when we got him on loan in january last season everyone was a bit nervy because of his past, and the fact the last time we'd tried to buy him, some blues fans actually made a petition to keep him away from our club. but he brushed off the 'bad boy' name tag that had shadowed his career almost straight away. we signed him in the summer and in this, his first full season, he has been one of our best players. commanding, decisive and a real threat going forward, lee bowyer plays the game just how he's always played it - with passion, which he shows in every game he plays. with a new cool-headed approach to his game that wasn't to be seen a few years ago, bowyer has revived his career at st. andrews and for me, was a definite contender for player of the season.
"he won't cut it in the prem" was what they said. "not exactly the best move by birmingham" was also what they said. i'd like you all now, every single one of you, who said either of these things, to make some kind of apology to barry ferguson, especially the website that branded him as one of the worst buys of the transfer window, in the summer of 2009. he has been nothing short of a midfield genius; one of the best passers in the premier league, his accuracy and timing have been perfection. he has the ability to pick out a pass, to find space, and do an excellent job of playing just in front of the back four and picking up loose balls. he has been phenomenal this season, and in my eyes one of, if not the, best buys of the transfer window, of summer 2009.
this was who i voted for for player of the season. we've all seen how well he's done; he (along with scott dann) has made the step up from the championship to the premiership seem minute, almost non-existent. he just plays his football how he has always played it, and it's a shame no premier league club saw his ability sooner - but i'm glad we saw it! he is a real british defender - no messing about, just clear it. he puts his body on the line every single game, and all he wants to do is play football. even when he's injured he gets up, shakes it off and gets on with the game. he truly has had an amazing season, and all that he needs to top it off now is to score his first goal for the club; that really is all he is missing from a perfect debut season in the premier league.
i voted for roger johnson because of how well he has played this season, showing true grit and determination, and overall just playing the best he possibly can and then some. but over the last few weeks it's come to mine, and a lot of other fans' attention, that it's someone else who is player of the season. if you look at our results this season, and look at the match reports, it's one name that sticks out. i'm not saying it's him on his own, because the defence, no, the whole team, has been brilliant this season, but the one name that truly sticks out is one that i should've noticed a long time ago: Joe Hart.
joe started the season with obviously areas with room for improvement. i'm not saying he was bad - he was pretty brilliant - but you could tell what he needed to improve on. and he did. this season, he has been a brilliant shot stopper: his big physique aids him in one-on-ones, making himself big and forcing his opponent to shoot straight at him. his instinctive decisions and saves: he's a very bright person on and off the field, and making quick decisions is when he is in his element, he's great at it. his kicks: he can use both feet, he gets great distance on it, be in from a goal kick or from out of his hands. joe is calm (sometimes..): he doesn't seem to feel the pressure; he can leave it until the last minute, even when a striker is running full pelt at him, to clear the ball. and for any team, it's good to have a player with passion: you can tell, even though he's only on loan, he feels what all the other players and the fans are feeling; he cleberates like he's a fan, like he's part of the club - and not many loan players are like this. his charisma and personality shine through, and it really is somewhat an honour (or maybe thats too strong a word?) to have a player like him in your side. you know he will never let you down, and if he does, he'll pick himself up, and make a string of amazing saves that make you think one: how did he do that? and two: why did i ever doubt him?
the fact he got nominated for PFA young player of the year and that he got in to the PFA XI of the season speaks for itself. he has had an amazing season, and after consideration of pretty much everything; he deserves player of the season. the amount of times he's saved and gained us points this season shouldn't be taken for granted; it's scary to think where we'd of been in the league if we didn't have him in goal. i'm not trying to take away anything from the other players, namely the defence, but i;m just reiterating what alot of people are saying: joe has saved us a lot this season. and we should be so thankful for him, and a lot of us now are asking the question: just what are we going to do next season without him?
but, whoever wins player of the season, and i can see it being any of these four, will have deserved it. in all honesty, the whole team deserve something for what they've achieved this season.