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By Lee Ryder on Apr 28, 10 09:01 AM

When it comes to the player of the season at St James' Park, just where do you start, in all honesty there are so many contenders.

I'd say a lot of them have bagged places in Geordie folklore too, and it has not been an uncommon sight to see many Toon fans wearing shirts with the names of some players on the back that just would not have happened 12 months ago.

Feel free to chip in on who should win it but here is my take on our Toon troopers this season in no particular order.

Andy Carroll
With 19 goals in the bag and eight assists the Geordie lad has done what he HAD to do this season.
Without these contributions there may well be a few question marks above his head.
Has had problems off the field this season but if he can keep his head above water, he can still prove his quality in the top flight next season.
An oustanding candidate for the top award.

Kevin Nolan
The Scouser had played a big part on and off the field.
Any player in any division who can boast 18 goals from midfield has done OK even if a few of those goals have came when he has played off the shoulder of Shola Ameobi or Andy Carroll.
In his first full season with the Magpies, Nolan can be proud of his efforts and will be relishing next term already.

Jose Enrique
The Bull has emerged as one of the true crowd favourites at St James' Park this season.
His overlapping runs from full-back and tough tackling nature have been a joy to watch at times.
And the moment when he netted the crucial goal against Nottingham Forest will be remembered for years to come.

Fabricio Coloccini
Another cult hero to emerge from United's Championship season.
Barely beaten in the air and has left Championship strikers in no doubt who was boss.
Scored crucial goals at Cardiff and Watford and has repaid a huge slice of his £10million transfer tag.

Steve Harper
How can you miss out Steve Harper!
The longest serving player at the club and has pulled off some big saves at big times.
Sheff United away was simply out of this world with a trip of stops in injury time.
But the fact that Harper has, as in the words of Paul Barron, looked " inpregnable" throughout is one of the key reasons why Harper has been a cornerstone of the team whos efforts will never be forgotten.

Alan Smith
His battling qualities have been vital and if there is a tackle he has shirked, I can't remember it.
Smith has been the rock in front of the back four for the Magpies this season.
His non-stop work ethic has powered United at times.
Several moments stand out but a vital block tackle near the line after Ishmael Miller had missed a sitter from close range meant Newcastle held West Brom and kept them at bay in a crucial game in January, which summed up the sort of contributions made by Smudge.

Danny Guthrie
The box to box battler has had his work cut out to find a way into the team with Smith and Nolan in fine form.
But he's done exactly that and shown some fantastic touches along the way.
With 12 assists and four goals this term, Guthrie has more than established himself at SJP with next season an interesting one to say the least for the ex-Liverpool man.

Peter Lovenkrands
Had a tough start to his second spell at Newcastle as he tried to get back into the swing of it.
His season wasn't helped by the loss of his father.
But he stepped up to the plate and delivered to help Newcastle United get back to the top.
With 12 goals and two assists in the Championship and a hat-trick in the FA Cup against Plymouth, the Dane has been in red hot form.

Danny Simpson
The full-back has played in the majority of matches this season and never let anybody down.
A shrewd signing from Hughton from Manchester United who earned a move after a loan stint from Old Trafford.
Loves the club, loves the fans and is desperate to show next season he's a Premier League player.

Jonas Gutierrez
Has covered almost every blade of grass in the Championship.
Again is all about hard work.
Many questioned his final product but has done well to top that up with seven assists and four goals in the title winning season.

Shola Ameobi
The man who helped kick start Newcastle's second tier title win.
His hat-trick against Reading gave anybody with ideas about how life would be at St James' Park a flavour of Newcastle's offensive attitude.
His season has been decimated by injury, but with 11 goals and four assists in all competitions in just 18 games, when he's played, he's stood up and been counted.

Ryan Taylor
The Scouser, by his own admission, has stated he's been disappointed not to play more.
But 30 appearances, four assists and five goals show he's played a big part.
The utility man has proven he can play in a variety of positions.
Has also stated he wants to prove he can do the business at right-back.

Steven Taylor
Where would Newcastle be without his early season contributions?
The defender's absence must have been bad when he picked up that knee injury against West Brom, otherwise Chris Hughton wouldn't have felt the need to sign a replacement in Mike Willamson.
Taylor has been linked with moves away from St James' Park but should stay at Newcastle and help spark a new era on Tyneside.

Mike Williamson
Be honest, when he signed, it was a case of Mike who?
Now the Stoke-born defender has been handed a second chance to show he can cut the mustard at Premier League level after an unsavoury experience with Pompey.
In 15 games, Williamson has shown he is fully committed to the cause and is part of a new breed of players who are grateful to play for the Toon.

Wayne Routledge
Another late comer to the Toon's promotion campaign.
And was considered another shrewd buy by Chris Hughton.
Routledge has shown more than flashes of why he was rated such a hot prospect earlier in his career.
Has made five assists and scored three in his 16 appearances so far and had a hand in plenty of others.
A first class signing and one who will be desperate to prove his point next season.

