RICHARD ORD: Of fatherhood and football – what junior team awards really mean

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I’ll say this about Moussa Sissoko, he always gives 43 per cent for Newcastle.”

It’s probably wise that Newcastle United cancelled their awards night given the mood of their manager and the perilous position of the team.

I’m not sure they’re doing a Cleanest Socks category

Even if he did manage to curb his tongue, I suspect some of the awards dished out by John Carver may well have been presented to the players at a fair velocity and from some distance. Not so much presented, as thrown.

Indeed, it’s a fair bet, given his performance on Saturday, that Demba Papiss Cisse’s top goalscorer award may well have required the assistance of the country’s finest rectal surgeon before he’d be able to display it on his mantelpiece.

While Newcastle United wisely put their end of season awards on hold, the junior football award ceremonies continue … no matter how the season has gone.

Our Isaac’s under-11’s presentation took place at the weekend and with a good deal more grace than I expect Carver’s end of season gong giving will go.

“Do you think I’ll win an award?” our Isaac asked.

“I’m not sure they’re doing the Cleanest Socks category this year,” I told him. I like to keep his feet on the ground. He’s not short of confidence. When it came to nominating a teammate in the Players’ Player of the Year category, he was shocked to discover he couldn’t vote for himself. At this year’s awards ceremony he heard talk of a Best Attitude trophy, which he was convinced he’d win. And this from a player who performed the best goal celebration I have ever seen (cartwheels, backflips and a three-metre knee slide) … on hearing that training had been called off!

As a former junior football club manager, it was nice to find myself in the crowd for a change. And while it’s great to reward the kids, I don’t miss the speeches, amusing as it is to apply football clichés to eight-year-old kids is.

The number of youngsters I heard had given 110% in every game was wearing thin. Fortunately, the school exams are over. You really don’t want a footy coach messing with the laws of mathematics in SATs week. Quite rightly, in junior football, it’s important that all the children receive an award. But what I love is the subtext.

As the majority of children are not God’s gift to football or little angels, you can read between the lines when the coaches hand out the awards. Here’s my little guide to what is said, and what is really meant.

•“He wears his heart on his sleeve” – he’s a cry baby.

•“A real character” – will be no stranger to the police when he turns 16.

•“Never complains” – unlike his parents.

•“Not afraid to shoot” – the little bleeder never passes.

•“The joker in the pack” – a walking advert for the return of corporal punishment

•“Not afraid to put his foot in where it hurts” – borderline psychopath

•“Fantastic attitude” – terrible footballer.

•Or my favourite, “never misses training” which means, I’m the coach, I’m going to have to give my son an award or my wife’ll kill me.