perform for months and looked very poor since New Year. 8/10 for the first half of the season, 3/10 for the second.
Star man The outstanding performer was Asmir Begovic, a quality keeper. Steven N’Zonzi looked a class act for most of the season and the Huth/Shawcross duo was solid.
The flops The signing of Michael Owen did not really work and Charlie Adam has not been the wonder signing we hoped. That is more down to him being played up front than anything else; he has played further back in recent weeks and been outstanding. Ryan Shotton has been found out at times.
The gaffer 6/10 Tony Pulis has done wonders for this club, but has spent a fortune in the past few years. For many fans he needs to change his beliefs and show a new Stoke next season or they may turn on him. We are among the lowest scorers yet again.
Who should he sign? Two full backs, a back-up centre-half, a couple of fresh wingers and some strikers who can score. So not that much really.
Best visiting fans Villa (special mention to Spurs for singing Happy Birthday to Stoke). Worst Arsenal, just because they are.
Richard Murphy, Author, Stoke City On This Day
Another successful season at the Stadium of Light as we comfortably avoided relegation five days before the final game. Add to that some turgid football, two disastrous cup defeats, the demise of a manager whom everyone wanted to succeed and the arrival of a head coach who brought unwelcome political baggage with him, and you can see that it really has been a belter. In fact, it’s been the most underwhelming and disappointing of the 50 seasons I have watched Sunderland. Next season has to be better – perhaps we can avoid relegation before the cricket season starts? I give it four out of 10 – and 3 of those are for the win at Newcastle.
Star man Simon Mignolet has been outstanding and Danny Rose had a fine loan. Steven Fletcher scored vital goals and John O’Shea tried to marshal a defence that was as reliable as a 1988 Austin Maestro.
The flops Adam Johnson was in and out, poor Danny Graham looked lost and James McClean was simply consistently awful .
The gaffer The players never got going under Martin O’Neill, so he gets 3/10. As for Di Canio: a fine start, then lost his way, so 6/10.
Who should he sign? At least one central defender and a creative midfield player.
Best visiting fans Everton and Southampton. Worst As always, the Horse Botherers, and Fulham.
Pete Sixsmith, SalutSunderlandcom
Swansea City 9/10
It couldn’t have gone much better. No second-season syndrome – the Swans went from strength to strength under Michael Laudrup, with Europa League qualification and winning our first ever major trophy.
Star man Michu, for scoring a large quantity of goals to get into the top 10. Chico Flores and Ashley Williams have developed an excellent defensive partnership while Jonathan de Guzman and Wayne Routledge have stood out in midfield.
The flops Loan striker Itay Shechter. Laudrup needed a striker to complement Michu but the Israeli just hasn’t stepped up to the mark, having managed only one goal all season and that was recently at Wigan. Luke Moore, another striker, has also struggled.
The gaffer 9/10 Michael Laudrup has taken us to another level. We’re a more effective attacking team due to some of his tactical changes and the signings he made in his first couple of months in charge. The only thing preventing him from getting a perfect 10/10 score is that our performances have been lacking since February when we won the Capital One Cup, but you can barely fault a manager that has guided us to Europa League qualification and our first ever major trophy win.
Who should he sign? With Shechter and Moore struggling this season, Michael Laudrup needs a quality striker to take the goalscoring pressure off Michu and to allow him to play in his preferred attacking midfield role.
Best visiting fans Norwich. Worst Chelsea.
Kevin Elphick, Swansea.VitalFootball.co.uk
Tottenham Hotspur 7/10
Win today and we shall have three points more than last season. If we don’t qualify for the Holy Grail – I mean Champions League – then blame the failure to beat both Wigan and Fulham at home (some double, that) and the foot-shooting, twice, on Merseyside. We played our best in sharp, instinctive bursts but generally have been too static when we have had to break a team down. Only 28 goals in 18 home games is a weak return. Man City at home was a microcosm of our season. Clueless for 70 minutes before blowing them away in a 10-minute burst.
Star man Gareth Bale papered over a lot of cracks, mainly from outside the penalty area.
The flops Jermain Defoe – one goal since Boxing Day. Emmanuel Adebayor – five all season. He reminds me of an hour hand: you know it must be moving but you can’t quite make it out. Only when you wind it up do you see it move.
