It’s official: beer gardens are back open. Oh mama.
Get your hat, gloves, coat, snow plough, husky sled and flare to signal for help because it’s time to brave the minus 79 Celsius temperatures just for the sake of a beer from a tap as opposed to a can. What’s not to love?
You know, lugging through a snowstorm to the Duck and Hound only to get within 100 metres of the beer garden and wonder whether a table full of Guinness pints might actually be a migration of penguins.
The return of beer gardens
It’s admirable, it really is, because the return of outdoor pub excursions has coincided with April temperatures in the UK that are colder than the reception I get in Facebook comment sections.
However, in many ways, it couldn’t be more fitting because nothing sums up the British spirit better than slaloming polar bears and hurdling wolves for the sake of a Carling that will cost you an arm and a leg.
I mean that literally, too, because the frostbite will probably claim at least two of your limbs…
And let’s not get away from the fact that Brits will secretly be competing to be the most hardcore outdoor drinker on Instagram. I can see it already: “Haha, that’s not Pale Ale, it’s a Hail Ale #Icantfeelmyorgans.”
Carlsbergs will turn into icebergs; wheat beer will be sleet beer and yes, that ‘whiskey on the rocks’ that Barry, 65, is drinking in the corner really is just a solution of grit and ice that blew into his ashtray.
You must be salivating, I know, but before you scramble around for your cross-country skis and crampons, we have some warmth to offer in the form of journalism’s very own yellow snow: the GIVEMESPORT Awards.
It might look like a tasty combination of Punk IPA and frozen water, but make no mistake that you’re getting more than you bargained for, so strap yourselves in for this week’s 16 winners down below:
Goal of the week
Allan Saint-Maximin vs Burnley
Truth be told, this came down to a straight battle between solo goals in the Premier League, but those who prefer a certain West Ham players’ strike can rest assured that his effort won’t go unrewarded.
However, for our money, Saint-Maximin has the edge for a locomotive-like run from his own half that was capped off with a textbook fake shot – it even fooled the cameraman, don’t you know – and a sizzling left-footed finish.
Player of the week
Yup, here he is, the man you’ve all been waiting for. It’s been such a competitive week for player performances, but Lingard really has been good enough to oust Toni Kroos, Kylian Mbappe and Jude Bellingham.
That’s a big statement, I know, but Lingard was practically deserving of the award for a stunning solo goal, miraculous skill and superb assist during the Wolverhampton Wanderers win alone.
When you marry that to an outstanding brace against fellow Champions League challengers Leicester City, though; there can be no denying that Lingard is the man of the hour. Top work, Jesse.
Manager of the week
While Mauricio Pochettino, Marcelo Biesla, David Moyes and Antonio Conte are all worthy of special shoutouts this week, I think it’s about time that Zidane got the respect he deserved as one of the greatest coaches in history.
And on the back of a vital week that harvested a 3-1 win over Liverpool in the Champions League quarter-finals and a 2-1 victory against Barcelona to top the La Liga standings, you’ll forgive me for thinking the time is nigh.
Game of the week
Bayern Munich 2-3 Paris Saint-Germain
Ok, sure, there might have been more goals in Norwich 7-0 Huddersfield Town and Eintracht Frankfurt 4-3 Wolfsburg, but this Allianz Arena thriller was the sort of Champions League dust-up that fans watch the sport for.
It really throws a spanner in the works, too, because despite coming back from 2-0 down, Bayern were consigned to their first defeat in Europe’s premier competition for 20 games thanks to Kylian Mbappe’s brace.
Outrageous skill of the week
For only the second time in GMS Awards history, we have ourselves a double winner in the same week but frankly, Lingard’s Dimitar Berbatov impression at the Molineux was so jaw-dropping that it was never in doubt.
Such was the sleight-of-hand behind Lingard’s masterpiece that Nelson Semedo is probably still searching for the ball and the fact it directly led to a West Ham goal means that it does enough to usurp Kroos’ assist vs Liverpool.
Rodri vs Borussia Dortmund
Yes, yes, yes, I’m well aware that many of you will be outraged that Heung-min Son hasn’t been selected here, but trust me when I say that Rodri channeling his inner Rivaldo was even worse.
And although the Bellingham controversy meant that this VAR-cancelled penalty has largely been forgotten, don’t think for one second that we’re letting Rodri off the hook for essentially acting as though he’d been walloped in the face.
Strangest punditry of the week
Damien Duff on Liverpool
Don’t get me wrong, Liverpool were pretty shocking during their 3-1 defeat to Real Madrid in mid-week, but let’s just say that Duff seemed particularly offended by the Reds’ ‘hungover’ display in Europe.
