2020/21 Player Awards brought to you by Betway round-up
The prestigious Betway Hammer of the Year award wasn’t the only prize collected by Tomáš Souček on Friday – he also jointly won the Top Goalscorer trophy with Michail Antonio, alongside a host of other award winners.
Here we round up who took the trophies home on an evening when we celebrated the successes of a truly memorable 2020/21 campaign.
Top Goalscorer – Michail Antonio and Tomáš Souček (ten goals in all competitions)
The battle for Top Goalscorer honours was one which was closely contested all season, with four players ending up within two goals of each other.
Jarrod Bowen, with eight, and Jesse Lingard, with nine, were both close to claiming this title, but it was Michail Antonio and Tomáš Souček who jointly got their hands on it after both netting ten for the campaign.
Both chipped in with vital goals over the course of the eight-month season, as Antonio hit double figures for a second season running, and Souček hit the mark in his first full term as a Hammer.
Antonio’s fine form in front of goal was a continuation of his success as the Hammers came out of lockdown last summer, as he struck a number of important blows – including goals in the home victory over Tottenham Hotspur, both in the 2-1 win away at Burnley, and the clincher away at West Bromwich Albion, which all but secured European football.
Souček, meanwhile, was equally consistent throughout the campaign, with his goalscoring really taking off in the winter.
A spell of seven goals in 14 games either side of Christmas propelled him into the reckoning for Top Goalscorer honours, reaching double figures with the leveller at West Brom in that 3-1 victory in May.
Best Team Performance – 3-0 v Leicester City (a), 4 October 2020
There was plenty of competition for this award – the 4-0 win against Wolves, home victory over Tottenham Hotspur and fine display at Leeds United were all contenders, but they all beaten to the prize by the Hammers’ fine 3-0 win at Leicester City in early October.
The Hammers put Leicester City to the sword at the King Power Stadium with a dominant performance.
The Foxes had put five past Manchester City in their previous game, but they were brought back down to earth with a heavy bump.
Michail Antonio’s first half header got the scoring started, before Pablo Fornals’ wonderful piece of control from Aaron Cresswell's ball forward set him clear to make it 2-0. Jarrod Bowen added a late third as West Ham laid down a real marker of intent.
Signing of the Season - Vladimír Coufal
West Ham United's recruitment has been nothing short of outstanding in the past couple of seasons and there could not be a better indicator of that than Vladimír Coufal.
The fearless Czech full-back arrived in England last October a relative unknown to supporters in the Premier League, but wasted no time in showing his abilities.
A fantastic debut in the 3-0 victory at Leicester City - just days after signing - was followed with a consistently brilliant ddebut season in Claret & Blue.
He made 34 Premier League appearances, assisting seven goals - the second highest tally for a defender anywhere in the league - and helping the team keep vital clean sheets on their way to sixth in the final table.
Coufal then ended his campaign by providing two more assists at Euro 2020, as Czech Republic progressed to the quarter-finals.
An outstanding season and a deserved recipient of the Signing of the Season award.
Players' Project Award – Mark Noble
West Ham United skipper Mark Noble picked up the Players’ Project Award, in honour of his outstanding work in the local community during the 2020/21 season and throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Project has been hailed as the most ambitious community programme ever created by a Premier League Club, where players from the men’s, women’s and Academy teams have given over 300 hours of community time, directly working with over 2,000 people from the local community over this last year alone.
The Players’ Project, split into 11 strands, delivers over 30 programmes that span health, education, community initiatives and football development, which engage with up to 50,000 people per year.
Noble dedicated the award to the work of the entire squad in the local area.
He said: “It’s not only me. The players do so much in the community, especially in east London with the Players’ Project. We all know how difficult lockdown was and the players were fantastic.
“I appreciate it, but I do take this award not just for me but for all the boys.”
