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WeAreBrighton.com End of Season Awards 2016/17 - The Polls

We've finally done it - Brighton and Hove Albion are, at long last, in the Premier League. Chris Hughton's side got the job done with three games to spare and although there was a quite superb cock up in blowing a seven point lead at the top with three games remaining to surrender the title to Newcastle United, no-one will remember that in 20 years time.

Now is the time to recognise the achievements of only the second set of Albion players ever to win promotion to the top flight, with the WeAreBrighton.com End of Season Awards 2016-17. There are 13 categories to chose from including the coveted Player of the Season award won by such names as Inigo Calderon, Andrew Crofts, Glenn Murray, Liam Bridcutt and Stephen Ward who all left within six months of taking the crown. Curse, what curse?

To celebrate promotion, we've introduced a brand new Penalty Save of the Season (which at least guarantees David Stockdale an award before he leaves for Chelsea) and we've also bought back the popular Own Goal of the Season for the first time since 2014.

It's been a fantastic campaign so let us round it off in style with some fantastic voting - Happy voting!

WeAreBrighton.com Player of the Season
Previous Winners: Bruno (2016) Inigo Calderon (2015) Stephen Ward (2014), Liam Bridcutt (2013, 2012), Glenn Murray (2011), Andrew Crofts (2010)
Sam Baldock: Had his fair share of detractors after two pretty unproductive seasons since signing for Bristol City, but formed an outstanding partnership with Glenn Murray, scoring 12 times and earning a deserved shot at the Premier League.
Bruno: The captain may not have quite hit the heights of last season but he was still superb throughout the campaign at right back, becoming just the second man to lead the Albion into the top flight.
Lewis Dunk: Bar his now-expected silly sending offs, this was another superb season for the centre back who was one of the first names on the team sheet. A huge part of the Albion's impressive defensive record.
Shane Duffy: Justified every penny of his club-record 4m fee after arriving a few weeks into the season from Blackburn to form arguably the best defensive partnership in the division alongside Dunk.
Anthony Knockaert: Picked up exactly where he left off from last season, giving opposition full backs nightmares, scoring an outrageous 15 times from out wide and sweeping his way to being named the Championship Player of the Season.
Glenn Murray: Amazing to think there were some fans who questioned the wisdom in re-signing him, initially on-loan, from Bournemouth in the summer. His 23 goals made the ultimate difference between this season and last.
Dale Stephens: Once it became apparent - despite his transfer request - that he wasn't going to get his move to Burnley, the midfielder knuckled down and earned his chance to be a Premier League player with the Albion.
David Stockdale: Won the Albion at least seven points with his penalty heroics alone, he pulled off vital save after vital save throughout the campaign. If it was to be his last as a Brighton player, he signed off in some style.


Goal of the Season
Previous Winners: Jiri Skalak (2016) Rohan Ince (2015), Jake Forster-Caskey (2014), Craig Mackail-Smith (2013), Inigo Calderon (2012), Liam Bridcutt (2011), Gary Dicker (2010)
Dale Stephens v Wigan Athletic away: A pretty mediocre match against Wigan needed something special to break the deadlock. Substitute Dale Stephens provided it, bending an effort into the top corner from 25 yards for the only goal of the game.
Steve Sidwell v Bristol City away: The veteran midfielder picked up the ball inside his own half and there appeared little on with no options ahead of him - except of course if he tried to lob the goalkeeper from a full 45 yards. Which is exactly what he did.
Sam Baldock v Fulham home: Dale Stephens goal bound header is cleared away by the Fulham defence, the danger seemingly over. That is until Sam Baldock meets it with a quite beautiful crushing volley into the bottom right corner.
Sam Baldock v Barnsley away: Oh look, it's Baldock again. Collecting a pass from Anthony Knockaert, the striker flicks the ball up with the outside of his right boot before smashing a dipping volley over the goalkeeper and into the back of the net.
Anthony Knocakert v Derby County home: The French Magician's ability on the ball causes all manner of problems as he glides his way inside from the right before letting rip with a monstrous effort from outside of the box.
Sebastien Pocognoli v QPR away: There were more than a few eyebrows raised when the on-loan left back stood over a free kick at QPR. They were swiftly unraised as he bent a stunning delivery over the wall and into the top corner of the goal via the crossbar.


