Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Player of the Year

The Player of the Year will be announced on Sunday, and if the recipient of the trophy is anyone other than the player pictured then it would be a travesty. However in a disappointing season there are a handful of other candidates worthy of consideration in my view, and they are summarised below but not before I extol the merits of Scott Carson:

SCOTT CARSON: Although he had been a member of the England World Cup squad, few of us knew much about Carson. After all, he had made just 16 first-team appearances, over half whilst on loan at Sheffield Wednesday. However 34 Premiership starts and 191 saves later, it is now clear why he has ended up at a first-rate club like Liverpool, and sadly why his future surely lies away from The Valley, and rightly so. The 49 goals he has conceded in the face of unyielding pressure do not do him justice because you could count on one hand those that he might have done something about. Everything from his body language to his positive attitude, and from his outstanding shot-stopping to his consistent performances as his teammates dithered around him, serve to emphasise why he is the hottest favourite to lift the Player of the Year trophy for many seasons. It is a shame that Anfield will not witness the Charlton fans paying warm tribute to him on the final day, because they need to be reminded what a fine player they have on their books.

DARREN BENT: In all likelihood, Bent will be playing in his final three games for the Addicks and like Carson, he deserves the chance to fulfil his ambitions elsewhere and Charlton fans should support him in this regard. After all unlike the likes of Scott Parker whose talents clearly warranted a grander stage, Bent did not beg for a January move but instead gave nothing less than 100% in every game, despite a starvation of chances that borders on outright famine. However whether the club's obstinacy with regard to his possible transfer was the correct decision remains to be seen, though 5 goals under Pardew in 10 games suggests that it probably was. Just 9 goals from open play overall in 29 Premiership starts is perhaps a disappointing return, but his constant pacy presence forces defenders onto the back foot, opening up space for others. The only genuine threat to Scott Carson's deserved crown.

TALAL EL KARKOURI: The Moroccan's Charlton career appeared to be over when Curbs sent him off to Qatar in mid-April 2006, an inexplicable decision with hindsight given that his preferred centre backs at the time were Chris Perry, Hermann Hreidarsson and Gonzalo Sorondo (the 17 goals conceded in the final 7 games of 05/06 tell their own story). However he returned and frankly has been a revelation, a near ever-present under three managers, the last of which has been especially able to maximise his ball-playing abilities, whilst ridding him of most of his errors of judgment. His three important goals meanwhile earned us five points alone. One would presume he might fancy a return to French football in the summer, but in the event of relegation he's the type of player one could build a promotion campaign upon.

SOULEYMAYNE DIAWARA: The best centre-back you'd never heard of turned out not to be so bad after all. I may have been a little premature in describing him as our best defender since Richard Rufus, but the transfer fee no longer looks outlandish. His reading of the game reminds one of Jorge Costa, and their adulatory songs are similar too. He never represented a threat at set pieces which was perhaps a surprise given his size, but dire performances like those at Spurs were thankfully rare, and for the most part his defending was flawless.

LUKE YOUNG: The 2004/05 Player of the Year did not go to West Ham after all, and for that he rather than us should probably be more grateful. In a season hampered by injury, we are clearly a better team with him than without him, as Osei Sankofa's rather nervy performances showed. A leader he most certainly is not though, and understandably he lost the captaincy during the season. Always solid, rarely spectacular....I suppose that's the very definition of a half-decent full-back I guess.

HERMANN HREIDARSSON: It is hard not to like the Herminator. Moreover he's the only member of the current squad that persuades my wife to watch our matches. Utilised variously at full-back and centre-back, he has been guilty of a number of goal-resulting errors but at least you know he won't dwell on them and will get back to putting in whole-hearted performances. Although the marauding runs down the flank that we used to witness are a mere distant memory (as are his goals), he is the type of player (like El Karkouri) that could help form the core of a Championship side, should we end up there.

MATT HOLLAND: At the start of the season, the likes of Holland and Bryan Hughes summed up everything that I thought was wrong with the team. Whilst Hughes continues to defy rational explanation, Holland has certainly proved this doubter wrong and it is perhaps in times of adversity that his qualities most obviously shine through. The most surprising aspect of this therefore has been his absence from recent disappointing performances, a rare Pardew decision which one might reasonably question. Like the aforementioned Hreidarsson, Rommedahl, and Faye, their wanton lack of goals has cost us dearly however, leaving too much of a burden upon Darren Bent's shoulders. However in the event of relegation, he should be handed the captain's armband for next season before the team bus even leaves Anfield.


At 4:49 PM, Blogger Blackheath Addicted said...

I gave my vote to Holland over Carson, but it was a close call. At the final whistle away at Sheff Utd Holland seemed the only one with the guts to approach/applaud what were by then very unsympathetic supporters (captain of the day, Luke Young, was nowhere to be seen). His honesty and effort through the season merit the award - and like you I'm surprised he has not featured in the last few games. He isn't the greatest player but on Saturday he would have brought some discipline to the team as soon as we had scored.

At 7:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Carson by a country mile.I wish I had voted!
NYA- Diawara is a basic, no frills defender but has areas of his game which are weak eg judging a ball in the air (2 errors-2 goals-Wigan away) frequent miskicks when clearing the ball and it ends up in the stands, and occasionally errors of positioning (eg Home vs Middlesborough in front of jimmy seed). Decent player but worth £1m max.
David Whyte-Whyte-Whyte

At 11:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cory Gibbs is mine!

At 12:27 PM, Blogger Chicago Addick said...

Good summary NYA.
Carson easily #1
Holland #2
El Khak #3


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