At a glittering award ceremony in Sheffield’s world famous Goodwin Sports Centre, Dyslexics Untied yesterday marked the end of their three year reign as Yorkshire’s supreme footballing outfit in suitable style – Alex kicked stuff, Ben got in a fight and Sam won everything. I’ve cunningly put the best awards at the end, assuming the absence of a scroll wheel to force you to read the whole thing.
The 2011/12 Awards
Player of the Season – George Unitt
An almost inevitable choice, given the sheer number of goals scored by Charlton’s answer to Gerd Muller – a frankly unbelievable 113 in 25 games. George isn’t the complete player – he only sporadically tracks back, can’t do back-heels and wears the same green jumper to every game, but he’s probably the finest out-and-out goalscorer ever to grace the Astroturf, and is the only Dyslexic to have hit double figures in a match.
Game of the Season – Dyslexics 8 – 2 Shirtlifters United
Inevitably they voted for a game I wasn’t involved in. But by all accounts, I would only have ruined a sublime victory that sealed our second league title of the season.
Goal of the Season – Sam Lewis’ Header
In an otherwise routine 12 – 1 victory against the appallingly named LAD Galaxy, one rare bright star stood out against the dull night sky. Ben did what Ben does, launching an inch perfect ball from right back to the left side of the opposition’s penalty area. Sam, for unknown reasons playing as a striker, sprang from the ground to meet the ball with a glorious looping header, directing it over the flailing keeper and into the top corner. Sam may not have scored as many as Alex, but he definitely scored the best (he didn’t, see later).
Most annoying opponents of the Season – Japsoc (That one guy)
In a team full of probably nice guys, there was that one horrible little person who tugged on your shirt the whole time. As in, even at their goal kicks, or when the ball had been hoofed onto another pitch. Made worse by the fact that retaliating would probably have caused an international incident.
The All-Time Awards
Manager of the Century – Tie (Dave Cooper on a coin toss)
The mistake I made here was adding the “Not Dave” category. But still, 8 of you voted for me, which means I didn’t swear at you enough. Twats.
Northern Player of the Century – Tie (Given to Alex Ross on account of Sam Fox not really being Northern)
I mean really, Sam is neither Northern, nor better than Alex. He was only there to make more than two choices (and no Sophie, you don’t count as a player).
Brummie Player of the Century – Andy Harris
Although this was fiercely contested by Bill McGrail, in the end Andy’s greater contributions to the two title-winning campaigns, as well as that stunning backheel in the 5s, saw him grab a deserved award.
East Midlands Player of the Century – Tie (Mark Lees/Jon Hearn)
Two slightly later signings, two inspirations. Mark was the perfect foil to Chris in the middle; combative, skilful and with gratuitously Puyol-esque hair, who always gave me far less to do when he was playing. Jon was the much needed missing link in the Dyslexics attack, providing a constant out ball and continuing the theme of Dyslexic players with offensively hard shots.
Dave Cooper award for not scoring as many as Dave Cooper (added together) – Sam Lewis and Alex Ross
The joint foundations of a rock-solid Dyslexics defence, the awesomeness of their defending was outdone only by the hilariousness of them trying desperately to outscore each other in the final games of the 2009/10 season. Never has one pint mattered so much.
Player I didn’t appreciate for his talent that I should have done – Moo Stringer
Say the name Moo Stringer, and only one phrase can come to mind: “insanely persistent”, a tag that has haunted Moo throughout his career. Although he does indeed embody the very pinnacle of work-rate, he has so much more, having mastered the knack of never, ever losing the ball. Ever. Like, even when surrounded by three defenders he could wriggle out and find a pass. You don’t get to be Dyslexics’ third highest scorer by accident, and he once gave me an easy goal when he could have scored himself, for which I’m eternally grateful.
Player who should have played more – Rob Tucker
A majority winner, and rightly so. I think it was Ben who once said “If Rob were fast or big, he’d be unstoppable”, and he was right. Superlative technique, the sort of all-round skill-set John O’Shea can only dream of and 10 goals in 8 appearances means that if ever there was a case of “What If…?”, this is it.
