It’s that time of the year ladies and gentleman, the first end of season annual awards by Brace The Hammer, as we take you through our;
- Hammer of The Year
- Young Player of The Year
- Most Improved Player
- Signing of The Season
- Best Team Performance
Whether you agree or disagree, let us know in the comments below and give us your winners for each of our awards!
HAMMER OF THE YEAR
Charlie Walsh - Manuel Lanzini. I don't think he's particularly played any better than he did last season but without Payet's shadow covering him, now the entire league knows how good Manuel is. The one player we have who I would genuinely build the team around. The sky is the limit for how good Lanzini can become.
Andy Kostka - Manuel Lanzini. The Argentinian had a big task to fill in for Dimitri Payet, but he proved his creative ability. His goal against Tottenham sealed the award as his.
Geo Mackie - Winston Reid. I think he has 'going missing' the least over the course of the season, I've always felt Lanzini was class but Reid again has showed he could play at a higher level, outstanding player who consistently produces MOTM performances.
Andrew Jones - Manuel Lanzini.
Pete Schlenker - Manuel Lanzini. He was the driving force for the team down the stretch of the season. It's his team now, and the Hammers should try to take advantage of his skills to build an attack around him.
Wallace Milner - Manuel Lanzini. Antonio and Obiang have both been in decent form this year, but neither has been able to stay fit. Manuel Lanzini, on the other hand, has taken charge even as things crumbled around him. For that reason, he's my pick.
Jonathan Liebling - Manuel Lanzini. Easily the highlight of the season was watching this kid come into his own. When Payet left, from the first match, he was on the ball dribbling and drawing defenders to free up his teammates. His shooting and decision making stand to improve, but that will come with experience.
Chad Hoy - Manuel Lanzini. My HOTY would have to be Manuel Lanzini. He's been massive, even in the wake of Payet leaving, and we wouldn't have the attack we did without him. Very much looking forward to him having a real striker to work with next season. AC just can't do it anymore.
Brian Tenerowicz - Manuel Lanzini. He was always a great player, and when Payet left he was given the task of being the main man, and he stepped up.
Jackson Schmidtke - Michail Antonio. He was our most productive player all season while being deployed in at least four different positions. Had he not gotten hurt he would have been in double digits for goals along with three assists. He's only gotten better and I'm excited to see what him and a close runner up Lanzini can do next season.
Trevor Criswell - Pedro Obiang. The team obviously lost quality when he was lost for the season. While Antonio and Lanzini are good choices here, he's the man who allows them to roam, very impressive work rate and has been improving season over season.
Jack Kavanagh - Michail Antonio. Top scorer that made me believe that West Ham would have a chance of making things happen next season. Scored the first Premier League goal at the Olympic Stadium, all around lad, plus I loved his 50 Shades of Antonio video. [Not sure if anyone called it that but me]
Tom Atherton - Manuel Lanzini. I’d give the little Argentine the nod over Antonio for my HOTY. Although Antonio has been fantastic once again, Manu showed up in some of the biggest games of the season, none more so than the later winner against Spurs to confirm our survival. His ball control, passing ability and skill-set is second to none and I’m excited for what the future holds with a team built around him.
YOUNG PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Charlie Walsh - Edimilson Fernandes. Let's be honest, he's the only one with significant game time in the 1st Team but he certainly deserves it. Knew next to nothing about him when he joined and assumed he was one for the future but he hasn't looked out of place at all, even when playing out of position at wing back. Can't wait to see how he progresses in the next few years.
Andy Kostka - Edimilson Fernandes. He made the most of limited opportunities and showed promise both at wing back and in central midfield.
Geo Mackie - Josh Cullen. The most disappointing thing is it is a player on loan but that's the way it will be until the manager has a secure contract and job. Has been superb at Bradford, winning various accolades as Burke did and I hope to see him feature plenty for us next season.
Andrew Jones - Edimilson Fernandes.
Pete Schlenker - Arthur Masuaku. While other of the young players haven't taken their chances and have gone out on loan, Masuaku is still a young player with a very bright future.
Wallace Milner - Edmilson Fernandes. It's been a really rough season for West Ham's youth teams. Declan Rice and Reece Oxford have been locked out of the team. One player, however, has got the chance to shine. Edimilson Fernandes has broken through into the first team and quickly earned some valuable playing time.