Last Minute Goal of the Season
Previous Winners: Steve Sidwell (2016), Inigo Calderon (2015), Leonardo Ulloa (2014), David Lopez (2013), Will Buckley (2012)
Tomer Hemed v Burton Albion away: Burton were proving to be dogged opponents on the Albion's visit to the Pirelli Stadium and a 0-0 draw seemed on the cards until Tomer Hemed showed the coolest of heads to net an 88th minute penalty for three points.
Glenn Murray v Birmingham City away: Solly March rising from the substitutes bench had turned the game at St Andrews on its head after Birmingham looked firmly in control at 1-0. The comeback was completed with Glenn Murray's 90th minute winner.
Tomer Hemed v Brentford away: A ridiculous game had seen Brentford go 3-2 ahead in the 93rd minute. In the 96th minute, Tomer Hemed added Brighton's third as this squads never-say-die attitude was in full evidence.


Own Goal of the Season
Previous Winners: Tomasz Kuszczak (2014), Dean Hammond (2013)
Lewis Dunk v Sheffield Wednesday home: Oliver Norwood diverts a cross towards his own goal and, as if that already wasn't enough of an issue, Lewis Dunk confounds things by heading the deflected ball past David Stockdale minutes before half time.
Fikayo Tomori v Lincoln City away: There are ways to mark your debut for a new club. The on-loan Chelsea youngster chose one of the best, turning a cross past Casper Ankergren to put non-league Lincoln 2-1 up and heading for a shock FA Cup win.
David Stockdale first v Norwich City away: Knowing victory would secure the Championship title, the Albion fell 1-0 behind in freakish circumstances away at Norwich after Alex Pritchard's shot rebounded off the bar, onto David Stockdale's back and in.
David Stockdale second v Norwich City away: And then 20 minutes later history repeated itself as virtually the same thing happened again, this time Pritchard curling against a post, onto David Stockdale's back and in.
 
 


Penalty Save of the Season
Previous Winners: New category!
David Stockdale v Fulham away: Fulham had been the better side and a Bruno handball gave them the chance to take a deserved first half lead. David Stockdale had other ideas though, keeping the kick out in front of the 7,000 strong away end.
David Stockdale v Sheffield Wednesday home: Wednesday are 1-0 up, Glenn Murray has been sent off and Fernando Forestieri has the chance to surely secure the win. Cue a brilliant double stop from David Stockdale. We went on to win the game.
David Stockdale v Brentford away: Having already dived to his right, David Stockdale showed superb reactions to stick out a leg and keep out Lasse Vibe's spot kick that was heading straight down the middle with his knee.
 
 


Celebration of the Season
Previous Winners: Knockaert & Hemed (2016)
Anthony Knockaert v Sheffield Wednesday away: Anthony Knockaert secures the Albion's first ever win at Hillsborough, and celebrates by sprinting over to the Wednesday faithful and going mad in front of them. Cheeky little sod.
Steve Sidwell v Bristol City away: The goal was a stunner and the celebration was a choker, as the entire squad headed to the away bench to hold up the shirt of Anthony Knockaert, absent due to his father's death.
Glenn Murray v Birmingham City away: For a man who was once criticised for not clapping the away support, Glenn Murray went mad after his 90th minute winner at Birmingham sprinting the length of the pitch to celebrate in front of the away support.
Anthony Knockaert v QPR home: Anthony Knockaert's first goal since his dad died came two months later, and he dedicated it to him by holding a framed photo to the heavens in front of an appreciative Amex Stadium.
Sam Baldock v Barnsley away: Sam Baldock has history for interesting celebrations and this one was certainly in that category as he impersonated a character from Mario Kart, claiming he had been playing a lot of it recently.
Glenn Murray v Aston Villa away: One of the big plusses of Glenn Murray's return was the chance to see "the Glenn" celebration again. He made us wait all bloody season but there it was in the final game after his goal at Aston Villa.

