Seeing as the whole nation – give or take a few – will be going to the polls for General Election 2010 today, I thought it only right that I cast a few votes of my own after what has been an outstanding season at Carrow Road.
It’s all been said before but ever since Paul Lambert arrived at the helm, it has been a campaign of near-perfection in Norfolk and wouldn’t Messrs Clegg, Cameron and Brown love to be as popular as the Norwich manager?
But while, for me, he has the been the single most important factor in driving City back to the Championship, most of these ‘awards’ are for the players, most of whom have also been a credit to the football club in 2009/10.
Player of the Season: Grant Holt. Fraser Forster, Gary Doherty and Wes Hoolahan have all been outstanding but 30 goals and plenty of leadership nous gives Holt the nod.
Best signing: Technically, this award should go to Holt as well but the addition of Oli Johnson, for a nominal fee, could be a very profitable one in the years to come. The boy has genuine talent and if he can mature in the right way, the former non-league forward can go right to the top.
Worst signing: Goran Maric. The Serbian striker hardly kicked a ball in anger and Lambert was quick to show the former Celta Vigo man the door. It could be argued that he wasn’t given a chance but would you doubt the City chief’s judgement? No, I didn’t think so.
Most Overrated Player of the Season: Simon Whaley arrived at Carrow Road with a decent reputation but when Paul Lambert was installed as manager, Whaley was shipped out on loan twice and then promptly released from Canary duties.
Best Performance of the Season: There have been a few! But for many reasons, the 5-0 victory at Colchester was both impressive and satisfying in equal measure. There was a lot riding on that fixture, with the bad blood between the two sides, but the emphatic nature of that success made the rest of the division sit up and take notice. City never really looked back after that moment.
Worst Performance of the Season: This one was the easiest to decide and you can’t look past that opening day 7-1 shocker at home to the U’s. Doesn’t it seem an age ago now though? And, in hindsight, it was most probably the best thing to happen to the football club at that particular time.
Biggest Surprise of the Season: When Lambert got the top job back in August, most fans were hoping he could rebuild confidence and possibly sneak City into the play-offs. But from the off, Lambert got the Canaries motoring again and to win the league by a country mile was beyond anyone’s expectations.
Biggest Hope for Next Season: Lambert’s impact in Norfolk is likely to mean that he is hot property and the City faithful will be hoping that he stays put for the foreseeable future. Under the Scot, Norwich could well carry their momentum forward into a successful Championship campaign but if a Premier League big boy comes calling, it will be interesting to see what happens.
Best Reason to be Hopeful for Next Season: Momentum and confidence play a huge part in football and there won’t be many teams in better spirits come August. And make no mistake, with a summer addition or two, this squad has enough quality to flirt with the top six, especially with the division likely to be at its weakest for a few years.