Sunderland’s player of the season: make my choice, win a prize

Jake, with due recognition for Tony Roffe's photography, flatters Salut! Sunderland

The vote, technically, is mine. But I am giving it to you, the readers of Salut! Sunderland.



I have been
a member of the London and South East branch of the Sunderland AFC Supporters’ Association – click here for its home page – since quite early into my second spell of living in London; why I didn’t join the first time around remains a mystery to me but I’m still up beyond 25 years (Ian Todd, co-founder of the branch, would know for sure). These days, I spend half the year 1,000km from London but suspect it is still my nearest branch, unless one has opened up in Marseille or Paris.


And at the worst possible time – while we’re all licking our wounds after the mauling at Goodison, bringing back as it did dark memories of Bruce, Sbragia and beyond – my branch has launched its poll for Player and Young Player of the Season awards.

Over to Ian:

Although we will in due course announce the Branch result, our votes will be aggregated to those of other Branches to determine who will receive the awards at a function in Quinn’s Bar at the end of the season.

For clarification, those qualified by age as Young Player are: Jack Colback, Ji Dong- Won, James McClean, David Meyler, Ryan Noble and Connor Wickham. The deadline for submitting our results is 10.00 on Sunday 22nd April so please consider the matter and vote soon.

I will accordingly hold this posting at the top of the home page until midnight on Friday April 20 and then register my vote as a collective Salut! Sunderland one, with the branch. And I will set the ball rolling with my own nominations, posting as Kingshirker.

Give a reason for your own choices and, provided the response warrants it, I will come up with a prize for those I judge to be the best in each category.



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Colin Randall

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20 thoughts on “Sunderland’s player of the season: make my choice, win a prize”

  1. Clear wins for Sess and, despite good support for McClean, Colback. Unless my maths is awry. I will announce the winning entry in a day or two.

  2. Player of the season – Sess. I’d give it to him on the basis that he gives us something nobody else in the squad can, that elusive spark of creativity allied to a quick change of pace. He’s had the odd off day but that has more often than not coincided with being asked to plough a lone furrow up top – a role he’s just not cut out for.

    Young Player of the season – James McClean. From the moment he came on against Blackburn we saw something raw and exciting in this lad. He’s like a throwback to a bygone age of wingers who from minute one to ninety is positive and looks to take fullbacks on putting the opposition on the back-foot. He is an exciting prospect and would richly deserve the award.

  3. Player of the season just has to be Stephane Sessegnon. There was a moment in the home game against Spurs when he sent two opponents the wrong way without even touching the ball – I haven’t seen that from a Sunderland player since Johnny Crossan. And his skill has an end product, too, as witness the three goals he helped set up against Manchester City.

    Young player of the season is Jack Colback; understated class.

  4. PotS for me is Sess. No question but I think he’ll be back in France next season.

    YPotS for me is Jack Colback, just shading McClean. JM’s arrival was explosive and he’s now double marked so it’s harder for him to shine. That shows he’s taken seriously by the opposition causing him to drift in and out of the game.

    JC has been consistently good all season whether at left back or centre midfield and I’d be more than happy with him as lynch-pin for next season. If other midfield players around him are replaced, I won’t mind that either.

    • ‘Most improved player’ was always the award you dreaded winning in the teams you represented as a kid.

      The manager’s player and players’ player went to the two best lads in the team (or sometimes the manager’s son would conveniently win players’ player, and of course it was forbidden to share your votes with team mates. hmmmmm).

      Most improved player meant everyone thought you were crap but cos you turned up every week and tried your best, you deserved something. Rather then a rapturous applause breaking out, it was a collective ‘ahhhh bless him’.

      Just what a ‘mate’ told me like……..

  5. Player of the season has to be Sess for the number of games he has influenced and the fact he has played most of the games. Can’t believe that anyone would consider Kilgallon, not because he hasn’t been a revelation under MON – he has, but he has only played a handful of games – like most of the defence – McBardsley apart.

    Young player – I’ll go for McClean though the Colback arguments are convincing. I’ll hold my hands up and admit that I thought the Irish lad would be found wanting after a few games as opponents sussed him out. He looked a bit limited to me but I am happy to say he is proving me wrong. He could probably do with a rest this weekend. Ji and Wickham are non starters in my book for the same reason I have excluded Kilgallon. Not enough performances.

    So there you have it – SS and JM (oh and if Jeremy doesn’t vote can I have his proxy and nominate Kyrgiakos? :-))

  6. Sessegnon unquestionably Player of The Season. He is the type of player that puts bums on seats and whose skills the vast majority of those watching [and those players on the same pitch come to that] could never replicate no matter how much they tried. O’Neill has found a very effective role for him in which he has thrived.
    McClean was a catalyst who effectively changed our season and got MON off to a winning start, when at 0-1 down versus Blackburn, he came on as substitute, immediately beat his man to get in a superb cross that subsequently got the crowd on their feet and the combination of more positive play from the young Derry lad and the crowd’s sudden reaction to him saw the team responsd accordingly in the form of a vital 2-1 win courtesy of goals from Vaughan and Larsson. Both players will undoubtedly win the respective categories.

