TTU Awards 2011-12: Bargain Buy of the Season
The list of nominees was long for the second in our eponymous yearly awards. Joe Mason, a regular starter and scorer for Cardiff; Kevin Nolan, hardly cheap, but still value for money; Rhoys Wiggins, who’s developed into by far and away the best left-back in League 1 over the course of the season after Charlton had snaffled him for a modest fee; and Crawley’s quick and dirty turnover of Tyrone Barnett were all heralded as good pieces of business up and down the leagues.
Elsewhere, the electric Ricardo Vaz Te would be described as a corking 2011-12 purchase by Tykes and Hammers both, while Maxime Blanchard’s Player of the Season award at Plymouth following his free transfer reflected his weighty contribution to the Pilgrims’ heartening survival.
The list doesn’t stop there. The impressive Lee Miller – described as no less than “the best player at Brunton Park in 10 years” by our Cumbrian correspondent – cost Carlisle nothing, with former employers Middlesboro having agreed to pay some of his wages to boot. The free transfer of Jack Midson – the star of the Not So Secret Footballer feature over on The 72 – to AFC Wimbledon was remarked upon too. Without his goals, the Dons might have given Hereford and Macclesfield some competition for the bottom slots, one contributor suggested.
Yet Jason Roberts, vital in Reading’s remarkable finish, clinches this year’s silverware. Although the fee paid for the 5 Live jockey is protected under the shroud of the ‘undisclosed’, it can’t have been significant compared with the catalyzing effect that he had in Berkshire. Leading the line like a rich man’s Barry Hayles, Roberts barnstormed Reading towards a wholly unanticipated Championship title and it’ll be fascinating to see whether he can continue in the same fashion back in the division where he belongs.