Take it away, Damien: “It’s like Liverpool turned up for a training match on a Monday morning, a few lads have hangovers, a few lads ate too much breakfast, a few didn’t do their pre-activation, a few didn’t get their massage.
“They were horrific. They were so, so bad. I don’t know how they come back from that, I honestly don’t.”
Disasterclass of the week
Stefan Payne vs Bradford City
While, yes, Huddersfield losing 7-0 and Bellingham’s goal against City being ruled out were both disastrous, we’d be lying if we said that anything topped being sent off for headbutting your own teammate.
And no, we’re not kidding, because that’s exactly what Payne did to Filipe Morais during an astonishing League One clash with the disgraced Grimsby star walking off the pitch to try and avoid a red card. Bonkers.
Tweet of the week
Double winners are clearly like London buses because mere paragraphs after Lingard bagged his second plaque of the night, his fellow Premier League baller has followed in his footsteps with some top-quality banter.
That’s because the Newcastle wizard reminded us for the umpteenth time why he’s the king of Twitter by mugging off an Everton fan who called him an ‘overrated player’ with a deadly meme and caption combination.
Craziest bet of the week
Punter misses out on £90,000
Son hitting the ground in the blink of an eye had most football fans furious on Sunday, but imagine how apoplectic you’d be if that foul preventing United from scoring meant you missed out on a small fortune.
Well, that’s essentially what happened to Twitter user @jamiejessop_1 when their audacious £5 punt backed United for a 4-1 victory after they nailed predictions for West Ham and Newcastle’s wins.
The Sunday League award
Matts Hummels abandoned in Cologne
Uh huh, that’s right, reports from Germany claimed that Borussia Dortmund genuinely managed to leave a player behind at an away venue because they didn’t notice they weren’t on the bus, leaving them to make their own way back.
It’s not as though Hummels has almost played 400 games for the club or anything?! Nevertheless, BVB’s baffling inability to spot a club legend suits the GMS Awards because it’s got Sunday League written all over it.
Ajax ball boy
When the Europa League wasn’t producing naked Spanish men running across the pitch – more on that in a second – it was giving us a masterclass in s***housery during the closing stages of Ajax vs AS Roma.
That’s because Riccardo Calafiori was taught a brutal lesson about time-wasting when his pitchside shenanigans saw one of the Ajax youngsters launch a ball into his face. I swear I’ve watched the clip about 49 times now.
The Roy Keane award
Heung-min Son vs Manchester United
You just knew from the moment that United had a goal chalked off for what looked to be a soft foul by Scott McTominay that Keane would be flipping chairs and complaining to Ofcom in the studio.
And if that was your prediction, you wouldn’t be far wrong as the Irishman fumed: “I’m amazed really, if this is a foul we should all go home. It’s bizarre. To roll around like that is embarrassing.
“That can’t be a foul. And it’s not just Son, to be fair Rashford did it 10 minutes earlier. Referees are doubting every decision, but he’s got this wrong.”
Urban Dictionary of the week
Word: Klopp (verb)
Definition: To give a completely trivial excuse that seems unrelated to the failure it’s been used to explain
Sentence: Debra was klopping about like there was no tomorrow yesterday. She ‘accidentally’ trimmed the hedge on my side of the garden, but put it down to the fact that her horoscope said she’d be more accident-prone this month because Venus is in line with Neptune. Madness.
Managerial innuendo of the week
“We had a really strong performance. A clean sheet which was needed after a long run without it. We were very efficient, intelligent and composed with the ball, which I am very pleased with.”
Steady on, Mikel, there’s not being composed and then there’s not being composed to the extent that the sheets are always dirty. Then again, I guess it’s an occupational hazard.
TV Burp Award
Most overly-illegal-by-way-of-astonishingly-brazen-nudity goal celebration of the week
Did you really think I could go through 16 winners awards without mentioning the Granada streaker? Considering he literally hid in the stadium for 14 hours, it only felt fair.
Back in business
If you’re reading this between shivers in a beer garden, then respect to you, my friend, because today’s progression must have felt like a massive relief for so many businesses around the country.
Besides, joke as I might that Snowballs will be the only cocktail on the menu, we can’t get away from the fact that April 12 marks a major, positive step in our fight against the global situation.
And assuming that people stick to the rules and don’t take the mickey, then we can keep our fingers crossed that even more businesses will return and this tragic pandemic that has bereaved so many families will be behind us.
So, hail your own personal Santa’s sled from the garage, stride across the glaciers and pick that icicle out of your Foster’s, but wear a mask along the way, keep your distance and stay within groups of sixes.
Besides, if we all follow the rules, then ‘cracking open a cold one with the lads’ will mean exactly that and not chiseling your mate out of an ice cube because they didn’t sit close enough to the outdoor heater.