The boot goes in next week when our end-of-term, end-of-season reports start running. Well, that may be putting it harshly since at least one of the contributors we have lined up will be making a strong case for the defence.
But for now, let us hail another man who has been making a compelling case for the defence all season. Step forward Phil Bardsley, winner of the official Player of the Season poll run by the club to add to the similar honour he collected in the SAFC Supporters’ Association awards. And he ends the season a winner on four counts, if you include the internal players’ vote and his debut as a McInternational.
The accolades come as no great surprise. As an ultimately rotten season draws to a close, it is easy to forget we had highlights, too. Always remember that when the run began, we were in the top seven, edging towards a place in European competition and hailed throughout English football for the away performance of the season, that 3-0 demolition of Chelsea.
And on an individual level, there was the form of Phil Bardsley. Forced to play out of position, seemingly surplus to Steve Bruce’s requirements, he simply fought and fought his way to automatic selection with a succession of storming, man-of-the-match displays. The sensational block of a goalbound shot at Bolton, and one or two of his own goals, will linger long in fans’ minds.
Bravo, Phil. Who needs the likes of Messi and Rooney, or even a Neville or two, when you have Bardo in the starting 11?
Bardsley, who also won the first team’s own vote, added his first international cap, for Scotland, to a memorable season.
He told safc.com:
“Obviously the fans have been telling me I’ve been in the running but it was still a surprise to win. It’s nice to hear people praise me and to win both the fans’ and players’ player of the season awards means a lot to me. To be recognised by both the supporters and my team-mates is fantastic. It’s a great feeling and I can’t thank the people who voted for me enough I’ve had a good season this year but hopefully there’s even more to come from me next season and beyond.”
Jordan Henderson was the club’s young player of the year, while Nedum Onuoha and Craig Gordon won the goal and save of the season prizes respectively and the win at Stamford Bridge was the season’s best performance.