The gaffer 6/10 André Villas-Boas was up and down. Up – beating West Ham and Arsenal in quick succession. Down – losing the next two games to Liverpool (when we had them on their knees) and Fulham. Selection for both was poor: hands up who thinks Benoît Assou-Ekotto is a midfielder? We often found ourselves with no width on either flank.
Who should he sign? Two strikers who want to make an effort for 90 minutes and can score inside the six-yard box. This has been copied and pasted from last season’s review.
Best visiting fans Norwich. Worst Wigan.
Dave Mason, Observer reader
West Bromwich Albion 8/10
It definitely tailed off – the 4-0 mauling at Norwich was meaningless though gruelling – but overall it’s been a special season. In November we were third and six months later, despite a frustrating slump, we’re still in the top 10. With our resources, that’s brilliant.
Star man Defender Gareth McAuley won the players’ player of the season, and deserved it. He’s not the division’s biggest name, which works in our favour, but is hugely important to us. Romelu Lukaku shone (it’s unsettling when your outstanding attacking talent is only on loan) and we had a solid core.
The flops The Peter Odemwingie episode played a big part in our post-January stumble, and it could have been handled so much better. He’s a fine player, but good luck to whoever takes him on next.
The gaffer 7/10 A blistering first half of the season, and a confusing second. Steve Clarke made some odd choices in the past few months, attracting plenty of criticism. But it’s a learning experience. If we start next season like we finished this one we’ll be in a mess, but I don’t see that happening.
Who should he sign? Lukaku or a replacement of equal quality. The spine of the side is solid, but we need a potent goal threat. He’s too raw to be in Mourinho’s Chelsea side, so should be available for another year. We just need to fight off the rival clubs also trying to nab him. We also need more strength in depth throughout the squad. The summer’s recruitment could make or break next season.
Best visiting fans Newcastle. Worst Reading.
Dave Fleming, Observer reader
West Ham United 8/10
Mid-table survival in our first season back in the Premier League has to be classed as a success. It may not have been a spectacular campaign, but it’s a very solid outcome.
Star man Winston Reid been consistent at the back and James Collins is just the sort of no-nonsense stopper we needed. Carroll’s arrival from Liverpool lifted the whole side and he’s far better on the ground than people think. Jaaskelainen, meanwhile, had a great season in goal and Diamé and Jarvis have done well, too.
The flops Ricardo Vaz Tê has really disappointed at this level after scoring lots of goals for us in the Championship. Modibo Maïga, meanwhile, cost us £4m, but hasn’t really been given a chance to show what he can do.
The gaffer 7/10 Big Sam has done all that has been asked of him in his two seasons so far – but now he needs to develop a more expansive game and maybe play two strikers when required.
Who should he sign? We need a new full-back, Carroll on a permanent deal, and another striker, too.
Best visiting fans Wigan for sharing that taxi – very community minded.
Worst Chelsea, for the way they turned on Benítez.
Pete May, HammersInTheHeart.blogspot.co.uk
Wigan Athletic 7/10
At the start of the season, relegation wasn’t something I contemplated, but injuries across the whole defence, have cost us. That said, winning the FA Cup and getting into Europe weren’t on the cards either, and the FA Cup final win was superb.
Star man Shaun Maloney has been outstanding. Arouna Koné has had a great debut season. Maynor Figueroa and Emmerson Boyce are the Mr Dependables, and Callum McManaman has ended the season superbly.
The flops Ali al-Habsi hasn’t hit anything like the form of last season. Gary Caldwell has also struggled. Ryo Myiachi has been disappointing, mainly because his loan was mostly spent on the injury table.
The gaffer 7/10 Roberto Martínez has done another sterling job. Winning the FA Cup and getting into Europe has added to his stock. He still has flaws but hopefully he will stay.
Who should he sign? We need to see who will leave after relegation and if the out of contract players sign new deals. Certainly a striker, winger and full-backs are required.
Best visiting fans Bradford in the League Cup had a brilliant following. Worst We’re always criticised for our crowds, but QPR’s following were as appalling as their team were.
Dave Whalley, @LaticsDave