Player of the Year?

The Swindon Advertiser Player of the Year voting closed Thursday night, my vote being cast and awaiting the result at the Brentford game on Saturday, I’d thought I’d share my thoughts on who I think deserves to win the coverted title.

For once it has been a tough decision. The team have largely performed so well over the course of the season with a good level of consistency and many stand-out individual performances.

I could have chosen David Lucas, who’s confident and assured performances in goal have come as a welcome relief from past goalkeeper performances, but no.

Gordon Greer and Scott Cuthbert also signed at the start of the season. Both have been the backbone of the team all season. Greer echoes the leadership qualities of Shaun Taylor and I won’t ever forget his last minute header to equalise against Norwich City, but no.

Douglas has made the difference in the centre of midfield. Our form following his sending off against Millwall at home back in October demonstrated how integral he has become to the team, but no.

Upfront, Paynter has been a revelation this season, marking a personal best number of goals in a season. Charlie Austin has featured signifcantly since making his debut against Norwich back in late October, making 31 league appearances and scoring 19 goals. But I’ve been impressed with the guy who has been our creative lynchpin in midfield, making the chances for Austin and Paynter…… Jon-Paul McGovern.

JP joined Town back in August 2007 and has made over 100 appearances over three seasons. A solid first team player in his first seasons under Sturrock, but he suffered from Malpas’s poor decision to force him to play in a defensive role in midfield, which coincided with poor performances all round. Soon JP found himself behind McNamee, Marshall and even Easton for his natural right midfield position and perhaps began to consider his future away from the club.

Even when Danny Wilson joined the club back in January 2009 JP’s position at Town was in question. Hal Robson Kanu joined on loan from Reading and made the right wing his own for the remainder of the campaign displacing JP following Kanu’s switch from the left wing. JP found opportunities limited and after an ankle injury in February his only other game came as a right wing back away at promoted Peterborough on the final day. At this time JP admitted he saw his days were numbered as he sought regular football.

from swindontownfc.co.uk

So, at the beginning of this season and to everyone’s surprise, JP was thrust back into the first team following the 5-0 defeat away at Gillingham. JP capped a great performance with a moment of brilliance scoring a 35yd goal against his former team. I feel that this moment of individual skill pretty much set the ball rolling for the season to come. JP has featured in every league and cup game so far since the MK Dons game, making a total of 50 appearances, only not playing the full 90 minutes twice and scoring two goals to boot.

As I mentioned, McGovern has become a creative lynchpin, demonstrated by his 15 assists, the most of any player in League One this season, more than Hoolahan and Puncheon. Not to mention his contribution from set pieces.

But in all, perhaps equal to his performances on the pitch, is how someone who was almost certain he had no future at the club can grasp the opportunity and turn out consistently good performances. This says something for his determination, positive attitude and his commitment to Town when he could easily have walked away.

So JP got my vote…. who got yours?

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