Player of the Season
1) David Stephens
Absolutely solid and in my opinion, didn’t really put a foot wrong in his debut season with the Bees. A consistent defender who kept us in so many games with his last-ditch tackles and no-nonsense style of defending, David’s quality performances in so many games were the reason why it wasn’t settled weeks before the end of the campaign. I think he’s one of the best defenders we’ve had for years – and he’s only 21!
2) Graham Stack
16 clean sheets. Unbeaten at home in eight matches with only one goal conceded.
3) Jake Hyde
14 goals for the season. His goals won us 18 points.
Young Player of the Season
1) Elliot Johnson
Making his debut in November in the 1-0 win against Torquay, the young defender went on to make 25 more appearances, becoming ever-present in the left back position. A worthy winner, Elliot only signed a professional deal in May, having previously been named as an unused substitute. His debut was fairly outstanding, the occasion didn’t faze him and he looked so comfortable on the ball, always keen to get forward. Since then, he’s grown in confidence and hasn’t looked back. I’m surprised he wasn’t handed his first start earlier, considering our previous left backs were Edgar and Brown. I imagine he will be a big player for us next season!
18 years old. 26 league appearances, 1 goal.
2) David Stephens
21 years old. 42 league appearances, 1 goal.
3) Andy Yiadom
21 years old. 39 league appearances, 3 goals.
Most improved player
I couldn’t pinpoint one single player, so my top three are in alphabetical order:
· Mark Byrne
In my opinion, Byrner has improved since the start of the season. He’s copped his fair share of stick, which has largely been undeserved. He is sometimes a little inconsistent but there’s no doubt that Byrner is a class player and deserves to be playing at a higher level. It may have been a tough ask to be asked to play alongside the likes of Edgar Davids and John Oster but he thrived on the opportunity and his performances definitely improved. He’s one of my favourite players and he’s come a long way from the player he was when he returned from injury when initially on loan. Back to his best, I’m praying we manage to hold on to him.
· Barry Fuller
The beginning of the season was one to forget for everyone, none more than Baz. Giving away a number of needless penalties, looking nervy on the ball and not making the right decision. It would be wrong to pinpoint one defender, when as a unit, we looked horrendous at the back, but a lot of the blame was on Baz’s shoulders. He definitely improved towards the end of the season with a number of quality performances (that also saw him win the Man of the Match award), it’s a shame it all ended with a needless red card after the final whistle v Dagenham & Redbridge.
· Jake Hyde
I may be biased because he is my favourite current Barnet player and I rated him from his first spell with the club, but Jakey has come a long way since then! Back in 2009, he was only 19 and making his Football League debut (having previously played for Weymouth while on the books of Swindon Town). Six goals in 34 appearances may not have looked a good return, but we had John O’Flynn up front who got the bulk of the goals, while the midfield also chipped in. Returning at the age of 22, Jake netted over twice as many goals this time round, playing largely as the lone striker and often with little service. He absolutely works his socks off and you can’t fault his effort at all.
Goal of the Season
I’ve been trying to find video clips of each of these, but that’s proved unsuccessful, but here’s three you won’t forget:
1) Ricky Holmes v Southend (October 6th 2012)
I remember rushing home from town to listen to this match on BBC Essex and even Southend’s commentary team said this was a contender for goal of the season! As soon as I saw it later that evening, I wanted to watch it over and over – a stunning goal! It’s a shame we went on to draw, because that was a strike worthy of winning any game!
2) Ross Jenkins v Accrington Stanley (March 19th 2013)
Overhead kick. Say no more.
3) Luke Gambin v Morecambe (March 9th 2013)
Not a bad feat scoring on your first full start. Lovely assist by Dani Lopez.