As it's getting to the time of the season when we're asked to vote for our player of the season, we thought we'd try to assemble a "best-of" team from the hundreds of players to pull on a Poppies shirt this most painful of seasons. Perhaps this team still wouldn't have been good enough to keep us up, but they might at least made a better fist of it had they represented us all season.
Goalkeeper - Michael Quirke. Has looks solid. He looks reliable. He looks 12.
Nlate might have been in contention had he not left us part way through the Weymouth game. Walker always looked too nervous and timid to have a chance. As for Gathercole, for deserting us in our greatest hour of need, and letting us play with 10-men, he can f*ck right off!
Left Back - Nathan Fox. Has tried his damnedest and had some good performances. He also looks 12 years old. 13 tops!
Right Back - Joel Gyasi. Classy and skillful. And snatched by Bedford. Boy are we now shit or what? Could have been picked as defender, midfield or forward.
Centre Back - Henry Eze. No brainer. Every performance is Good, Bad AND Ugly! More MOM awards than any other defender who has played in a Poppies defence to have shipped an average of 12 goals per game.
Centre Back - Ed Palmer. We forget now how solidly we defended earlier in the season. I distantly recall Ed doing well, but mainly remember him for his pile-driver against Cambridge City. One of only about four highlights of a season and a half at Non Park.
Also in contention in defence was Dan Crowie has been solid, and unlucky to miss out, unlike Maddox who watched Hemel Hempstead score for fun at their place and Phil Ifil who, seemingly, went from England Under 20's to not being good enough for a shit Southern League Poppies team in the same length of time it took me to write this tortuously convoluted and ridiculously long sentence.
Midfield - Nathan Hicks. Has come more into his own as the season goes on. He is the perfect barometer of our performances. Whenever he plays well in a game we usually win it. Which isn't to suggest however that he's only played well 5 times...
Midfield - Ben Ford. Has done well enough. Not quite shown us all the "Conference" quality that made Nuneaton shell out on him. More like the reason they then loaned him to us for the majority of the season!
Midfield - Chris Logan. Hardest working FREAK we've had for a while!
Bubbling under - not much really. We have had a succession of strange names coming on as substitutes to fill a shirt and have the ball bobble off their shins. Pat Noubissie gets an honourable mention despite looking slightly less fit than me.
Striker - Lewis Wilson. Top striker. Gave us the decent month of December 2012, which we'll probably be still clinging to as a Poppies high water mark for a while yet.
Striker - Jamie Griffiths. Unlucky not to score more this season. Good in the air and gives it his all. As supporters we've never really asked for more.
Striker - Warren Byerley. Never got out of 1st gear for us, but at least knew where the goal was. Also knew where the grass was greener....Possibly the last player to ever (theoretically) earn three figures per week out of the Poppies?
Other hotshots - Other than the always amusing Will and Soloman, who can huff & puff with the best of them, no one else has shown a great deal for us in a striking capacity. Aman Verma has looked either a class act, or totally disinterested (much like last season in fact). Amazingly, no matter the level we play at, Jason Turner always seems to be at least 3 divisions out of his depth!
Substitutes - Well, if we have name 5 (which has been a novelty for most recent Poppies bosses) we'd probably plump for Crowie, Michael King, Will, Soloman, and Verma.
Overall Player of the Season - Henry Eze. One of few players here this season you dare not take your eyes off. Particularly if you are the goalie behind him! Also scored our goal of the season with his amazing bicycle kick against the Poppies Whipping Boys A.K.A. Hitchin Town FC.
Get him on a contract with 10 others, and who knows, we may have a reasonable season next year?