The 2016/17 season was a year of huge progression for Grasshopper Club Zürich (GCZ). Not only did GCZ win a second consecutive league title (its 29th league title), the club had a memorable European cup run whereby GCZ reached the Europe League's Second Knock Out round. Like last year, I invite you all in on my End of Season Awards Ceremony. Where we celebrate GCZ's:
- Best passer (based on pass completion)
- Top traveller (distance covered in 36 game league season)
- Top scorer (all comps)
- Goal of the season
- Most improved player
- Youth player of the year
- Manager's player of the year
Best Passer: Peter Niemeyer
Just like last year, my Ball Winning Midfielder has by best pass completion. Peter Niemeyer joined for £80k in the summer of 2016. Although not blessed with an exceptional passing range, Peter did the 'nitty gritty' and held the midfield together well in a 4-3-2-1 fluid formation. His regular and accurate passing stat of 84% completion is a reminder of the passive influence he has on the team. Well done Peter!
Top traveller - Kim Källström
34 year old Captain Kim Källström had a season to remember. During the pre-season, we experimented using Kim in a more advanced supporting role in the 4-3-2-1 with Peter Niemeyer holding back in a defensive midfield position. This allowed Kim to get forward more often than last season and the stats tell the story. Kim was my top traveller with an average of 12.7km run per 90 mins. He seemed to enjoy this new lease of life in midfield and was the major reason for the team's new attacking prowess: 70 league goals, 20 more than last season! It's been a joy witnessing Kim Källström's resurgence in midfield! Thanks Captain Fantastic.
Top Scorer (all comps) - Shani Tarashaj
The sale of Munnas Dabbur (last season's top scorer in all comps with 23 goals) meant I was desperate to find that '20 goal a season man'. A gamble on my part paid off, when I gave homegrown talent Shani Tarashaj the Central Striker role early on in the season. Shani rewarded me with 19 goals in all competitions. Scoring 18 goals more than his 15/16 tally of 1. He became the youngest player since Gareth Bale to score a Champions League hat-trick when he put 3 goals past Anderlecht in a 5-1 home win. We are very happy with you Shani, well done.
Goal of the Season - Kim Källström
This year's Goal of the Season goes to Kim Källström, who showed us that age is just a number. His well timed runs from deep were a constant problem for oppositions' defences, as this goals proves. The movement is key but the technique and placement of the shot is exceptional.
Most improved player - Nikola Gjorgjev
There are a number of players who have improved vastly over 2016/17. Certainly Nemanja Antonov, Florian Kamberi & Shani Tarashaj were all very close to winning this award. But there is simply one player who we must thank for the title push during the last few months of the season: Nikola Gjorgjev.
Nikola broke into the 1st team on a regular basis in December 2016 displacing last year's Manager's Player of the Season, Yoric Ravet. In Gjorgjev's last 17 league appearances he scored 12 goals, which meant he finished the league's highest goalscorer with 14 league goals. The Swiss Super League even awarded him the Player of the Season. A remarkable feat for a 19 year old, who last season only managed 3 league starts. We are so proud Nikola.
Youth Player of the Year - Marco Simon
Last season, Marco Simon joined us in February 2016 and became a key player in the U18s at the age of 16. This year Marco was made Captain of the U18s and led the them to a League and Cup double. Not only that, Marco featured in 26 of the 28 U18 league games...which saw our U18s go the whole season unbeaten.
It is quite an incredible achievement to see somebody so young play with such experience and leadership. He has been tutored by Kim Källström who gave me glowing reports about Marco's professionalism and dedication to GCZ. It was feedback like this that prompted me to give Marco his 1st league start away at Basel, making Marco our youngest ever player at 17 years and 11 days. The U18 squad were unanimous in their agreement that their captain should win this award. Marco Simon, well done boy!
Manager's Player of the Year - Kim Källström
I couldn't have asked for a better captain during my first 2 years here at GCZ. Kim Källström has also given 100% for GCZ. 2016/17 has seen Kim Källström developed his game even further. He made the most key passes in the Swiss Super league (140), he covered the most distance at GCZ (average of 12.7km a game) & he scored 4 goals and contributed to 6 assists. With an average rating of 7.46, he has been GCZ's 'Mr Dependable'. He has now led GCZ to three trophies (x2 league and x1 cup) and it's time we appreciate what a great captain he is. Tack Kim.