Chris Wilder wasn’t hesitant in looking forward after Sunday’s debacle. He had always been at pains to state that his team was one that was thrown together and that the focus should always have been on 2009/10.
However, even Wilder was seduced by the momentum gained through the latter part of the season. His demeanour changed from grim pragmatism to giddy bewilderment at what was being achieved.
The Northwich game did highlight much of what Wilder had been saying. Willmott was clearly missed as he, Foster and Turley made a formidable central defensive trio. Up front James Constable impressed in everything he did – effort, goals, attitude – but he was most effective with Murray playing just off him. When Murray pulled the strings in the middle, he created spaces for Constable to exploit. His ‘sacrifice’ to the wing on Sunday was telling. Chapman was strong, upright and aware helping the team flow from back to front.
These six were clear favourites in any player of the season consideration. Others; Haldane, Batt and Nelthorpe impressed in fits and spurts whilst Clist, Carruthers and Sandwith were supporting players at best.
Constable’s accolades were inevitable – few aren’t swayed by the contribution of a hatful of goals and the others were old faces – Turley and Foster in particular simply maintained their normal outstanding standard.
But one name stands out beyond all others in his contribution to this season and probably much more besides. For if we are to accept that winning games is the result of a very long move started some way from the field of play then it is clear to me that the man who was pulling the strings has never pulled on a yellow shirt.
So, for selecting Chris Wilder through a structured recruitment process, re-building relations with Firoz Kassam and negotiating a profit share scheme, handling the points deduction with considered clarity, for signing James Constable (hopefully), introducing early season ticket renewals to help with cashflow through the summer and generally being open and straight forward in everything he’s done. This season’s Oxblogger Player of the Season is… Kelvin Thomas. And there are few chairmen that will ever get close to that kind of accolade.