All throughout this season of near misses, forum participants have been voting for their “Man of the Match” in the polls that accompany each games post match thread. It occurred to me that the cumulative scores for the whole season would give a definitive view as to who should be awarded the (soon to be) coveted title of “CFCnet Player of the Season” 2008.

Whether it’s the method of voting, or the individual preferences of the voters, it was the more eye-catching forward and attacking midfielders who dominate our awards.Indeed our winner is a model of consistency at the highest level and an appropriate recipient of the award in more ways than one. Step forward Frank Lampard, who picked up more than 10% of the Man of the Match votes throughout the entire season.It’s been a tough season on and off the field for Frank, who’s maintained his performance from the seasons first knockings right through to the Champions League final where he scored our goal, was desperately unlucky not to win the thing when his extra-time shot rebounded off the crossbar and had the balls to successfully convert a penalty in the shoot out. Frank’s strength of character was aptly demonstrated with his performances at the end of the season whilst he struggled with the sudden illness and eventually, and sadly death of his mother – for this as much as anything else we salute you Frank, now come along and sign that nice new contract please!

A stronger performance from Joe Cole at the end of the season would possibly have seen the CFCnet trophy going in the same direction as the official club award.Sadly Joe was perhaps the one player who succumbed to fatigue in the last month.Our highest appearance maker of the season, Joe has to settle for a runners up position.

In contrast to Joe Cole, Michael Ballack rose through the “Player of the Season” charts consistently throughout the second half of the season.Despite making his first appearance as late as 19th December, the German captain’s unfailingly high level of performance saw him comfortably into third place. Michael scored an average of 22% of the vote in all of the games he played in and was easily the highest scoring player on a “votes per game” basis. We look forward to more commanding performances from him in what will hopefully be a triumphant and injury free 2008/09 season.

The full run down of the voting is as follows:

Pos      Player                 %

1          Lampard             10.21%
2          Cole (J)               9.28%
3          Ballack                9.26%
4          Drogba               6.36%
5          Essien                6.26%
6          Wright-Phillips     6.23%
7          Cech                   5.61%
8          Carvalho             4.73%
9          Mikel                   4.40%
10         Shevchenko        4.07%
11         Alex                    3.97%
12         Anelka                3.97%
13         Belletti                3.97%
14         Terry                   3.64%
15         Makelele             3.13%
16         Cole (A)              2.62%
17         Kalou                  1.96%
18         Malouda              1.86%
19         Pizarro                1.71%
20         Bridge                 1.36%
21         Cudicini               1.26%
22         Ben Haim            0.97%
23         Sidwell                0.89%
24         Hilario                 0.81%
25         Riise(!)                0.55%
26         Sinclair                0.53%
27         Ferreira               0.47%
28         Johnson              0.04%

Looking at the average performance for every player (established by dividing their total score by the number of games they played), we get the following as our “Team of the Season”. I’ve lined it up as a 4-5-1 as this is the formation we played most often. There are some surprising choices and omissions:

Hilario

Belletti – Carvalho – Alex – Cole (A)

Cole (J) – Ballack – Essien – Lampard – Wright-Phillips

Drogba

No place for our inspirational captain and a big surprise with Hilario scoring a higher average in his six appearances than either Cech in his 36 or Carlo in his 19. Had I followed our former manager and decided to deploy Essien in a full back roll, his midfield berth could have gone to John Obi Mikel without overly weakening the team, but I’ve always been more comfortable with Michael in midfield – hopefully this summer’s transfer activity will mean that we see him there a little more frequently next season.

So there you have it. Frank is our player of the year – who’s your favourite to take the title in 2008/09?