For me, it has to be Captain Marvel
David PowlesIt's player of the year time again and I feel like one of those managers who trots out the old cliche about it being better to have the headache of too many options to chose from, instead of having too few.David Powles
It's player of the year time again and I feel like one of those managers who trots out the old cliche about it being better to have the headache of too many options to chose from, instead of having too few.
It is certainly a massive contrast to last year round when a dismal season gave fans the headache managers don't want.
This time last year I bemoaned the fact that, despite using 32 players over the course of the season, no one really stood out as being worthy of the honour.
I even went as far as to suggest that if we went down the award should go to the fans, as a reward for turning out week in and week out when things were so bad.
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In the end I plumped for Sammy Clingan, who had few bad games during the season, but the award was won by winger Lee Croft.
This year arguably nine players could lay claim to the title - such has been the consistently high levels of performance.
- 1 Queues in Norwich as hundreds flock to cider and sausage festival
- 2 'Too close to home': Neighbours' shock as body found at Mousehold Heath
- 3 Neighbours celebrate Norfolk Day bar win with street party
- 4 Bars and clubs see busy night as police up patrols
- 5 'Freedom Day' Hindu wedding in Norwich watched by 5m plus people
- 6 Park issues warning over bacteria which is toxic to dogs
- 7 Risk of flooding in parts of region as storms slowly move in
- 8 Shoe shop founded in 1857 closes down
- 9 Cafe in historic park pavilion to reopen after £36,000 renovation
- 10 Norwich Bus Station building closed due to Covid ping
When choosing my player of the season I have one rule - they must have appeared in around three-quarters of the games.
That whittles it down to the nine - Gary Doherty, Adam Drury, Fraser Forster, Grant Holt, Wes Hoolahan, Simon Lappin, Chris Martin, Darel Russell and Korey Smith.
So what else am I looking for in my player of the season?
Obviously I want someone who has consistently performed to a high standard - that's all nine of them then.
But I'm also looking for someone who has repeatedly turned the game for the Canaries - whether it be through a great save, last-ditch tackle, defence splitting pass or vital goal.
Drury, Lappin, and Russell have all been excellent this season but they fail to make my final shortlist of six.
Forster has been colossal between the sticks and, Friday and Leeds away apart, has rarely done wrong. I honestly believe this guy will go on to play for England.
Doherty has been immense, but what makes him even more of a likely winner is the way he showed so much character to not just get back in the team after falling massively out of favour, but then to become so vital to it with a string of good displays.
Hoolahan's skill and passing has at times been awe-inspiring, a joy to watch, and he also showed a desire to bounce back after being dropped.
Smith has been a real highlight, his passion, energy and desire such an inspiration to others.
Martin, meanwhile, has not just come back in from the cold, but scored some vital goals and some crackers at that. But for me the award has to go to one man and one man only - step forward Mr Grant Holt.
Only once could he be accused of letting the side down - a rare error of judgement which saw him sent off against Brentford.
You can't really argue with 30 goals in 42 games - but it's not just about his phenomenal scoring record. As a captain he has led by example, never shirking a tackle, never giving less than a 100 per cent, always looking to get hold of the ball.
He simply runs and runs and then runs some more.
t FIVE OF THE REST
1. I felt a definite sense of complacency in the air on Monday afternoon. Not among the players- but the fans, many of whom seemed to think that we have; a - already won promotion and b - would just need to turn up and lowly Stockport would roll over and die. I think that's why, when things didn't go our way, a few people started to get frustrated with the players and the moaning and groaning levels were raised. Not that I felt the complacency was mirrored on the pitch. While we weren't at our very best, there was no doubting any of the players' determination to win and if a few of those goalmouth scrambles ended up in our favour it could have looked like a very comfortable victory. Stockport, meanwhile, didn't make it easy.
2. Amid all the controversy of Friday night a few factors in our defeat have gone relatively unmentioned. The first - the fact that Tranmere played so well, belying their position in the league. I know things went their way, but they were one of only a few clubs this season to really put us under-pressure by playing an attacking, high-tempo game. The second factor - good old-fashioned luck. Granted, luck doesn't win you titles, but it helps if it is on your side. For most of this season Norwich have been good - but lucky too. We weren't so lucky on Friday as decision after decision went against us. The third - individual errors, in this instance by Doherty and Forster, the like of which we have seen rarely this season.
3. My man of the match on Monday? Mr Rodger Wylde, who, the Norwich goals apart, provided my three favourite moments of the 90 minutes. For those present Mr Wylde was the Stockport physio clad in the tightest trousers you have seen since John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever. He rounded off the look with a lovely bumbag and a flowing wisp of long greying hair, which he nonchalantly stroked a hand through each time he left the field of play. You may recognise the name - he played 300-plus games during the 1970's and 80s for Sheffield Wednesday, Oldham and Sporting Lisbon, among others, before turning his attentions to physiotherapy - and by the looks of it maintaining his flowing locks.
4. A massive well done to Wroxham's players, officials and supporters for reaching Wembley in the FA Vase. I had the pleasure of travelling to Trafford Park on Saturday and for me the highlight wasn't the two clinching goals, but the player celebrations afterwards. There was music, dancing and champagne - try telling these boys that the new Wembley has lost its shine. They may not have a massive following but they truly deserve to have thousands of people travelling down the A11 on May 9.
5. Six games left and by my calculations several weeks ago that 91 points would secure promotion and probably the title too, we now just need a point a game. Either two wins and four defeats or a win, three draws and two defeats should do it.