  7. Sessegnon for player of the season, and McClean for young player – really close between him and Colback, but the fact that so many “big teams” see him as a threat just sways it towards Londonderry’s latest hero

  8. Sessegnon is a shoo in for POTY but it wont, unfortunately, keep him here. I was going to go for Jimmy Mac as YPOTY but have been swayed by others’ arguments and will go with Colback.

  9. Player of the season: Niall Quinn, who was as good off the field as he was on it. However, I notice he has recently been barred. In which case Ellis Short, for making a much needed substitution. And if he’s not eligible then Kieron Richardson, who gives 100% every game. His contribution this season is undervalued

    Young player: Colback. He’s played in more games and in more positions than the Cleaner and he looks fresher. I think McClean needs a rest and Colback’s still full of running.

  10. Sessignon, player of the year by a mile.Sheer class and bamboozles defenders of all reputations.Not many SAFC players over the years get TV commentataors drooling over their silky skills,he would fit into any Premiership side(apart from the Mags of course).

    Younger player of the year is a harder slot,Maclean would be the obvious choice but I would plump for Colback on the basis of consistency.Jack has been very calm, assured and a great asset to the whole team in the engine room.He plays with a confidence way beyond his years.

    Maclean is a worthy contender as he has been inspirational,but has not quite achieved that high standard every week.

  11. Colback for Young Player of the Year: his maturity and consistency for such a young man in the centre of the pitch (please, Martin, put him back there) is a joy to watch, as his ability to keep the ball and bring others into play.
    I’m tempted by Larsson for Player of the Year because he always gives 100%, playing when ill, etc. and was one of the very few players who showed his quality even under Bruce. Larsson it is.

  12. Sess as your Player of the Season is clear enough, Ian; but are you making McClean your Young Player?

  13. I think McClean is one of our best players now with even Spurs doubling up on him. Goes to show you what a threat he is if Spurs are doign that.
    There have been many outstanding players. Thinking of Cattermole, Kilgallon Larrson and Bendtner has done OK too.
    But it has to be Sessengeon. He is our game-changer.
    Without him we’re lacking that all important spark to create goals.

  14. James McClean in both categories for me. He is a breath of fresh air. He worries opposing defenders, not just his immediate marker but the whole back four of opposing teams, they are frequently having to double up on him thereby leaving room for Sess to exploit. He gives us an out ball when the defence is under pressure, very rarely gives it back and his crossing and penetrative runs on the left side remind me of Magic Johnstone in his pomp, and, to go further back into the mists of time, the magnificent George Mulhall. He has almost singlehandedly rescued a season that was falling apart and given every fan hope and ambition that better times may be on the horizon. He must go to the Euros with the Republic where he may hopefully be able to test himself against some of the best right backs the Continent has to offer. It can only improve him as a player and as a person and he may just give long suffering England fans something to cheer after our overpaid prima donnas have long since departed. VOTE FOR THE CLEANER.

    • I agree with all those sentiments. Think back to Blackburn and the outlet this new kid suddenly provided sparked our whole season into life. I just go for Colback as i don’t really recall him ever having a bad game. McClean hasn’t had many, without doubt. The fact Colback has provided cover for left back (and playing as well as the other two arguably) and the fact his consistency and calmness on the ball is something that is overlooked in a player in favour for the impact player too much, i go for him.

      I am aware that i picked an impact player for my other player of the year. What do I know eh? haha

  15. I would go with the same two.

    While Sess seems just too obvious, too predictable, it would be a bigger challenge for someone to justify an alternative. Lee Cattermole deserves huge praise for his transformation from a liability to a more composed holding midfielder. John O’Shea, after ridiculously being persevered as a right back by the previous regime, has been a tremendous calming influence at centre half. Think of the short impact Steve Bould made and then remind ourselves that O’Shea should have another three years at the top in him, and we can all be happy. But Sess makes things happen. His sublime touch and speed of thought are something i’m not sure i have seen here in my lifetime. The easiest way to put forward his case is to imagine how many points worse off we would be without him. A lot in my opinion. I don’t see how we could have created vast amounts without him, we struggle on that front as it is.

    Younger player is a harder one. McClean will be a popular choice, doubtless. He has only playeed half the season though. Mignolet might be a choice for some people also, but as i have said before i am just not a fan. Good shot stopper but his feet are rooted too often, and he is the third best keeper here for me. Due to many debates, i am aware that that is more my beliefs than definite fact. Colback’s improvement is notable in the trust of the other players around him. How often do we see simple passes avoided and replaced by hopeful long balls? If Colback is remotely available for a pass, people give him it. He doesn’t give it away and ball retention is a huge ability in the Premier League. When things like his goal at Boro become more of a regular feature, and he adds a touch aggression, he’s going to be some player.

  16. Right. Tougher than I expected, but Jack Colback is my winner of the Young Player award, his sheer consistency putting him ahead of the great flashes of brilliance we have seen from James McClean. Player of the season: I was tempted by Matt Kilgallon because of the exemplary way he has come back and forced us to consider him a great asset to SAFC. And Seb Larsson has given us something from set pieces that we have missed for too long. But I must go for Stephane Sessegnon, not because I think he might be encouraged to stay if enough of us vote for him but because his skills and commitment have been a joy to watch.

    Needless to say, these comments – while representing valid votes – do not count as a prize entry.

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