September! A truly strange month. Kids are back in school, chocolate selection boxes are already in your local Tesco and the novelty of Premier League football’s return has just about worn off.
We are now into the nitty-gritty. Narratives are being formed, title challenges are mounted and managers are getting sacked (Sorry Frank).
So here at VAVEL we’re going to take a look at the month gone by, and reminisce over the footballing world’s weirdest moments and hand out some meaningless awards while we’re here.
'Of course he said that' Award: Jamie ‘vodka and skittles’ Vardy
We have all followed and enjoyed the Jamie Vardy story, from being plucked from non-league to firing Leicester City to the Premier League title. We have learned a lot about the man who popularised “chat s**t get banged” and this month he weighed in on the Dele Alli controversy.
Alli was recently given a one-game ban for international football for swearing during England’s 2-1 win over Slovakia, but Vardy had his own take on the story.
“The middle finger? Come on, it’s harmless,” Vardy said. “It’s just something that has been blown out of proportion. He was doing it to Walks.” Referring to Alli’s former teammate Kyle Walker.
“It’s just harmless banter and has been blown way out of proportion. They’re always having a laugh and a giggle. That’s just how they are.”
He went on to add Vardy’s most Vardyest quote ever: “Everyone has got to have a bit of banter, otherwise I don’t think you would get through the day of being a footballer.”
Thrown to the Wolves Award: Mark Hamill
Mark Hamill, or Luke Skywalker if you prefer, inadvertedly revealed to the world which football team he supported this month, when he liked a tweet from @WWFCFancast who joked that if Hamill didn’t already have a team he supported, he should follow Wolves.
Skywalker mistook this for the animal, rather than the football club. This promoted a huge response from the Midlands club’s fanbase, which drew a further response from Hamill.
The American tweeted: “”Accidental” fan hardly sounds inspirational, but I underestimated the passion of the Wolves fans. I’m amazed or as you might say gobsmacked!”
The BBC then asked him whether he would ever come to a game, to which Hamill responded “Will do. I’ve known of the British mad-passion for sports since my 1st visit in ’76- but never so up-close & personal-LOL #gobsmacked”
This isn’t the first time a celebrity has got involved with Wolves over Twitter. Kanye West tweeted this (now deleted) in February 2016.
Here at VAVEL we’re not entirely sure of Yeezy’s relationship with Jorge Mendes, but Wolves do now sit in the automatic promotion places so kudos to all involved.
We hardly knew ye Award: Frank de Boer
Frank de Boer was sacked by Crystal Palace just four games into the Premier League season.
He is the only permanent manager in Premier League history not to see his side score a single goal.
De Boer was asked to completely change the culture of a football club, and was only given four games to do it.
Frank even had to split from his joint Twitter account with his twin brother, Ronald de Boer, when he took the job. They still have separate accounts.
Good boy Award: The San Lorenzo dog
Down in Argentina, it was a perfectly normal game between San Lorenzo and Arsenal di Sarandi. Until the second half arrived, when a dog interrupted the game for the cutest pitch invasion you’re likely to ever see.
He won possession several times, and pundits everywhere were forced to comment on his terrier-like approach to the game.
He was even gracious enough to give us a post-match interview once he was finished making his cameo.
Video of the adorable canine can be found here.
Highest boot Award: Sadio Mané
This one took the longest to decide.
kicked started things off when he was given a red card during Liverpool’s 4-0 defeat to Manchester City for a high boot on goalkeeper Ederson.
This erupted on television, radio and social media with everyone saying whether they felt Mané deserved a red card or not.
Then came Matt Richie, Winston Reid and David Luiz, who decided they wanted to stake a claim for this award for their offences on Alfie Mawson, Steve Mounie and Laurent Koscielny.
News of the contest went global, as Naby Keita was sent off for a similar lunge, presumably to impress his soon-to-be teammate Mané.
Mane has to win this award for the inventiveness, shock factor, and unlike his competitors he wasn’t a copycat.
Richie’s challenge wasn’t quite as high as Mané’s, plus Mawson walked it off as if nothing had happened. Like he was Denzel Washington walking away from an explosion in Man on Fire. Points deducted.
Reid was falling over. It was also the top of the boot that caught Mounie and not his studs. A valiant effort but no dice.
I can admire Luiz’ effort being a week later than the other contestants, to stir the pot a bit more. Again though it was just an attempted overhead kick.
Keita was Mané’s closest competitor. Studs made contact with the face, and there was an immediate reaction. He even got sent off. However there’s a certain feeling that he is just trying to impress his teammates next year.
So Mané is crowned champion of the highest boot contest. He’s still got someway to go before appearing in any Bruce Lee films though.
Wearing your heart on your sleeve Award: Everton F.C.
Alan McTavish, Head of Commercial at Everton even said: “The lead character in the Angry Birds universe is known as Red - and it is great to know he is now a Blue.”
Which obviously prompted the entire of social media to make the same joke about Wayne Rooney, who himself may actually be featuring in an Everton-themed Angry Birds game.
Ville Heijari, chief marketing officer at Rovio Entertainment, the games giant behind Angry Birds said: "We have a history of doing Angry Bird homages of real-life characters so obviously now we are in collaboration (with Everton) we can work together to bring interesting characters and profiles into the games."
He went on to say: "Potentially Wayne Rooney would be involved.”