Memorable Moment of the Season
Previous Winners: Sheffield Wednesday home (2016) Fulham away (2015), Forest away (2014), Palace home (2013), Doncaster home (2012), Charlton away (2011), Southampton away (2010)
Norwich City home: Norwich arrived at the Amex as one of the strongly fancied teams to win an immediate return to the Premier League. They were completely blown away however as the Albion ran riot, enhancing their promotion credentials with a 5-0 win.
Together for Anthony Knockaert: The team spirit among this group of players became evident after the death of Anthony Knockaert's father, with the players dedicating a goal, a win and even travelling to France for the funeral.
Birmingham City away: 70 minutes gone and we were heading for another away defeat. 20 minutes and two goals later and the promotion dream was alive. Birmingham away was a vital point in the season.
Fulham away: And so was Fulham away. This time it was 89 minutes of dirge from the Albion with 60 seconds of sheer bliss in which we managed to score twice to take a 2-1 victory in front of 7,000 away fans at Craven Cottage.
Wigan Athletic home: The moment it finally happened. A 2-1 victory over Wigan Athletic secured Brighton's place in the Premier League and with it came a pitch invasion, scenes of Amex euphoria and one of the biggest parties the city has ever seen.
The promotion parade: Yes, we know it seems a bit odd to have a parade celebrating coming second. But 100,000 people packed the streets on an absolutely brilliant evening that summed up just what an unforgettable season 2016/17 has been.


Dismissal of the Season
Previous Winners: Dale Stephens (2016), Adrian Colunga (2015), Leonardo Ulloa (2014), Ashley Barnes (2013), Mauricio Taricco (2012, 2011), Colin Hawkins (2010)
Sam Baldock v Newcastle United away: Brighton lost their unbeaten start to the season away at St James Park against promotion rivals Newcastle and to make matters worse, Sam Baldock is dismissed for two bookings for two stupid fouls.
Dale Stephens v Ipswich Town away: Having just earned his place in the starting XI back after agitating for a move to Burnley, Dale Stephens does the best thing possible for keeping the shirt by getting sent off in a 0-0 draw at Ipswich.
Gaetan Bong v Cardiff City away: Gaetan Bong had had a pretty trouble free first 20 minutes at Cardiff in one of the most boring games known to man. God only knows how he managed to pick up two bookings for two fouls then, the second in injury time.
Glenn Murray v Sheffield Wednesday home: The previous three red cards may have been pretty boring, but Glenn Murray's against Wednesday was excellent as he picked up a straight red for catching the ball in the box to prevent a Wednesday goal.
Lewis Dunk v Huddersfield Town away: A big game against a promotion rival away from home live on Sky? Step forward Lewis Dunk for his annual completely ridiculous and ultimately costly red card, this time for two ludicrous tackles on Izzy Brown.


Flair Moment of the Season
Previous Winners: Colin Calderwood (2016), Chris O'Grady (2015), Andrea Orlandi (2014), Liam Bridcutt (2013), Vicente (2012), Cristian Baz (2011), Inigo Calderon (2010)
Gordon Greer is sent off: He may no longer play for the Albion, but Gordon Greer showed he is Brighton through and through with a fantastic red card for his new club Blackburn, helping us to a big three points in a tough game at Ewood Park.
Shane Duffy on Twitter: The most followed tweeter in the squad had an interesting season with one drunk session in which he posted about each individual player and how much he loved them, not to mention his comments after Martin McGuinness died.
David Stockdale does keepy uppies: Not playing well when 1-0 down at Nottingham Forest is probably the worst scenario for your goalkeeper to start doing keepy uppies. Fair play then David Stockdale who made a total hash of it to gift Forest their second.
David Stockdale scores two own goals: Only a handful of players scored twice past David Stockdale this season - and one of them was himself after he managed two identical own goals in 20 minutes
Blowing the title despite a seven point lead with three games left: Seven points ahead. Three games left. It's hard to see how that can be cocked up but in true Brighton and Hove Albion style, we managed it.


