Grilled's seasonal concluding dinner, already sombre after their poor campaign that saw them set a new record for most consecutive losses, was further hit by Rinor Isufi
's announcement of his departure from the club. It came as little surprise, with the Albanian having been absent for most of the Supporter Week Trophy tournament due to negotiations with German Sixth Division club Leos Leonberg, but it still stung regardless.
The final S$7.5 million basic fee agreed again represented a profit for the Birds, with Isufi having arrived for S$5.7 million some six seasons ago, but few were in a mood to point that out, as they considered Grilled's depleted squad. Isufi himself was a no-show at the ceremony, having evidently decided to move on cleanly.
The Number Nine, who was Grilled's Player of the Season just two years back, would leave two goals shy of the fifty-goal milestone, coming from 97 appearances, thirteen of them as a substitute. Never shy to proclaim his ambitions, this return - while certainly respectable - was definitely not what Isufi had dreamt of.
It was difficult to come up with clear contenders for the distinction in a decidely mediocre campaign, but Mohammad Ramli Saliman
eventually got the nod, having been the best of a not-very-good bunch, as Djan Bacelar
tried to joke. There wasn't too much hype over the Young Player version either, as Kalki Parvathaneni
's picking it up had the feel of it more of being his turn, than anything.
Defender and set-piece specialist Vishnu Tallapaka
gained recognition from his Farmer Bunnies peers for his consistent productivity on their part, while Chee Yao Teck was inevitably chosen for the youth honour - with an S$8.2 million transfer under his belt at the tender age of seventeen, could it have been otherwise?