My long awaited Player of The Season announcement… (see what I’m doing by not showing his face in the headline to maintain suspense)
So, it would seem logical for a Bolton Wanderers writer to about their best player of the season after the end of the season. Most already have.
Having had a while since the close of the season to think about it, I have come up with a conclusion. No player at the club impressed enough to deserve this award in my opinion, however I don`t wish to break the amazing tradition of awarding one every year at Vital Bolton so I have decided on one.
I really really struggled with this. This isn`t because we didn`t have any good moments this season; we did. It`s just that every spark seemed to be depressingly short.
Chung Yong Lee returned to his best, but as a different player. His vision, awareness and sharpness made him unplayable and he thoroughly deserves his move to the Premier League. Meanwhile, Darren Pratley turned into one of the league`s best midfielders. Obviously, being a Bolton player he had to get injured. Max Clayton looked a bright prospect before rupturing his ACL. Zach Clough was awesome for 10 games before injuring his shoulder. Matt Mills and Dorian Dervite looked good at times, but consistency proved a problem for both. Neil Danns even enjoyed a brief cameo of form before his sending off at Liverpool; he hasn`t been the same player since. The experience Emile Heskey and Eidur Gudjohnsen was useful; but, understandably, neither set the world on fire. ‘Keepers Adam Bogdan, Andy Lonergan, Ben Amos were all good when given the chance, however injuries and loan deals limited appearances for them all. Barry Bannan and Adam Le Fondre were inspired additions in January, however they weren`t at the club for long enough to win the award. Tim Ream was Mr Consistent as always, though I`d like to see some magic from him? at least once.
Josh Vela was thrusted into the side in an unfamiliar right back position, but quickly made the spot his own. His technical ability and tactical brain are things that come naturally to a talented player like himself, and they shone. When moved into his favoured position in the midfield, he looked like a Premier League player at times, despite his tender age. Like Ream, he doesn`t change the world, however he reminds me slightly of a young Stuart Holden. He`s good on the ball, but equally willing to get stuck in. I do have to ask myself whether he played as well as we`d normally expect a ‘Player of The Season` to play, and the answer`s no.
Yes, he`s a great talent, and I`ve highlighted his attributes above. However, I feel that the main reason he stood out is because that many of his colleagues really let us down. While Josh played well (and thus stood out), he didn`t blow my mind.
In our first Championship season we had inspired young loanee, Jay Spearing claim the award, while 12 goal 12 assist Chris Eagles came second. Believe me, if Eagles did that for us this season he would have certainly won the award.
Anyway, well done lad. It could well be the first of many Vital Bolton Player of the Season Awards to come!