Jonathan Liebling - Arthur Masuaku. At 23, he stepped into the role and led the Hammers to four clean sheets to close out the season. He really stepped it up when Cresswell's health and form began to dip. A nice surprise to many, I'm sure.
Chad Hoy - Josh Cullen. It's gonna have to be Josh Cullen. I wrote about him all season with the Weekly Loan Watch and the kid wins MOTM nearly every game. I really can't think of a young player that played in the first team because Slav has felt pressured all season to provide results, which means the youth don't really get first team chances.
Brian Tenerowicz - Sam Byram. He's pretty young and had a solid year. If not I'll say Edi Fernandes. He was the only younger player who made an impact this season so I feel he has to be the only option.
Jackson Schmidtke - Declan Rice. He captained the PL2 team to promotion and got his first team debut for the Hammers. Josh Cullen is a close second but he did all his good for a team other than us.
Trevor Criswell - Toni Martinez. Because I'm stubborn and want him to get into the first team. That's it. That all.
Jack Kavanagh - Toni Martinez. Brace the Hammer favourite Toni Martinez gets my vote, which says a lot about the opportunities given to our young guys this season. No one has broken into the first team because Bilic needed to keep his job, this instability was responsible for a lack of experimentation with the team. Why else would Calleri keep getting starts towards the end of the season when we had nothing to play for?
Martinez was prolific for the West Ham the youth team at the end of 2016, with 12 goals in 11 eleven appearances by December. His subsequent loan spell at League One Oxford United saw the Spaniard rack up 5 goals in 18 games which was much less impressive. However I still have faith that Martinez can make something happen and his future is bright.
Tom Atherton - Josh Cullen. I saw Josh Cullen play for the first time in a West Ham shirt against Juventus in pre-season, the boy commanded the midfield all game and at only 20-years-old, he gave us a taste of the quality he has to offer in the future. (Mark Noble’esque) Playing out on loan once again this year has helped him mature, whilst scooping most of their player of the season awards and guiding them to the League One Play-off Final against Millwall, the future certainly is bright for this young man.
MOST IMPROVED PLAYER
Charlie Walsh - James Collins. I would've and probably did make the case for selling James Collins in the summer but I'm very glad we didn't. We looked a complete shambles at the back this season until he stepped into the side and all of a sudden we looked solid. The formation had a lot to do with that but he was immense. Age isn't on his side, he has the turning circle of a Limo and he's slow as slow can be but the dude will throw himself in front of anything to stop a goal.
Andy Kostka - Pedro Obiang. last year he was fine, but this year Obiang turned into one of our best players and one of the best holding midfielders in the world, even.
Geo Mackie - Pedro Obiang. In the summer, I wouldn't have been too upset if he left for 5m, a bit part player last season but now a key player at West Ham, can you improve more than that? If he didn't get injured, he just may have won HOTY. Who knows.
Andrew Jones - Manuel Lanzini. Lanzini was always a player bless with ample skill. But with Payet's exit, he has truly become a dependable force for the club game in, game out instead of remaining an inconsistent talent. And while injuries plagued the rest of the club's match winners in Andy Carroll and Michail Antonio, Lanzini was able to be available thankfully for Slaven Bilic all season.
Pete Schlenker - Pedro Obiang. Went from being an afterthought last season to being the critical piece of the midfield, with his deep-lying playmaking and ability to control the game from the midfield, providing a key partnership with Noble that drove the best performances this season.
Wallace Milner - Pedro Obiang. This time last year, Pedro Obiang we merely a decent back-up to Chiekhou Kouyate. This season, he became a fantastic midfielder. Sometimes it's hard to measure the impact of players who don't often score, but here we can simply look at the struggles of the team after Obiang's injury.
Jonathan Liebling - Manuel Lanzini. I'm still very impressed, maybe even a tad surprised. While on loan, he was good. When Payet left, it opened the door wide open for Manu to be great.
Chad Hoy - Pedro Obiang. If Pedro Obiang had finished the season, this would undoubtedly be him. Don't worry it's still him, but without his injury it would _undoubtedly_ be him. Hoping next season that this award will be for Sofiane Feghouli.
