COLUMN: Football review of 2015 featuring Jamie Vardy, Michael O’Neill, Chelsea, Leicester City and Bournemouth
This week, with the end of 2015 in sight, we take a lookback at the last 12 months in the footballing world.
TEAM OF THE YEAR - Bournemouth/Leicester
Bournemouth’s meteoric rise from the cusp of relegation out of the Football League to a Premier League force has all the ingredients for a modern day fairytale.
In 2015 they have added yet another chapter to their sensational rise in fortunes.
This was highlighted no more so than their fantastic wins over Manchester United and Chelsea recently.
As for Leicester, they have enjoyed a superb calendar year, especially when you consider they were bottom on Christmas Day 2014.
Fast forward 12 months and they are top of the pile with realistic dreams of finishing in the top four.
Claudio Ranieri has built on the excellent foundations that previous boss Nigel Pearson left behind.
The future looks bright for both these clubs.
MANAGER OF THE YEAR - Michael O’Neill
The Northern Ireland boss has done a remarkable job to take his country to Euro 2016.
Not only did they qualify but they did so in style, finishing top of their group and with a squad of players whose collective talents outweight their individual abilties.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR - Jamie Vardy
Vardy’s rise up the footballing pyramid continued in 2015 with an England call-up and a new Premier League record to boot.
Vardy, 28, became the first player to score in 11 consecutive Premier League games - beating Ruud Van Nistelrooy’s record.
The striker is now a golden boot contender and could be on his way to Euro 2016 if his exploits with the Foxes continue.
FLOPS OF THE YEAR - Chelsea
Some may argue that Manchester United deserve this title but Chelsea’s fall from grace is even more astonishing.
To go from winning the title by eight points to being just three points off the bottom three on Christmas Day is nothing short of a disaster.
Even the ‘Special One’ Jose Mourinho could not stop the rot and paid the price with his exit in December.