Chris Kamara names his top team, player, manager, game and goal of the Premier League season.
Last Updated: 26/05/09 4:07pm
And so we've come to the end of a fantastic Premier League season.
The battle between Manchester United and Liverpool has been a joy to watch - but when it came down to a war of words between Sir Alex Ferguson and Rafael Benitez, there was only going to be one winner, and it wasn't the Spaniard!
Liverpool made no mistakes early on in the season, but Rafa's famous rant showed that Fergie had got under his skin and they lost it for a few weeks. They soon got back on track and pushed United all of the way but it was the Red Devils that took the trophy.
It was another magnificent achievement for Ferguson, the best manager of my lifetime. I was around to watch Bob Paisley and Brian Clough do their stuff, but Ferguson has topped both of them.
At the other end of the table, mis-management cost Newcastle their Premier League status. Like their neighbours Middlesbrough, they did not have one of the worst three squads in the division yet they've gone down.
There have been too many changes at St James' Park and it looks as though the players have lost their desire to play for the club. By the end of the season nothing could get them going.
At Middlesbrough, Gareth Southgate showed a bit of naivety and he'll need to learn from that. He's fortunate to be working under the best chairman that ever walked the land and he'll probably be given the opportunity to try and bring them up again next year.
I was delighted for Hull, who limped over the line but did all of the hard work at the start of the season. If you flip the season upside down and they'd finished like they'd started then people wouldn't be criticising them.
I'm also delighted for Roy Hodgson who has done a fantastic job at Fulham. When you consider they were almost relegated last season, to get them into Europe without spending a lot of money is tremendous.
It goes to show that team-work, togetherness and organisation can go a long way. A bit like Stoke, Fulham have proved that you can achieve great things in this league if you make yourself hard to beat.
Kammy's Picks of the Season
TEAM - Manchester United
It has been a fine feat for Hull and Stoke to survive because they've not had great resources and have relied on a few Championship-level players to survive. They deserve a mention, but the team of the season has got to be Manchester United. They've won the World Club Championship, the Carling Cup, the Premier League and are in the final of the Champions League. The only downside is that a fixture pile-up meant they played a weakened team in the FA Cup semi-final and they paid the price. If they win the Champions League they could be remembered as one of the best teams of all time.
GAFFER - Sir Alex Ferguson
There's lots of contenders for this. David Moyes has taken Everton to fifth in the table and an FA Cup Final, despite all of the injuries he's had to his strikers. Phil Brown has done brilliantly to keep Hull up and their early-season form was magnificent. And in a market without Fergie I would give it to Tony Pulis because his work in keeping Stoke up has been massively underestimated. However, you can't ignore what Sir Alex has done. It goes without saying that he's the manager of the season for what he's achieved - and he's one of the greatest of all time.
PLAYER - Steven Gerrard
This is a difficult one to call. Ryan Giggs showed fine early-season form and I think Cristiano Ronaldo was fantastic in the second half of the campaign. Frank Lampard has had another great season and maybe doesn't get the credit he deserves, while Nicolas Anelka won the Golden Boot even though he wasn't really playing as a centre-forward for most of the season. However, Steven Gerrard is my choice. His level of performance has been consistently magnificent and on current form it would be hard to disagree with those who say he's the best player in the world. I just wonder whether he will play in his preferred position in the England team.
GAME - Liverpool 4-4 Arsenal
This was the game of the season for me. I remember Liverpool playing some absolutely outstanding football throughout the match, but Arsenal's counter-attacking play was devastating. Even top-class players like Jamie Carragher and Pepe Reina couldn't stop the sheer class of Andrey Arshavin on that night. He showed everybody in England why Arsene Wenger waited so long to get him. That was the game that finally upset Liverpool's title challenge and it was memorable for so many reasons.
GOAL - Emmanuel Adebayor v Blackburn
My goal of the season is Cristiano Ronaldo's long-range strike against Porto in the quarter-final of the Champions League, I'll never forget that goal. But from a Premier League perspective my favourite was scored by Arsenal against Blackburn at the start of the season. There were 27 passes in the build-up, but it wasn't 27 square passes, it was 27 probing passes looking for an opportunity. Denilson found it with the cross onto the head of Adebayor and it was great to watch.
GRIPE - The referees' closed shop
I've said it all season, but it's about time Keith Hackett and the referees allowed people who've played the game to sit down with them and help them improve their performances. Graham Poll told me the other day that blocking somebody in the box from a corner was "cheating" - but anybody who has played the game knows that it has gone on for years and is totally different to pulling a shirt. Referees also don't take into account the angle of the movement of the ball when deciding on fouls. It would help for them to consult people with football experience, but they don't seem to want it to happen. It's a closed shop and it's "them and us". I tell referees my opinion all of the time and some are prepared to listen, some aren't. There's nothing wrong with people with no football background becoming referees - but at the highest level why not sit back and listen to people who've played the game?