Brian Tenerowicz - Havard Nortdveit. I'll go with Havard Nortdveit. When he started here he continuously disappointed (probably because we weren't playing him in the correct position) and then at the end of the year he really found his own and put in some solid performances (probably because we played him in the correct position).
Jackson Schmidtke - Sam Byram. Sam showed some flashes of his quality last season but really took hold of the RB position once he was finally allowed to play there. I think he can be our long term solution at RB and competing with Zabeletta is only going to make him better.
Trevor Criswell - Manuel Lanzini. Odd choice I know, but he grew into his new role as the focal point of the offense as the year went on. Really, really came on at the end of the season and has attracted the attention of top six.
Jack Kavanagh - Manuel Lanzini. It has to be Manuel Lanzini, we knew he had talent, but after Payet left there were many questions about whether the Argentine could become ‘the guy’ for the team. He has more than accomplished this role and now operates as West Ham’s main playmaker, racking up 8 Premier League goals this campaign.
If we can retain Lanzini and Antonio for next season I think West Ham have a great midfield that will bang in the goals next season.
Tom Atherton - Pedro Obiang. This award has his name written all over it, last season we saw the meteoric rise of Mark Noble in midfield who complimented Kouyate so well Obiang didn't even have a sniff. He could have easily left last summer in search of regular first team football, however he put his head down, went to work and became one of the Premier League’s best CM. His name is the first on the team sheet for me each week, vital.
SIGNING OF THE SEASON
Charlie Walsh - Edimilson Fernandes. The majority of our signings have been a big ol' pile of disappointment but Fernandes looks to be a genuine bargain and one who can be in our squad for a long time to come.
Andy Kostka - Arthur Masuaku. When given the chance, he proved he can be the starting left back next season.
Geo Mackie - Arthur Masuaku. If there was an additional month it may have ended up being Ayew but if you told me in the summer we would sign a left back that would dislodge Cresswell as first choice, I'd have laughed and asked why we were spending 20m on a left back. Fernandes may prove to be the best signing of last summer, eventually, but Masuaku is the only signing that starts in August for me.
Andrew Jones - Edimilson Fernandes. The Swiss international displayed glimpses of his potential for just a mere ₤5 million. Compared to Andre Ayew's price tag and Robert Snodgrass purchase, Fernandes was not only the best signing for the hammers this season, but one of the best signings in the entire Premier League.
Pete Schlenker - Arthur Masuaku. While it took him awhile to adjust to the English game, after Cresswell went down with injury in the 2nd half of the season, Masuaku grabbed the position and made it his own. Absolutely one of the best young fullbacks playing in the Premier League right now.
Wallace Milner - Sofiane Feghouli. This is a hard one. Both transfer windows were disastrous. I suppose the award goes to Sofiane Feghouli, merely on account of the fact that he cost nothing, and had a few decent games.
Jonathan Liebling - Jose Fonte. Angelo Ogbonna is a warrior and played injured all the way up to the first day of the transfer window because there were no other serviceable options in Slaven's mind (Hi, Reece Oxford!). It took Jose a few matches, but once he settled into the system, particularly next to James Collins, he began to really shine.
Chad Hoy - Sofiane Feghouli. Really no one was incredible. But Feghouli is my favorite, and he's easily got the most skill. Next year he'll be playing with a chip on his shoulder and I'm very excited to see what he does.
Brian Tenerowicz - Arthur Masuaku. When Cresswell went down in preseason I was devastated, but Masuaku ended up being a perfect option to fill in, and once Cresswell came back and wasn't performing, Masuaku stepped up once again.
Jackson Schmidtke - Arthur Masuaku. Seemed like an odd signing at the time but with Cresswell going down injured so early he filled in nicely. Masuaku's injury hurt his chances of cementing the LB role this season but he and Cresswell will have quite the battle for the position next season.
Trevor Criswell - Edimilson Fernandes. Uhhhhh, weak crop here, but Edimilson Fernandes. He's exactly the type of player we should be looking to bring in this summer. Young and versatile, he only got better.