West Ham United women’s awards
We also celebrated the achievements of the West Ham United women’s team at the Player Awards brought to you by Betway, who secured their place in the FA Women’s Super League with a upturn in form towards the end of the season, as well as reaching the semi-finals of the FA Women’s Continental Tyres League Cup.
Skipper Gilly Flaherty was the recipient of the Fans’ Hammer of the Year prize, winning the vote to collect the trophy.
The centre-back appeared on 21 of the team’s 22 league games last year, using her experience to help lead the team away from danger.
Grace Fisk, meanwhile, was named the Players’ Player of the Year after producing an excellent first full season in Claret & Blue.
The 23-year-old defender was an ever-present in league action and won the acclaim of her teammates for her solid presence at the back.
Save of the Season – Łukasz Fabiański from Victor Lindelöf v Man Utd (a), 9 February 2021
Save of the Season honours went to Łukasz Fabiański for his wonderful stop from Victor Lindelöf’s header in the FA Cup fifth round tie at Manchester United.
The Hammers keeper had to show sharp reactions, quick feet and an outstanding reach to tip the Swede’s header onto the post after it had taken a massive deflection off Craig Dawson.
Fabiański was starting to head off in the opposite direction, before the ball changed course off his defender, but no matter, he adjusted superbly to make a memorable save – the pick of the bunch over the course of the campaign.
Young Hammer of the Year - Ben Johnson & Dylan Tombides Award - Jayden Fevrier
Next came the turn of our Academy stars to take the spotlight, with Ben Johnson being named Young Player of the Year and Jayden Fevrier picking up the Dylan Tombides Award – given to the outstanding Scholar of the year.
Johnson’s honour came on the back of a season in which he made 20 first team appearances and scored his debut senior goal – in the 2-2 home draw with Brighton & Hove Albion.
It represented a real breakthrough for the 21-year-old, who featured at right-back, left-back and higher up the pitch too.
18-year-old midfielder Fevrier, meanwhile, was a star in the U18s run to the fifth round of the FA Youth Cup, scoring three times in two outings, including two in the dramatic 3-3 draw at Luton Town, before dispatching his penalty in the 4-2 shootout success which followed.
With a further three goals across 19 appearances in the U18 Premier League South, Premier League 2 Division 1 and the Papa John’s Trophy, Fevrier marked his card as one of the Academy’s outstanding prospects.
Fevrier collects the trophy named in honour of the late West Ham United and Australia U23 forward Tombides, who tragically passed away at the age of 20 in April 2014.
For more information about DT38 and the fight against testicular cancer, click here.
Individual Performance of the Season - Jesse Lingard v Wolverhampton Wanderers (a), 5 April 2021
Jesse Lingard takes the honours in this category for a memorable performance at Wolves.
The game was just six minutes old when Lingard picked up a pass from Vladimír Coufal inside his own half and glided into Wolves territory. He couldn’t be caught and ended his magnificent solo run with a fine clipped finish over Rui Patricio.
He wasn’t finished there either, a sharp pirouette on the by-line allowed Arthur Masuaku to square for Pablo Fornals to make it 2-0, then another powerful run from Lingard and a perfectly-weighted pass set Jarrod Bowen up for a third.
West Ham would win 3-2 and Lingard’s contribution to the victory was significant.
Goal of the Season – Manuel Lanzini v Tottenham Hotspur (a), 18 October 2020
There could only be one winner of this award.
And what more can be said about Manuel Lanzini’s stunning, unforgettable strike at Tottenham Hotspur?
3-0 down at Tottenham Hotspur with eight minutes left to play, West Ham looked dead and buried. But Fabián Balbuena’s header and a Davinson Sánchez own goal gave the visitors hope.
It was hope that Manuel Lanzini cashed in on with a quite magnificent leveller in the fourth minute of stoppage time.
Aaron Cresswell’s wide free-kick was headed out to Lanzini, who paid no attention to Harry Winks closing in, fading an unstoppable first time 25-yard shot beyond Hugo Lloris’ reach and into the top corner. What a moment.