Villain of the Season
Previous Winners: Mike Dean (2016), David Burke (2015), Nigel Adkins (2014), El Hadj Diouf (2013), Glenn Murray (2012). Nigel Adkins (2011), Dean Hammond (2010)
Colin Calderwood: Chris Hughton's assistant manager was placed on gardening leave mid season after deciding he wanted to go to Aston Villa. He eventually did depart and is now looking forward to another season in the Championship.
Fog: Having gone five seasons without so much as a hint of the problems fog can cause at the Amex, this season we had the Cardiff game postponed a few hours before kick off and nearly lost two others to mother natures cruellest trick.
Yann Kermogant: Not so much a footballer as a thug. The French striker put Liam Rosenior out of action for four months after a horror tackle broke the defenders ankle as well as inflicting ligament damage on him. Somehow the bastard was only booked.
Leeds fans:Not only did one fan of the Europe's biggest club attack Uwe Hunemeier as he was pushed into the crowd, but they took great joy in singing "You'll **** it up" after winning 2-0 at Elland Road. Of course, they didn't even make the play offs.
Alex Pritchard: The Spurs youngster could've become the Albion's record signing with a deal all but done. Until he got "stuck in traffic" on the M25, turned his car around and drove to Norwich instead. How did that one work out for you?
David Wagner: Turning up the mind games, the Huddersfield boss came out at the beginning of March and described Brighton as "end of season chokers". We were promoted, his side won three of their last 10. Bless.


Look-a-like of the Season
Previous Winners: Jesus Christ (2016), Neil from The Inbetweeners (2015)
Sam Baldock - Ed Miliband: We've got another bloody election to get through this year. Thankfully, Ed Miliband no longer being Labour leader means that we won't have to take a second glance to work out what Sam Baldock is doing on the Daily Politics.
Lewis Dunk - Neil from The Inbetweeners: Neil may have been the thick one, and Lewis Dunk likes picking up thick red cards. That is about the only similarity along with looks between these two however.
Chris Hughton - Barack Obama: Barack Obama's eight year presidency may not have changed America as much as everyone hoped it would, but Chris Hughton's two and a half year management of the Albion certainly has our football club.
Glenn Murray - Prince William: Both have gone bald into the 30s and both are considered royalty by their subjects. Would Prince William have netted 23 times for a side promoted from the Championship? We doubt it, especially as he is a Villa fan.
Oliver Norwood - Shirley from EastEnders: God knows what was going through Oliver Norwood's head when he decided to bleach his hair, but we very much doubt it was a desire to look like Shirley from EastEnders which has been the outcome.


Sexiest Player of the Season
Previous Winners: Inigo Calderon (2016, 2015), Andrea Orlandi (2014, 2013), Vicente (2012)
Shane Duffy: Virtually everybody loves an Irishman, let alone one who loves to party. Shane Duffy ticks both those boxes as well as being tall and muscular. We thought the defence was buggered in terms of looks with Gordon Greer going, but we were wrong.
Tomer Hemed: If you can marry a former Miss Israel then you must be a handsome man. And Tomer Hemed very much is in that category, even if he has spent a large proportion of this season sitting on the substitutes bench.
Solly March: Boyish good looks, an England under 21 international and one of the most exciting players in the team. Solly March seems destined for the top and you know he is going to do it looking bloody handsome.
Sebastien Pocognoli: With Belgium having such romantic places as Bruges and Gent, it is little surprise that the only Belgian member of the promotion winning squad was an extremely good looking left back.
Steve Sidwell: We love a ginger and Steve Sidwell is a great ginger, and an experienced one at that. There is a reason his song involves the line "I'd let you shag my wife", and it's not just because it rhymes well.
Dale Stephens: Given our past experience of the ugliness of most of the folks who live in Burnley, was it any surprise that Dale Stephens decided to remain with Brighton? He's bulked up over the summer to look even better.


Best Bald Head of the Season
Previous Winners: Bruno (2016, 2015, 2014, 2013), Gordon Greer (2012)
Bruno: Bruno has dominated this award, winning it for the past four seasons in succession - every year since his arrival at the club, in fact. Teemed with his hipster beard, it's hard to see him not winning it again.
Niki Maenpaa: Finally made his league debut this season, the goalkeeper is another who believes in the power of the "head on upside down" look as he also combines it nicely with a beard, although his is less ISIS looking than Bruno's.
Glenn Murray: He returned this summer from Bournemouth a better player - older, wiser and certainly with far less hair given the rate it is receeding at. That hasn't stopped him scoring a ridiculous number of headers.
Steve Sidwell: A controversial addition to the list, but he is certainly more bald than he was this time a year ago and while some might say that is because he has a close shaved hair cut, we are saying it is because he is turning into a shiny bonce.