Last season – if you can think back it without shuddering – few argued with Barry Bannan, though many felt Josh Windass deserved the crown for his efforts in the final weeks of a miserable campaign. A few voted for Jack Marriott, come to think of it.. but perhaps that’s one for another day.
The season before, Dominic Iorfa was an obvious, standalone candidate, while the same goes for Michael Hector in 2018/19.
A cursory look down the list of Player of the Year winners at Sheffield Wednesday returns some incredible names; from Sterland to Waddle, to Hirst and Walker, from Hodge to Di Canio and yes, to Mr Guylain Ndumbu-Nsungu.
Look, it’s December and there is a long, long (long) way to go this season. But in terms of a standout name, the cupboard for once is bare.
A message thrown out on social media this week asked the question; right here, right now, who are your top three picks for the player of the season award? Not one player was on the list of every respondent.
There were nominations for Bannan, for Liam Palmer, Chey Dunkley, Lee Gregory, Callum Paterson and Bailey Peacock-Farrell.
Theo Corbeanu got a heavy sprinkling of attention, and there were mentions of the only recently returned Massimo Luongo. Marvin Johnson got a shout or two as did Florian Kamberi. So too Dennis Adeniran, Fisayo Dele-Bashiru and Jack Hunt.
That’s 14 players. It would have been a lot easier to name those that didn’t receive a nomination.
But what does it all mean? Does it show this is a side equal in ability, or is it merely a reflection of a squad muddling through, all of whom have been hampered by illness or injury at one time or another?
Through these eyes, it’s a reality that shows the potential Wednesday have to offer this season as they build towards the promotion charge we all hope is on the horizon.
Each of those players at one time or another have put on a performance befitting the Owls’ pre-season tag of automatic promotion favourites – with the bookies at least. But not one of them, I dare say, would suggest they’ve been nearly consistent enough to lay a major claim to this fictional mid-season gong.
The weight of draws in Wednesday’s points tally suggests the same – OK, but not quite good enough to make good of their undoubted cumulative class at this level. Not yet, anyway.
For what it’s worth I’d go with the majority of responses on social media and agree with class act Palmer, mainly on the basis of consistency and dependability.
But with every respect in the world to an international player who gets far, far too much stick from some quarters, he’s a dogged full-back.
He won it in 2013/14 of course but rightly or wrongly, those types of players rarely win such standout adulation in a swashbuckling, promotion-winning side. As much as I’d love to be wrong, someone is surely going to have to take that mantle from him if Wednesday are to barge their way into the Championship.
This division is there for the taking. It’s time for the big dogs to make a name for themselves.