TTU Awards 2012-13: Loan of the Season
Inevitably, Watford Football Club loom large in this first category of the TTU Awards. We’ve followed the Hornets’ link up to Granada and Udinese closely over the past nine months. First, William Abbs drew our attention to the project back in July; then, Matt Rowson helpfully introduced us to the dramatis personae, before Michael Moruzzi provided a spirited defence as the naysayers gathered and our own co-founder Lloyd expressed ennui at the torrent of press coverage.
But in spite of the fact that MatÄ›j Vydra scooped Championship Player of the Season at the Football League Awards in March, it’s been very much a team effort at Vicarage Road and one could argue that Almen Abdi, Joel Ekstrand or Nathaniel Chalobah might be equally as deserving of our recognition.
So in terms of individual impact on a club’s success, our voters generally cast their eyes elsewhere – without Chris Wood‘s 11 goals in 19 games between September and December, Millwall would have been relegated well before the end of the season. Before he arrived, the Lions were struggling to stay above the bottom 3. With the New Zealander in the team, the south Londoners were almost unaccountably in the top 6; without him, they clung onto Championship status by their fingernails.
But for a website where in-person, in-ground viewings of the action have always played the most important role, it’s Jason Banton who emerges as the perhaps surprise winner of the 2012-13 accolade. Despite the fact that even some of his own team-mates don’t consider his contribution to have been significant enough, his 6 goals in 14 matches have arrested Plymouth Argyle’s slide to end all slides and his swagger did nothing less than preserve the Pilgrims’ Football League status.
Mentions too for David McGoldrick, arguably a class apart in League 1 and Kevin Phillips, who proved in the play-off final that even at nearly 40 years old, he still knows how to put the ball in the back of the onion sack. Crystal Palace utilised his services effectively during his temporary stint with fleeting, but at time crucial, appearances – especially at the finish.