Most skilful – Bill McGrail
Quite simply, unbelievable. One of two Goodwin Hall of Famers (embarrassingly), getting injured over the Summer of first year was the best thing ever to happen to Bill. If he was brilliant before, he was something else entirely afterwards, regularly doing things with a ball that left defenders on the floor and the goalie with no chance. Although I reckon he only looks so good because he’s left footed.
Now on to the big ones…
Game of the Century – Three-way tie (Dyslexics 19 – 0 Carrisbrook; Dyslexics 3 – 2 Ricos Roughnecks; Dyslexics 8 – 2 Shirtlifters United)
After 106 games, it was inevitable that there would be too many to pick one. All three are dear to our hearts: The 19 – 0 for being the first of our many stupidly large victories and making us think Intra-Mural was a piece of piss, the 3-2 with Sam Fox’s late winner for the ultimate high of deserved victory against a horrible opposing team, and the 8 – 2 for giving us a second league medal. In the end, we couldn’t pick, and I think that’s appropriate.
Goal of the Century – Alex Ross’ volley against Crooka Juniors
This was never really in doubt. In a match where we got absolutely battered by the superior technique and pace of Crooka, at least the finest moment came from a Dyslexic. A snatched clearance from the opposition defence fell to Alex five yards inside their half. Without a pause he caught it on the volley with the outside of his boot. The ball described the most perfect curve into the top corner of the CJ’s goal, leaving the Geordie master to jog unhurriedly back to defence as if he hadn’t just written himself into the history books.
Goalkeeper of the Century – Dave Cooper/Tim Roberts
Whatever wag voted for that Mechsoc guy can fuck off straight away. I got more votes through sheer longevity, but if you want the definitive Dyslexic goalkeeper, look no further than Tim Roberts. Although occasionally mercurial in his shot-stopping, Tim, especially in the 5-a-side nets, was capable of pulling off superhuman feats of goalkeeping many times a match, and his bravery was second to none. And God only knows how many assists he got.
Defender of the Century – Ben Milligan
The closest of all the votes, with only a single vote separating Ben from Mark, Alex and Sam. What really set Ben apart from most other defenders was his sheer confidence and comfort on the ball. Never afraid to take on the striker to gain some pace, Ben’s move from the wing to the back completed Dyslexics transformation into a Total Football team, a roulette of ever-moving, ever-swirling midfielders with almost complete ball retention. Plus he scored a bucketful of screamers.
Midfielder of the Century – Chris Lilley
In large parts responsible for Dyslexics attacking, passing ethos, Chris was always a better midfielder than a chairman. A founding member of DUFC, with the combined skill-set of Xavi and Ibrahimovic, Chris’ brutal shooting paved the way for later mavericks such as George Unitt to start blasting the ball into the net from anywhere, and he remains the only person to score two headed goals in the 6-a-side nets that are so low there isn’t actually a ball’s width of space between the bar and the ground
Striker of the Century – Sam Fox
132 goals in 69 (haha) games doesn’t lie. I’d have picked George personally, because Sam wins too much anyway
Dyslexic Player of the Century – Sam Fox
Oh look, this is surprising. An overwhelming winner, and could it really have been anyone else? In these heady days of multiple league titles and double-figure scorelines every other week it’s easy to forget how often Dyslexics were really up against it in the early days, where every goals was scrapped and sweated for. No-one dug us out of more holes than Sam Fox, so often creating the crucial breakthrough (God we were bad at coming back from behind) with a moment of magic. Who can forget that last gasp winner against Ricos, the stunning defensive display against Hurricanes, or that overhead kick he set himself up for. In a time when 31 goals was unheard of (George has now done it three times), Sam did, carrying our goalscoring weight almost single-handedly for two years. Truly the Player of the Century.
That brings to an end the official story of Dyslexics Untied. Three seasons, six leagues, three cup tournaments, 106 games and 656 goals later, it’s over. But quite frankly, it’s been amazing, giving us memories (and medals) to cherish for a lifetime. And I wouldn’t have changed a thing (except for the four leagues we didn’t win. Those I’d have changed).