Jack Kavanagh - Sofiane Feghouli. Sofiane Feghouli looked alright when he first started this season, after scoring against NK Domžale in the Europa League. Then he was very mediocre for the start of the Premier League campaign before winning his place back for in 2017. It’s been a bit of an emotional rollercoaster but the season ended with Feghouli having four goals this season.
A good first season that I would love to see him build upon in the 2017/18 campaign.
Tom Atherton - Arthur Masuaku. We never thought we’d see Aaron Cresswell removed as the number one left back in the team, EVER. However after a disappointing season it was only right to give Arthur a chance and boy he didn’t disappoint. Whilst only appearing in a handful of games this year his potential is unbelievable as he helped us to four straight clean sheets toward the back end of the season. MORE MASUAKU NEXT SEASON PLEASE SLAV.
TEAM PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR
Charlie Walsh - Chelsea 2-1 Cup. Not been many but for me it has to be Chelsea at home in the Cup. They were in the midst of their ridiculous win streak when they came to our place. We proceeded to outplay the Champions and we didn't even have our full strength first 11 on the pitch.
Andy Kostka - Tottenham 1-0 League. This could be the overall best club performance this year, which includes the fans. The defense held strong despite struggles throughout the year and Lanzini topped off three points with a fantastic celebration. The London Stadium was rocking. Every piece was in the puzzle that day.
Geo Mackie - Tottenham 1-0 League. It has to be. XI players grafting working for the badge, the manager and the man next to them. Bar West Ham fans, we were written off (see the spurs fans vlog). Almost made the crap season worth it. Almost.
Andrew Jones - Tottenham 1-0 League.
Pete Schlenker - Win away at Southampton. Team looking dominant and in control for most of the match, and looked like the team that threatened the big boys last year, not the team that was saved by the post at home against Hull or the team that lost away to Sunderland. If the team had looked like that all season, the Hammers would have challenged for European places, not been in a relegation battle.
Wallace Milner - Tottenham 1-0 League. It has to be the 1-0 win against Tottenham. Bilic's tactics worked perfectly, and every player stepped up to the plate. The fact that it knocked out rivals out of the title race is a nice bonus.
Jonathan Liebling - Tottenham 1-0 League. Defense was on fire and West Ham did what nobody else in the league could do; silence that Spurs attacking line. Dele Alli, Heung-Min Son, and Harry Kane each had 20+ goals on the year but nothing against West Ham when they needed it most.
Chad Hoy - Tottenham 1-0 League. It was the first time the Olympic Stadium really felt like home, and it felt good to be the team that ensured that Tottenham once again bottled the league. Two years in a row we've spoiled Spurs hopes and it's almost as sweet as getting Top Four. Almost.
Brian Tenerowicz - Tottenham 1-0 League. Despite my hatred for them, I can't deny that Spurs are a very good team. But when they came to London Stadium, West Ham not only beat them, but straight up outplayed them. Two players of the season in Harry Kane and Dele Alli made little to no impact, and Kyle Walker looked lost all together. It may have only been a 1-0 win (should've been 3-0 if Calleri or Fletcher could finish) but it was a dominating performance all around.
Jackson Schmidtke - Tottenham 1-0 League. No question it was the defining moment of the season and the first major win in the London Stadium. It will go down as the first time the stadium felt like a true home and is going to be the building block for next season's success.
Trevor Criswell - Tottenham 1-0 League. Yes, a win against a rival is an obvious choice, but it was the build up to that game, with rumors about Slav's job at a fever pitch and the team in distress after many injuries. This is less about ending Spurs title hopes and more about securing top flight football for next season with something to build on.
Jack Kavanagh - Chelsea 2-1 Cup. Beating the eventual league champions at London Stadium was an incredible feeling, the first game at the new stadium that felt like home. This incredible atmosphere at a time when people were loudly questioning the move from Upton Park.
It was a symbolic win against one of our big rivals and everyone came up big as we knocked the eventual Premier League-champions out of the League Cup.
Tom Atherton - Tottenham 1-0 League. In the biggest game of the season, the team we knew from 2015/16 finally came to play. With our season on the line and our Premier League status at stake, the team came together and pulled out the greatest win at The London Stadium.
That’s it for our player awards, let us know what you think and give us your opinion below!