Joey Barton
The Huyton lad has had fierce critics down the years and has admitted he's deserved them.
Like him or loathe him, you can't ignore him.
This season he could have been United's worst nightmare, especially during a stint when injured with a foot problem.
However, he's bounced back from everything that's been thrown at him at Newcastle.
Now keen to show his best years in football with Newcastle.
And if he show the same sort of tecnique like against Peterborough away with a stunning free-kick and against Plymouth when his sliced open the Pilgrims, who knows which direction Barton's career turns next?

Nicky Butt
The club captain bowed out when lofting the trophy on the final day of the season.
Has been a bit part player this season but experience behind the scenes has been crucial.
Recently said winning promotion was the best way possible to end his career.

Fitz Hall
Just seven appearances but a player with the right attitude and desire to play for Newcastle in my opinion.
Admitted that playing for Newcastle has been a humbling experience.
You won't meet a nicer bloke in football than Fitz Hall.
Has given everything when he's played for the Magpies and made the most of every moment in a Toon shirt.

Fabrice Pancrate
His goal against Watford was one of the best I've ever seen at St James' Park.
His reserve team debut against Hartlepool saw him start like a house on fire and then fizzle out.
Which has pretty much been the story of his career thus far.
Uncertain to be back next season but hey what about that goal against the Hornets?

Leon Best
An easy target for the critics as he's a strike that hasn't scored a goal.
But another of the 'delighted to be here brigade' who may yet have something to say to those who have already dismissed him.
To be fair with Carroll, Lovenkrands, Ameobi and Nolan banging goals in left, right and centre he hasn't had what you'd call a run in the side.

Nile Ranger
Had an excellent first half to the season.
But quickly realised that nothing is a given in football.
The ex-Southampton trainee has bagged twice this season and although injury has resulted in him ending the season in a pot, a season on loan for the teenager may be on the cards next term.

Tamas Kadar
Still unbeaten in his league appearances for the Magpies.
The Hungarian has chipped in with some sturdy displays this year.
And although he will probably feel he should have played more showed more signs that he can step up to the big stage.
The player with a cultured left foot will probably be a back-up player again next season if he doesn't go out on loan.

Tim Krul
The Dutch player's performance away to West Brom helped secure a point.
He also didn't let down United in the Swansea game and in the cup games he played in this season.
Still one for the future but his time must be getting closer.

The rest of the Toon squad players who played a part this season were Kazenga LuaLua, Ben Tozer, Ryan Donaldson, Haris Vuckic, Geremi, Damien Duff, Xisco, Marlon Harewood, Patrick Van Aanholt and Zurab Khizanishvili.

What do you think?


8 Comments

Scoobytoon said:

At last Lee you have written somthing worth reading, It certainly beats your last few blogs when you kept bleeting on about the 92-93 season. I don't want be too critical about this blog but I think you have missed a very important player from your list and thats Steve Harper or does a record number of clean sheets in a season not count? I'm sure most fans will agree he deserves some credit for his efforts this season.

Mike R said:

Scoobytoon, Steve Harper is actually the 5th name on the list!!!!!

relton said:

Cant see how Carroll would make it on anyones list. Shown criminal tendencies off the field including an assualt on one of our best players.
granted - he did score a lot of goals against the Pub defences in the CCC - test of real quality lies ahead - but I do wish he hadnt of let himself down. Jonas petrified the defences - again - next year will tell for him.
I think Nolan and Smith - for it was their mentality that kept this squad honest and helped deliver Hughton's message to the Changing Room.

Scoobytoon said:

OOOPS just done a Gordon Brown and put my big foot in it sorry Lee, and thanks Mike for pointing out the fact I missed Harpers name on the list gonna have a nice slice of humble pie now mmmmm.

Ginola said:

Good blog Lee, cheers.

Mal said:

An interesting question Lee, but your article is rather spoilt by including about 10 players who by no stretch of the imagination could be voted our player of the year.
It's all about opinions of course, and wonder if relton (above) has actually been to any of our games - Carroll would be a contender on most supporters' list.
I think that I would have to go for Nolan - he has been the surpise package for me even though I have my doubts about him in the premiership. I have no such doubts about Carroll. If we sign 3 or 4 extra players of reasonable quality. Given the service and a reasonably injury free season I would back him to get at least 15 goals.

toongone good said:

well done lee looks like you've been doing a it work, its not all free match tickets then eh!? haha

whats great is its hard to pick a fav out of the above. i like how Colo has come back after undeserved stick he recieved last season. harper was aways going to do a good job. hope guthrie can stay fit his passsing is PL class.

orfangina said:

Smudger should get it :) He's been fantastic both on and off the pitch. Briliant character and a passionate sportsman who has really pushed the lads forward in a positive direction. He may not be the most stylish or pacy on the pitch, but he's made his voice heard and put his heart and soul into every performance.

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Lee Ryder

Lee Ryder - Proudly born and bred on Tyneside, the Chronicle's chief sports writer has followed the fortunes of the club over the last three decades as a Toon fan and football writer.

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