If it is to be curtains for Lawrie Wilson's Charlton career, we'll remember the good times rather than the sad ending: an emergency loan to Rotherham (no disrespect intended, just reminds me of that dramatisation of Eamon Dumphy's book when he is trying to comfort a Millwall youngster who's just been released with the idea that things could be worse, he - Dumphy - has been told he's got to go and play for Charlton). The last time I was in Rotherham I was waiting to catch a bus back to Sheffield after having watched us lose 3-0, proudly wearing my red and white scarf, feeling hacked off, only to get a bucketload of abuse from Charlton fans in coaches setting off back to the smoke. Rounded off a somewhat imperfect day.
Wilson for sure goes with all our best wishes. He has looked a bit forlorn of late, not the driving force down the flank that we got to appreciate. Perhaps he already knew he would be off in the summer (if not in January) and some of the enthusiasm (not the effort) may have gone. I hope he gets it back at Rotherham and flourishes. But yes, we will remember him in particular for last season's contribution. He was a Player of the Season contender (and I suspect may have scored higher if a number who might have voted for him opted instead for Kermorgant).
So as this season winds down to its conclusion, the news does turn thoughts towards who should get the gong this time around. For me it boils down to three candidates.
Starting at the back, no question Henderson was badly missed and his absence can be seen as a significant factor behind the poor run either side of the turn of the year, especially as Pope didn't prove capable enough at this stage of his career (he clearly has time on his side). If he'd played through the season he would have been among the favourites but he didn't. Solly, Wiggins and Jackson have all been missing at various times through injury and, while deserving of mentions in dispatches, probably (through no fault of their own) won't get the nod. Buyens, Bikey-Amougou and Ben Haim all started off the season excellently, only for them to suffer the dip in form which characterised the middle third of the season (two of them ended up being dropped and can have had no complaints). Equally, if Vetokele's first-third strike rate had been extended through the season he would have been a shoo-in, but it didn't.
While not ignoring others, that really leaves my top three: Cousins, Berg Gudmundsson and Watt. For a sustained, high-quality contribution - and let's not forget nine goals and counting - you'd go for Gudmundsson. For impact and being a major factor in a real relegation scrap being averted, it would for sure be Watt. But it is meant to be an award for the player of the whole season, and my vote's going to go for Cousins.
He's made 40 appearances to date (including cups, not one off the bench), tried his best when played out of his best position for so long, and took the opportunity to shine again when brought back into central midfield. It tends to get forgotten that he was getting rave reviews last season before Poyet broke into the side and the limelight. He didn't throw his toys out of the pram then, and didn't when it was a case of 'back out wide again for you laddie' (in a Belgian accent) at the start of this campaign.