Iwan Roberts: Lots of contenders for player of the year but there can only be one winner for me
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Well it’s nearly here... Norwich City’s last home game of the 2018-19 season is upon us and I’d love to be at Carrow Road tomorrow night, however sadly I’ll be working at Craven Cottage.
I will of course make sure I find somewhere to watch the second half and hopefully witness not just Norwich getting the point they need to win promotion back into the Premier League but win all three which could put them on the verge of securing the title the club deserves.
After four consecutive draws some people were beginning to panic, however those four points the team have picked up in the last four games mean that they go into the last two games, six points in front of third-placed Leeds, with a ten- goal difference between the sides – that isn’t going to be turned around.
In the 2003-04 season we won promotion away at Sunderland and even though we got beat on the night it was a great night for Norwich City and its magnificent supporters.
It is a night that will live with me for the rest of my life, but these lads tomorrow have the chance of winning promotion at home in front of their own superb fans, who in all fairness wouldn’t have dreamt that this was possible before the start of the season.
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You can’t pick and choose when you win the league, that’s not how football works. If it was then looking back, I’d have loved us to have been crowned champions against Preston in our final home game and what would be the last time I ran out onto Carrow Road. Some players play their whole career and will never get the chance to experience what faces the lads tomorrow evening.
On a night with so much at stake it’s going to be very tense and there’s bound to be nerves on and off the pitch, but these players have shown nearly all season that they can handle the pressures that comes when you are top of the table and I can’t remember a game in the last six to seven months that they’ve let pressure impact their performances and it’s not about to start tomorrow against Blackburn.
MORE: Rare chance to seal promotion at Carrow RoadBefore the game tomorrow the winner of the The Barry Butler player of the season award will be handed over to a very worthy winner. Whoever lifts that famous old trophy at 7.30pm tomorrow night will have earned it.
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I was very lucky I managed to lift it twice which meant the world to me, especially after the start I’d made to my Norwich career.
I would have loved to have made it a hat-trick of winning the award, but Andy Marshall pipped me in 2001 before he moved down the road to Ipswich, however I don’t think he was allowed to take the trophy with him and rightly so!
There have been some magnificent performances this season by many of the players and in truth three or four of them could walk away with the trophy. Both Max Aarons and Christoph Zimmerman have been outstanding since they won their place in the team, Emi Buendia has got better and better as the season has gone on and at times he’s been unplayable scoring some vital goals.
But for me, as you might guess, there’s got to be only on winner.
Twenty-eight league goals in 41 games, the winner for me has to be Teemu Pukki and no it’s not the old centre forward union sticking together, he simply deserves to have his name engraved on The Barry Butler Trophy and he deserves to stand in the centre circle at Carrow Road tomorrow night and hold that trophy.
He’s been simply outstanding this season and a joy to watch.