Blogs & Opinion


Peter's picks

Peter reflects on the stars of the League Two season

Peter Beagrie - Peter Beagrie Posted 5th June 2012 view comments

This has been an incredible season and it's not likely to be forgotten any time soon.

We saw Manchester City win the title in the dying seconds and Didier Drogba dramatically end his Chelsea career by winning the Champions League - but the Football League also gave us all sorts of drama in May.

Powell: Peter's player of the year

Powell: Peter's player of the year

West Ham won the Championship Play-Offs in the 88th minute to break the hearts of Ian Holloway and Blackpool and then we saw an epic League One Final between Sheffield united and Huddersfield. It wasn't the best game, but it went to the 22nd penalty and I've never seen a more exciting shoot-out.

Meanwhile, in League Two a youthful and exuberant Crewe side graced Wembley with an incredible goal from their prodigious talent Nick Powell.

With all of that in mind, let's draw the curtains on the season and raise our glasses to some of the outstanding performers.

I've chosen my League Two highlights below, but feel free to add your comments. There's too many stars for me to mention, but if you want to pay homage to somebody else then make your mark in the comments box at the bottom of the page...

Take a look back at Peter's Championship highlights

Take a look back at Peter's League One highlights

My League Two manager of the season...

This was a really difficult decision. Initially I opted for Swindon's Paolo Di Canio, but he had one of the biggest - if not the biggest - budgets in League Two. He obviously spent the money wisely and built a team that reflected his own philosophy of football; always entertaining and expressing yourself. However, he was given every chance of success.

The same could be said of the other two managers in the top three - Graham Turner (Shrewsbury) and Steve Evans (Crawley). The top three budgets in the league probably produced the top three teams. I felt that provided a stark contrast with the jobs that Mark Yates and Steve Davis have done at Cheltenham and Crewe respectively with much lesser resources.

So I'm going to go for the person that I feel genuinely deserves to be called League Two's Manager of the Season and that's Mark Yates. He missed out on taking Cheltenham up via the play-offs, but this team were the second favourites for relegation at the start of the season and ended up in sixth place with 77 points behind much richer clubs. He's played an exciting brand of football, he's done well in the transfer market and I think he deserves this.

A shout out for...

Steve Davis - I'll also reserve a special mention for Crewe's Steve Davis. He had to replace a legend in Dario Gradi and did it by going on a 19-game unbeaten run and taking a team from 18th place to promotion via the Play-Off Final - all with a team with an average age of 22. He has a couple of old-timers in there, but the rest of the team were given the license to express themselves and he has imparted his knowledge on them. It all came to fruition at Wembley and they'll be in League One next year.

Graham Turner - He first became Shrewsbury manager in 1978 and they were renowned for their set pieces, their professionalism and their never-say-die-attitude. In 2010 he went back to the club after a long spell at Hereford and he has managed to get them out of the division. They've been favourites for promotion for the past few years and promotion has finally arrived, so I'm really pleased for a guy who personifies passion in football.

My League Two player of the season...

The best players are mentally strong and they turn up on the big occasions and make a difference. Well Crewe's young star Nick Powell certainly made a difference with a great goal in the Play-Off Final and I think he's nailed on to make a good career in the game if he can keep his feet on the floor.

He was outstanding at Wembley and hardly wasted a ball. His physique, build and ease of movement reminds me of Dennis Bergkamp and he plays like more of a number 10. Sometimes people freeze at Wembley, but he did what we expected of him and more. His goal was unerring in the way it was destined for the top corner - as much as he's destined for a very good career in the game.

He was run close by Matt Ritchie of Swindon, who was the architect behind the Robins' success last season. He hit double figures for goals and assists and is being watched by a host of clubs. He possesses lovely balance, a great left foot and he will terrorise defences in League One next year if Swindon can keep hold of him.

back to top

Other Football Experts:

Latest Posts in Football:

Jamie Redknapp

Time to boss it

Injuries to key men for Man Utd and Chelsea will test the tactics of both bosses, says Jamie Redknapp....

Latest News RSS feeds

Premier League preview

Manchester United take on leaders Chelsea on Super Sunday, while Liverpool welcome Hull City to Anfield on Saturday.

Merson's predictions

Merse predicts wins for Chelsea, Spurs, QPR and Man City - but sees Arsenal slipping up at Sunderland.

R Madrid v Barcelona preview

Real Madrid face Barcelona on Saturday in the first El Clasico of the season, with Luis Suarez set to make his debut.

Carra: Zamora must keep place

QPR must keep starting Bobby Zamora, says Jamie Carragher, and hold fire on recalling Adel Taarabt.

Van Gaal: Jose always special

Louis van Gaal has played down his role in Jose Mourinho's development, saying he became the Special One all by himself.

Features

El Clasico Combined XI: Guillem Balague leaves out Neymar and Gareth Bale

El Clasico Combined XI: Guillem Balague leaves out Neymar and Gareth Bale

Real Madrid host Barcelona in the first El Clasico of the season on Saturday, live on Sky Sports 5 at 5pm. Here, Spanish football expert Guillem Balague picks a combined XI of Real and Barca players. Do you agree with his selections?

Manchester United v Chelsea: If Jose Mourinho's team go to Old Trafford and win the Invincibles talk will be no joke

Manchester United v Chelsea: If Jose Mourinho's team go to Old Trafford and win the Invincibles talk will be no joke

Cesc Fabregas was adamant when asked the question. Could Chelsea remain unbeaten? “No, no, this is a joke. This is a joke. There will only be one team who can do that - the Arsenal Invincibles team of 2003.” Respectful of his former club’s achievement and downplaying expectations.

Is El Clasico all about Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi? It's also a big one for Iker Casillas, Luis Suarez and Isco

Is El Clasico all about Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi? It's also a big one for Iker Casillas, Luis Suarez and Isco

When the two greatest players in the world are on show, it's understandable that they should grab the bulk of the attention. Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are both fit and in form for El Clasico this Saturday and that means this could be a showdown to remember.