When one award just isn’t enough

Some seasons we struggle to pick anyone, others there is one clear winner, but on the odd occasion we are spoilt for choice, and this season was certainly one of the latter.

What I am talking about is Capital Canaries Player of the Season, voted for by our members and awarded to the winning player at the club open day during the closed season.

Thanks to Damien Francis, who must have cherished the trophy a little too much and never returned it to the club, the Capital Canaries have a nice new shield that has been presented for the last few seasons. Normally our top three are the same as the Barry Butler memorial trophy but not always in the same order, however this season it was a matching one, two, three with Grant Holt pipping Russell Martin and Wes Hoolahan to the award. But it was close, very close.

Ignoring the top three for now, Andrew Crofts had a great first season for the Canaries scoring eight goals from midfield including a cracker at Barnsley that reminded everyone of that famous Fashanu volley from years gone by. Also in the middle of the park, David Fox turned a slow start into a regular starting place and was instrumental to the success of the team towards the end of the season.

At the back the forgotten man Zak Whitbread returned from a year of injury just at the right time and if only the season was to continue for another month or so (not that I want to be in the playoffs of course) I’m sure Simeon Jackson would be up in the top three thanks to his goals that ultimately won us promotion.

Moving on to the top three, all of whom could have easily run away with the award in some fairly recent seasons, the Irish wizard Wes Hoolahan took the bronze medal. Scoring ten goals and pivotal in so many more, the diminutive midfielder was often unplayable at the tip of the diamond. He put the effort in when City didn’t have the ball too, something that maybe he has lacked in the past, and a silly penalty miss aside, he lived up to his expectations on the Championship stage.

In second place, and lets be honest no-one would have predicted this at the start of the season, was the Norfolk Cafu, or as he’s probably known to his family, Russell Martin. Whilst his five goals from right-back attracted a lot of attention, he was also very good at his day job and for every dart down the wing there was an equally important block or tackle at the back. On a personal level he got my vote, he seems a very level-headed lad (as do nearly all the team), and I’m looking forward to seeing more of the same next season, but preferably in his kit, not his underpants!

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So that just leaves one man, our captain, leading goalscorer and winner of this season’s award, Grant Holt. Having had a glimpse of the Championship in previous seasons with Nottingham Forest, Holt himself admitted that he had a lot to prove, and boy did he prove it. Scoring goals, bullying defenders and a great number of assists capped off another great season for the ex-tyre fitter from Carlisle. Whilst I’m now a few years too old to even dream of making it, for all those lads playing in grass routes football he’s someone to aspire too, and as he put it so well himself, Unibond Prem to the Real Prem, WOW!

Finally I must give a mention to one member who voted last season for Michael Theoklitos, he claimed his performance against Colchester ultimately won us the league, and he does have a point! This season he didn’t disappoint, again posting the sole vote for a young keeper who made just a single appearance for City, Declan Rudd. At least Declan’s one match was a win, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if in years to come City’s latest goalkeeper off the production line at Colney is an outright winner for himself.

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